A hugely influential collection for writers and artists of all kinds, Rilke's profound and lyrical letters to a young friend advise on writing, love, sex, suffering and the nature of advice itself.
One of 46 new books in the bestselling Little Black Classics series, to celebrate the first ever Penguin Classic in 1946. Each book gives readers a taste of the Classics' huge range and diversity, with works from around the world and across the centuries - including fables, decadence, heartbreak, tall tales, satire, ghosts, battles and elephants.
–RAINER MARIA RILKE
In this treasury of uncommon wisdom and spiritual insight, the best writings and personal philosophies of one of the twentieth century’s greatest poets, Rainer Maria Rilke, are gleaned by Ulrich Baer from thousands of pages of never-before translated correspondence.
The result is a profound vision of how the human drive to create and understand can guide us in every facet of life. Arranged by theme–from everyday existence with others to the exhilarations of love and the experience of loss, from dealing with adversity to the nature of inspiration, here are Rilke’s thoughts on how to live life in a meaningful way:
Life and Living: “How good life is. How fair, how incorruptible, how impossible to deceive: not even by strength, not even by willpower, and not even by courage. How everything remains what it is and has only this choice: to come true, or to exaggerate and push too far.”
Art: “The work of art is adjustment, balance, reassurance. It can be neither gloomy nor full of rosy hopes, for its essence consists of justice.”
Faith: “I personally feel a greater affinity to all those religions in which the middleman is less essential or almost entirely suppressed.”
Love: “To be loved means to be ablaze. To love is: to shine with inexhaustible oil. To be loved is to pass away; to love is to last.”
Intimate, stylistically masterful, brilliantly translated, and brimming with the wonder and passion of Rilke, The Poet’s Guide to Life is comparable to the best works of wisdom in all of literature and a perfect book for all occasions.
From the Hardcover edition.
Born in 1875, the great German lyric poet Rainer Maria Rilke published his first collection of poems in 1898 and went on to become renowned for his delicate depiction of the workings of the human heart. Drawn by some sympathetic note in his poems, young people often wrote to Rilke with their problems and hopes. From 1903 to 1908 Rilke wrote a series of remarkable responses to a young, would-be poet on poetry and on surviving as a sensitive observer in a harsh world. Those letters, still a fresh source of inspiration and insight, are accompanied here by a chronicle of Rilke's life that shows what he was experiencing in his own relationship to life and work when he wrote them.
Rilke revived and transformed the traditional sonnet sequence in the Sonnets. Instead of centering on love for a particular person, as has many other sonneteers, he wrote an extended love poem to the world, celebrating such diverse things as mirrors, dogs, fruit, breathing, and childhood. Many of the sonnets are addressed to two recurrent figures: the god Orpheus (prototype of the poet) and a young dancer, whose death is treated elegiacally.
These ecstatic and meditative lyric poems are a kind of manual on how to approach the world – how to understand and love it. David Young’s is the first most sensitive of the translations of this work, superior to other translations in sound and sense. He captures Rilke’s simple, concrete, and colloquial language, writing with a precision close to the original.
“A great poet’s reflections on our greatest mystery.”—Billy Collins
“A treasure . . . The solace Rilke offers is uncommon, uplifting and necessary.”––The Guardian
Gleaned from Rainer Maria Rilke’s voluminous, never-before-translated letters to bereaved friends and acquaintances, The Dark Interval is a profound vision of the mourning process and a meditation on death’s place in our lives. Following the format of Letters to a Young Poet, this book arranges Rilke’s letters into an uninterrupted sequence, showcasing the full range of the great author’s thoughts on death and dying, as well as his sensitive and moving expressions of consolation and condolence.
Presented with care and authority by master translator Ulrich Baer, The Dark Interval is a literary treasure, an indispensable resource for anyone searching for solace, comfort, and meaning in a time of grief.
