A Poem, A Dancer and a Painting: Rainer Maria Rilke’s ‘Spanische Tänzerin’

Robert Vilain

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After a reading of Rilke's ‘Spanische Tänzerin’ that unpicks the three main layers of imagery and explores how they interact, this article investigates Rilke's relationship with the Spanish painter Ignacio Zuloaga in order to dispel confusions about an event and a painting that are often felt to have inspired the poem. A fourth, poetological interpretative layer is exposed, and via the trope of the poet-as-magus, echoes (perhaps conscious) of the 1906 text in poems from the 1920s, and links with Die Aufzeichnungen des Malte Laurids Brigge are suggested.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-313
Number of pages14
JournalGerman Life and Letters
Issue number3
Early online date22 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017

Bibliographical note

Special Issue: Adventures in Modernism: A Special Number in Honour of John White


  • Rilke
  • Spain
  • poetry


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