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  • Letters of Rainer Maria Rilke 1892-1910 translated by Jane Bannard Greene and M.D. Herter Norton
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Letters of Rainer Maria Rilke 1892-1910 translated by Jane Bannard Greene and M.D. Herter Norton

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New York : W.W. Norton & Co., 1945. First edition. Hardcover. 399 pages ; 22 cm. Price-clipped dust jacket with lots of tears around the dust jacket edges. Previous owner name on the front free endpaper. No other markings within this book. Binding is firm.


The long-planned project of offering to the American reading public a translation of Rilke's letters is now realized. Many of these letters possess an artistic validity of their own and can be enjoyed without previous acquaintance with Rilke's poetry or life. Many are psychologically revealing; many inevitably touch -upon characteristic themes, or freshly transcribe experience that sooner or later passes into the poetry. While the already familiar Letters to a Young Poet and IVartime Letters deal with certain phases of Rilke's life and thought, the present widely representative selection from his large and extraordinary correspondence has been prepared with a view to providing a kind of spiritual autobiography of the poet. For Rilke's letters are in a sense part of his creative output, mirroring its substance and its background; some of them, for beauty of expression, have been set on a par with the poems themselves. But they record also—and this is one reason they have been so widely discussed and read—the struggles and anxieties that beset his course, the story of that endurance and survival which led to the final triumph of his conviction: "Never forget, life is a glory."

The period here covered reflects all the great experiences of Rilke's early adult life: his difficult beginnings, his two great basic relationships, with Lou Andreas-Salomé and with his wife Clara, his two journeys to Russia, his contact with the Worpswede artists. the influence of Paris and Rodin, the revelation of Cézanne. An "Introduction" briefly traces the development of Rilke's work during these years, and the "Notes" provide the necessary framework of biographical details and point' significant references to the poetry.