Praise for The Dark Interval
“Even though each of these letters of condolence is personalized with intimate detail, together they hammer home Rilke’s remarkable truth about the death of another: that the pain of it can force us into a ‘deeper . . . level of life’ and render us more ‘vibrant.’ Here we have a great poet’s reflections on our greatest mystery.”—Billy Collins
“As we live our lives, it is possible to feel not sadness or melancholy but a rush of power as the life of others passes into us. This rhapsodic volume teaches us that death is not a negation but a deepening experience in the onslaught of existence. What a wise and victorious book!”—Henri Cole
Intimate, stylistically masterful, brilliantly translated and assembled, and brimming with the passion of Rilke, Letters on Life is a font of wisdom and a perfect book for all occasions.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
During the early 1900s, the great German poet lived and worked in Paris with Auguste Rodin. In a work as revealing of its author as it is of his famous subject, Rainer Maria Rilke examines Rodin's life and work, and explains the often elusive connection between the creative forces that drive timeless literature and great art.
Rilke served for several years as Rodin's secretary — living in the sculptor's workshops, watching the shaping of his creations, and discussing his views and ideas. Written in 1903 and 1907, these essays about the master's work and development as an artist mark Rilke's entry into the world of letters. Rodin himself paid the poet the ultimate tribute, declaring these meditations the supreme interpretation of his work. This excellent translation, complemented by 33 illustrations, will fascinate students of literature, philosophy, and art history.
Malte Laurids Brigge is a young Danish nobleman and poet living in Paris. Obsessed with death and with the reality that lurks behind appearances, Brigge muses on his family and their history and on the teeming, alien life of the city. Many of the themes and images that occur in Rilke's poetry can also be found in the novel, prefiguring the modernist movement in its self-awareness and imagistic immediacy.
This collection gathers several letters that Rilke wrote to Lisa Heise between 1919 and 1924. Rilke was in his 40s at the time of the first letter; Heise was 26 . Her husband of three years had left her and her 2-year-old son. Though Rilke and Heise never met, Rilke emerges in these letters as the compassionate listener and patient teacher.
In his final letter to Heise, her situation much improved, Rilke writes: "And what does living mean but this courage to fully grow into a cast, which one day will be broken off from our new shoulders." The result, he says, will be a joyful freedom. The poet would die two years later.
Letters to a young woman integrates the collection “Classics of World Literature”, developed by Atlântico Press, a publisher company present in the global editorial market, since 1992.
In his powerful new translation, skilfully shaped into current English, Ian Crockatt succeeds in catching Rilke's blend of crafted sensuality and inward-focused spiritual searching, while his comprehensive introduction and notes to this selection are both informative and enlightening.
Rainer Maria Rilke was described by another great poet, Maria Tsvetaeva as 'not a poet, but the embodiment of poetry'. His work spans the divide between Europe's turn-of-the-century decadence and its post First World War revolutionary modernism, always struggling to develop, to seek and reach beyond itself.
Michael Hulse's new translation perfectly conveys the unsettling beauty of the original and is accompanied by an introduction on Rilke's life and the biographical and literary influences on the Notebooks. This edition also includes suggested further reading, a chronology and notes.
For a long time nothing, and then suddenly one has the right eyes.
Virtually every day in the fall of 1907, Rainer Maria Rilke returned to a Paris gallery to view a Cezanne exhibition. Nearly as frequently, he wrote dense and joyful letters to his wife, Clara Westhoff, expressing his dismay before the paintings and his ensuing revelations about art and life.
Rilke was knowledgeable about art and had even published monographs, including a famous study of Rodin that inspired his New Poems. But Cezanne's impact on him could not be conveyed in a traditional essay. Rilke's sense of kinship with Cezanne provides a powerful and prescient undercurrent in these letters -- passages from them appear verbatim in Rilke's great modernist novel, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge. Letters on Cezanne is a collection of meaningfully private responses to a radically new art.
Combining passion and sensitivity, the poems on love presented here are often not only sensual but sexual as well. Others pursue perennial themes in his work—death and life, growth and transformation. The book concludes with Rilke's reflections on wisdom and openness to experience, on grasping what is most difficult and turning what is most alien into that which we can most trust.
Twelve of Kafka’s stories from the compilation Ein Landarzt (A Country Doctor) appear here, along with two tales from Ein Hungerkünstler (A Hunger Artist). Rilke's stories include "Die Weise von Liebe und Tod des Cornets Christoph Rilke" (The Ballad of Love and Death of Cornet Christoph Rilke), "Die Turnstunde" (The Gym Class), and Geschichten vom lieben Gott (Stories About the Good Lord).
Stanley Appelbaum has provided an introduction and informative notes to these stories, along with excellent new English translations on the pages facing the original German.