Synopses & Reviews
Rainer Maria Rilke
(1875–1926) is one of the greatest lyric German poets. Born in Prague, he published his first book of poems, Leben und Lieber,
at age nineteen. He met Lou Salomé, the talented and spirited daughter of a Russian army officer, who influenced him deeply. In 1902 he became a friend, and for a time the secretary, of Rodin, and it was during his twelve-year Paris residence that Rilke enjoyed his greatest poetic activity. In 1919 he went to Switzerland where he spent the last years of his life. It was there that he wrote his last two works, Duino Elegies
(1923) and The Sonnets to Orpheus
Stephen Mitchell was born in Brooklyn in 1943 and studied at Amherst, the University of Paris, and Yale. Considered one of the preeminent translators of his generation, he has translated many classic texts including Gilgamesh, The Bhagavad Gita, Tao Te Ching, and The Book of Job.
"This is, without any doubt, the best English rendering of Rilke. It is as faithful to the original as the translation of poetry can hope to be, faithful not only to its linguistic meaning but to its poetic expressiveness." Erich Heller
"Stephen Mitchell's translation of Rilke's most demandingly difficult and loveliest work instantly makes every other rendering obsolete. No doubt about it, Rilke has at last found, in Mr. Mitchell's version, the ideal poetics and the perfect translator." William Arrowsmith
"Perhaps the most beautiful group of poetic translations this century has produced." Chicago Tribune
This work contains representative poems from the author's early collections.
About the Author