Letters to a Young Poet

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The ten letters collected here are arguably the most famous and beloved letters of our century. Written when Rainer Maria Rilke was himself still a young man with most of his greatest work before him, they are addressed to a student who had sent Rilke some of his work, asking for advice about becoming a writer. The two never met, but over a period of several years Rilke wrote him these ten letters, which have been enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of readers for what Stephen Mitchell calls the "vibrant and deeply felt experience of life" that informs them.
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About the author

Rainer Maria Rilke (1875–1926) studied literature, art history, and philosophy in both Munich and Prague and is often considered one of the German language's greatest twentieth-century poets. His two most famous verse sequences are the Sonnets to Orpheus and the Duino Elegies; his two most famous prose works are Letters to a Young Poet and the semiautobiographical The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge.

Charlie Louth is a fellow at Queen's College, Oxford, where he lectures in German. He is the author of Hölderlin and the Dynamics of Translation.

Lewis Hyde is the author of the hundred-million-copy bestseller The Gift. A MacArthur fellow and former director of undergraduate creative writing at Harvard University, Hyde is a fellow at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Gambier, Ohio.

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Additional Information

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Published on
Mar 26, 2013
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Literary Collections / European / German
Literary Collections / Letters
Literary Criticism / Poetry
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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When Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published their Children's and Household Tales in 1812, followed by a second volume in 1815, they had no idea that such stories as "Rapunzel," "Hansel and Gretel," and "Cinderella" would become the most celebrated in the world. Yet few people today are familiar with the majority of tales from the two early volumes, since in the next four decades the Grimms would publish six other editions, each extensively revised in content and style. For the very first time, The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm makes available in English all 156 stories from the 1812 and 1815 editions. These narrative gems, newly translated and brought together in one beautiful book, are accompanied by sumptuous new illustrations from award-winning artist Andrea Dezsö.

From "The Frog King" to "The Golden Key," wondrous worlds unfold—heroes and heroines are rewarded, weaker animals triumph over the strong, and simple bumpkins prove themselves not so simple after all. Esteemed fairy tale scholar Jack Zipes offers accessible translations that retain the spare description and engaging storytelling style of the originals. Indeed, this is what makes the tales from the 1812 and 1815 editions unique—they reflect diverse voices, rooted in oral traditions, that are absent from the Grimms' later, more embellished collections of tales. Zipes's introduction gives important historical context, and the book includes the Grimms' prefaces and notes.

A delight to read, The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm presents these peerless stories to a whole new generation of readers.

From the writer of the classic Letters to a Young Poet, reflections on grief and loss, collected and published here in one volume for the first time.

“A great poet’s reflections on our greatest mystery.”—Billy Collins

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.

Advance 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

“This rhapsodic volume teaches us that death is not a negation but a deepening experience in the onslaught of existence. And that 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. What a wise and victorious book!”—Henri Cole
Versos de un joven poeta, de la colección «Poesía portátil», es una selección de los versos más representativos del gran poeta en lengua alemana del siglo XX, Rainer Maria Rilke, acompañada de su celebrada carta «Carta a un joven poeta».

Abre esta selección la famosa «Carta a un joven poeta», una delicada misiva que Rainer Maria Rilke dirigió a un joven admirador en la que bien podría estar hablándole a todos aquellos movidos por un espíritu creador. Esta antología incluye algunos poemas tempranos, donde se entrevé el intelectual en el que se acabaría convirtiendo y también el amante que erró por toda Europa, enamorando sin promesas y huyendo, incapaz de vivir más allá de sí mismo. Cierra la antología una selección de El libro de horas, dedicado a la poesía, esa vocación total que le abdujo y le cobijó de una realidad en la que nunca llegó a encajar, siempre a la deriva entre lo divino y lo terrenal.

Principal exponente de la poesía en lengua alemana del siglo XX, Rilke nació en Praga en 1875, donde estudió letras y filosofía, una carrera que continuaría en Múnich y en Berlín. Un viaje a Rusia en 1899 le inspiraría sus conocidas Elegías de Duino (1922). La leyenda de amor y muerte del alférez Christoph Rilke, incluida en esta antología, atrajo la atención de los críticos en Francia, donde había residido y trabado amistad con el escultor Auguste Rodin y el escritor André Gide. Tras la primera guerra mundial, en la que participó brevemente, viajó por varios países mediterráneos y finalmente se estableció en Suiza, donde publicaría los Sonetos a Orfeo, una de sus obras más conocidas.

«Cuánto quiero a las pobres palabras, que tan míseras
están en lo diario: a ellas, las invisibles
palabras. De mis fiestas les regalo colores
sonríen, y se ponen alegres lentamente.»

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