Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The New York Prodigal Son

The New York Sun, in an October 5 description of a Manhattan art exhibit called "The Art of Forgiveness: Images of the Prodigal Son," deploys a number of literary references, including a mention of Rilke's own rendition of the Biblical parable:

"In his semi-autobiographical "Notebook of Malte Laurids Brigge" (1910) writer Rainer Maria Rilke, (1875–1926) argues that the story of the prodigal son is about a young man "who did not want to be loved," and who therefore rejects suffocating family affection in order to express his own personality: "Shall he stay and pretend to live the sort of life they ascribe to him, and grow to resemble them in his whole appearance?" By fleeing family smothering, Rilke's prodigal son obtains special powers: "I believe that the strength of his transformation consisted in his no longer being the son of anyone in particular. This, in the end, is the strength of all young people who have gone away." "

1 comment:

  1. The collection of Prodigal Son art has been published a book, "And Grace Will Lead Me Home."
    Lutheran University Press