Rainer Maria Rilke: Masks

29 August 2018

Have I said it already? I am learning to see. Yes, I am beginning. It still goes slowly. But I intend to make the most of my time. For one thing, it has never occurred to me before how many different faces there are. There are masses of people, but there are even more faces, for each person has several. There are some who wear the same face for years: naturally it wears out; it gets dirty; it breaks the folds; it stretches, like gloves one has worn on a journey. These are thrifty, simple folk; they do not change their face; they never even have it cleaned. It is good enough, they claim, and who can prove the contrary? Now the question of course arises, since they have several faces, what do they do with the others? They keep them [heben sie auf]. Their children are to wear them. But sometimes, too, it happens that their dogs go out with them on. And why not? A face is a face.
Rainer Maria Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge (1910)

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