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 (also Rainer Maria von Rilke) (4 December 1875 - 29 December 1926) is considered one of the German language's greatest 20th century poets. His haunting images focus on the difficulty of communion with the ineffable in an age of disbelief, solitude, and profound anxiety - themes that tend to position him as a transitional figure between the traditional and the modernist poets. He wrote in both verse and a highly lyrical prose. His two most famous verse sequences are the Sonnets to Orpheus and the Duino Elegies; his two most famous prose works are the Letters to a Young Poet and the semi-autobiographical The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge. He also wrote more than 400 poems in French, dedicated to his homeland of choice, the canton of Valais in Switzerland.
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.