Originally written to a young man considering a career in the German military, Rainer Maria Rilke's beautiful letters explore a huge range of subjects delicately and with a passionate sensitivity. The recipient, Franz Kappus, began to send his poetry to the 27-year-old Rilke when a student, seeking advice. Their correspondence lasted from 1902 to 1908, and Kappus collated and published the ten letters after Rilke's death. The letters contain insights which are as profound today as when they were written, touching on sexuality, love, creativity and other aspects of the human condition. The book is perennially and hugely influential in the US, where it enjoys the accolade of being Lady Gaga's favourite book.
Rainer Maria Rilke was born in 1875 in Prague. He studied literature, art history and philosophy in both Munich and Prague, and is often considered one of the German language's greatest 20th century poets. 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. Charlie Louth was born in 1969 in Bristol. He is a Fellow of the Queen's College, Oxford, where he lectures in German. He is the author of Holderlin and the Dynamics of Translation (1998). Lewis Hyde is a poet, essayist, translator, and cultural critic. 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.
...I cannot think of a better book to put into the hands of any young would-be poet, as an inspirational guide to poetry and to surviving as a poet in a hostile world. -- Harry Fainlight The Times
Rainer Maria Rilke
Penguin Books Ltd
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LETTERS TO A YOUNG POET