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Briefe an einen jungen Dichter (1929)

von Rainer Maria Rilke

Weitere Autoren: Siehe Abschnitt Weitere Autoren.

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5,417791,513 (4.22)1 / 55
Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet are arguably the most famous and beloved letters of the twentieth century. Written when the poet was himself still a young man, with most of his greatest work before him, they were addressed to a student who had sent Rilke some of his own writing, asking for advice on becoming a writer. The two never met, but over a period of several years Rilke wrote him these ten letters, cherished by readers for what translator Mitchell calls in his Foreword the "vibrant and deeply felt experience of life" that informs them. Eloquent and personal, Rilke's meditations on the creative process, the nature of love, the wisdom of children, and the importance of solitude offer a wealth of spiritual and practical guidance for anyone.--From publisher description.… (mehr)
Kürzlich hinzugefügt vonnicarhm, greenefrog, MihaelaZ, private Bibliothek, gregcarew, rmcguire, CIMA
NachlassbibliothekenGillian Rose, Terence Kemp McKenna, Hannah Arendt, JeffBuckley, Ernest Hemingway, Danilo Kiš
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» Siehe auch 55 Erwähnungen/Diskussionen

Santi anotacions ***
  sllorens | Dec 1, 2021 |
The most I've highlighted a book. This book is a collection of ten letters written by Rainer Maria Rilke to Franz Xaver Kappus (in the span of 5 years) on how to maintain his artistic spirit while serving in the military. ( )
  meddz | Jun 11, 2021 |
A book, that one suspects, can keep on giving the second, third and fourth time around. I'm keeping this. ( )
  georgeybataille | Jun 1, 2021 |
I was just a year out of university when I was in a downtown Philadelphia book store and picked up a slender volume entitled Letters to a Young Poet. I read it over and over and the advice I found there helped me in my struggle through young adulthood. Forty years have passed, and I was curious to read this new translation and commentary of the Letters from the perspective of maturity.

Anita Barrows is a translator and poet, a professor of psychology and a clinical psychologist. Joanna Macy is a professor of philosophy and scholar of Buddhism, systems thinking, and deep ecology. Their commentary offers interesting psychological and social insights into the letters.

Rilke was himself a young poet of twenty-seven when cadet Franz Xaver Kappus wrote and asked him to read his poetry and for advice. Kappus had learned that Rilke had attended the his military academy and hoped for advice as he endeavored to be a poet while in the military.

Rilke had been sent to the academy because his father wanted to remove him from his mother's influence. She had given him a girl's name, Rene Maria, and put him in dresses. His father decided that he needed toughening up to prepare for a man's life.

Rilke responded to Kappus by warning that no one, nothing external, could advise him; he must look within for the answers, and in the process, he must embrace the unknown and that which is terrifying.

If his work and peers provided little inspiration, he told Kappus, "If your daily life seems to bleak--don't blame it--blame yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its wealth." And if all else fails, there was his childhood, "that deep well of memories."

Letter Four includes one of my favorite lines, "have patience with all that is unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like closed rooms, like books written in a foreign language." He continues to advise not to seek the answers, but to live into them.

Rilke had been influenced by the sculptor Rodin who had taught the importance of solitude for the artist. Art required looking within and being separate. An artist does not need others:"Where there is no community among people, draw close to the things that present themselves around you; they will not abandon you. The nights are there, and the winds that blow through trees and over the lands..."

Yes, solitude is difficult, but so is love. And love, he says, is not about "merging," the goal is a "more human love" that consists of "two solitudes that protect, border, and greet each other," a love that allows personal space and growth.

Fear of the mysterious and the unknown is also good, something we should be open to and embrace. "If our world has fears, they are our fears. If it has an abyss, it belongs to us. If dangers appear, we must try to love them...Perhaps every terror is, at its core, something helpless that wants our help."

And he advises to "let life happen to you. Believe me--you can count on life in any case."

Trust the process, embrace that which frightens you, learn to love the unknown, and do not look for romantic love to save you.

Rilke's advice helped me as a young woman, and it helps me as I approach my seventh decade. For the questions have only become larger, the unknown closer.

The commentators point out that the first letter from Kappus arrived as Rilke was writing The Book of Hours, in which he "reconcieveing of God as not the image of perfection but as the sacred process of seeing the brokenness of the world as a sacred act."

