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Letters to a Young Poetby Rainer Maria Rilke
Synopses & Reviews
In 1902, a nineteen-year-old aspiring poet named Franz Kappus wrote to Rilke, then twenty-six, seeking advice on his poetry. Kappus, a student at a military academy in Vienna similar to the one Rilke had attended, was about to embark on a career as an officer, for which he had little inclination. Touched by the innocence and forthrightness of the student, Rilke responded to Kappus' letter and began an intermittent correspondence that would last until 1908.
Letters to a Young Poet collects the ten letters that Rilke wrote to Kappus. A book often encountered in adolescence, it speaks directly to the young. Rilke offers unguarded thoughts on such diverse subjects as creativity, solitude, self-reliance, living with uncertainty, the shallowness of irony, the uselessness of criticism, career choices, sex, love, God, and art. Letters to a Young Poet is, finally, a life manual. Art, Rilke tells the young poet in his final letter to him, is only another way of living.
With the same artistry that marks his widely acclaimed translations of Kafka's The Castle and Amerika: The Missing Person, Mark Harman captures the lyrical and spiritual dimensions of Rilke's prose. In his introduction, he provides biographical contexts for the reader and discusses the challenges of translating Rilke. This lovely hardcover edition makes a perfect gift for any young person starting out in life or for those interested in finding a clear articulation of Rilke's thoughts on life and art.
Book News Annotation:
This book, translated by acclaimed translator Harman, compiles the letters of Rainer Maria Rilke to Franz Kappus from 1903 to 1908. In 1902 Kappus, a young writer in need of advice, had requested correspondence with Rilke in regard to his career choices. Over the next six years Rilke sent many letters to Kappus offering his unique perspectives on many subjects like, art, writing, solitude, creativity, sex, love, God, and many others. This compilation provides young writers the same benefit Kappus enjoyed, personal advice from one of the most significant poets of modernity. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
These ten letters by Rainer Maria Rilke speak directly to the young, offering unguarded thoughts on such diverse subjects as creativity, solitude, self-reliance, living with uncertainty, the shallowness of irony, the uselessness of criticism, career choices, sex, love, God, and art (which is only another way of living, Rilke writes).
A Telegraph Best Book of 2011
About the Author
Mark Harman, who has written extensively on German and Irish literature, is Professor of English and German at Elizabethtown College.
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