At the start of the twentieth century, Rainer Maria Rilke wrote a series of letters to a young officer cadet, advising him on writing, love, sex, suffering and the nature of advice itself; these profound and lyrical letters have since become hugely influential for writers and artists of all kinds. This book also contains the 'Letter from a Young Worker', a striking polemic against Christianity written in letter-form, near the end of Rilke's life. In Lewis Hyde's introduction, he explores the context in which these letters were written and how the author embraced his isolation as a creative force. Charlie Louth's afterword discusses the similarities and contrasts of the two works, and Rilke's religious and sexual wordplay. This edition also contains a chronology, notes, and suggested further reading.
About the Author
Rainer Maria Rilke was born in Prague in 1875 and traveled throughout Europe for much of his adult life, returning frequently to Paris. There he came under the influence of the sculptor Auguste Rodin and produced much of his finest verse, most notably the two volumes of "New Poems "as well as the great modernist novel "The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge." Among his other books of poems are "The Book of Images" and "The Book of Hours. "He lived the last years of his life in Switzerland, where he completed his two poetic masterworks, the "Duino Elegies" and "Sonnets to Orpheus." He died of leukemia in December 1926.
Lewis Hyde is the author of "Trickster Makes This World: Mischief, Myth, and Art, The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property", and a book of poems, "This Error Is the Sign of Love". He is Thomas Professor of Creative Writing at Kenyon College.