They see Rilke's Letter 7, to love without merging, representing Rilke's relationship with his great love Lou Andreas-Salome, and demonstrating the Jungian concept of individuation (self-realization that rises above self-centeredness). Lou studied with Freud and became the first female psychoanalyst.

Also, in Letter 8 ("the world has fears") they find Rilke's message foreshadowing Jung's concept of the collective unconscious (shared archetypes/symbols, not personal) which Jung wrote about twelve years later.

Barrows and Macy have eliminating sections of the letters as pontificating, or not relevant to modern readers, or because the message was badly conceived. Those segments appear in the commentary.

The translation is clear and easy to understand.

Every generation faces a world of terrors, every person struggles to forge a path to a whole and healthy life. I believe that the Letters are still relevant and have much to offer.

I received a free galley from the publisher through NetGalley. My review is fair and unbiased. ( )
  nancyadair | Apr 18, 2021 |
In reading comments and reviews of David Foster Wallace’s This is Water, others recommended this short compilation of letters by Rilke. In these 10 letters Rilke distills general life advice for another writer, another poet, who is struggling at the same military boarding school he went to years before.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes (in italics) with some comments:

I know of no other advice than this: Go within and scale the depths of your being from which your very life springs forth. At its sources you will find the answer to the question, whether you must write.

Here is a writer writing to another writer. I believe this advice applies to all in the struggle of finding one’s life work. Yet, I can’t help but feel Rilke is too dismissive of the external, of others. I am not a writer, and my life’s work is not explicitly creative. Perhaps that’s a needed emphasis of some.

I wanted only to advice you to progress quietly and seriously in your evolvement. You could greatly interfere with that process if you look outward and expect to obtain answers from the outside – answers which only your innermost feeling in your quietest hour can perhaps give you.

For one human being to love another is perhaps the most difficult task of all, the epitome, the ultimate test. It is that striving for which all other striving is merely preparation.

I would like to beg of you, dear friend, as well as I can, to have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question.


Love this one. “Life is about discovering the right questions more than having the right answers.”

It is clear that we must embrace struggle. Every living thing conforms to it. Everything in nature grows and struggles in its own way…. We can be sure of very little, but the need to court struggle is a surety that will not leave us.

To return to the subject of aloneness: it becomes increasingly clear that is it basically not something we can choose to have or not to have. We simply are alone. One can only delude one’s self and act as though it were not so – that is all. How much better, however, that we concede we are solitary beings; yes, that we assume it to be true.

On this idea, I can’t help but wonder if he’s stating a half-truth. Could we not also add in the same breath that while, it’s true, we are alone, aren’t we also connected and dependent upon others? Couldn’t we also say, “How much better that we concede we are communal beings?” I think both ideas are true on a profound level, one of those paradoxical truths of existence. Maybe because we live in an extroverts’ world, we need this emphasis on solitude for the introverts.

Overall, Rilke’s Letters were delightful, chock full of wisdom and insights. Recommended to all, particularly those going into the arts or devoted, perhaps called, to creative pursuits. ( )
  nrt43 | Dec 29, 2020 |
keine Rezensionen | Rezension hinzufügen

» Andere Autoren hinzufügen (158 möglich)

AutorennameRolleArt des AutorsWerk?Status
Rilke, Rainer MariaHauptautoralle Ausgabenbestätigt
Burnham, Joan M.ÜbersetzerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Duquesnoy, TheodorÜbersetzerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Enwald, LiisaÜbersetzerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Kappus, Franz XaverEinführungCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Mitchell, StephenÜbersetzerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Nerburn, KentVorwortCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Norton, M.D. HerterÜbersetzerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Pelavin, DanielUmschlaggestalterCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Sangster-Warnaars, C.W.ÜbersetzerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Snell, ReginaldÜbersetzerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Storck, Joachim W.VorwortCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
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Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet are arguably the most famous and beloved letters of the twentieth century. Written when the poet was himself still a young man, with most of his greatest work before him, they were addressed to a student who had sent Rilke some of his own writing, asking for advice on becoming a writer. The two never met, but over a period of several years Rilke wrote him these ten letters, cherished by readers for what translator Mitchell calls in his Foreword the "vibrant and deeply felt experience of life" that informs them. Eloquent and personal, Rilke's meditations on the creative process, the nature of love, the wisdom of children, and the importance of solitude offer a wealth of spiritual and practical guidance for anyone.--From publisher description.

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