By Rainer Maria Rilke

Rilke's powerfully touching letters to an aspiring younger poet, now to be had in a gorgeous hardcover Penguin edition

At the beginning of the 20th century, Rainer Maria Rilke wrote a sequence of letters to a tender officer cadet, advising him on writing, love, intercourse, affliction, and the character of recommendation itself. those profound and lyrical letters have due to the fact that turn into highly influential for generations of writers and artists of every kind, together with woman Gaga and Patti Smith. With honesty, attractiveness, and a deep knowing of the loneliness that frequently comes with being an artist, Rilke's letters are an never-ending resource of concept and luxury. Lewis Hyde's new creation explores the context within which those letters have been written and the way the writer embraced his isolation as an artistic force.

This variation additionally comprises Rilke's later paintings The Letter from the younger Worker.

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Example text

A world will come over you, the joy, the richness, the incomprehensible greatness of a new world. Live in these books for a while, learn from them what seems to be worth learning, but above all love them. This love will be repaid you thousands and thousands of times, and however your life may turn out – this love, I am sure of it, will run through the weave of your becoming as one of the most important threads of all among the other threads of your experiences, disappointments and joys. If I had to say from whom I have learnt anything about the nature of artistic creation, about its profundity and eternity, there are only two names I can give: Jacobsen’s, the great, great poet, and Auguste Rodin’s, the sculptor who has no equal among all artists now alive.

For the people who are close to you, you tell me, are far away, and that shows that you are beginning to create a wider space around you. And if what is close is far, then the space around you is wide indeed and already among the stars; take pleasure in your growth, in which no one can accompany you, and be kind-hearted towards those you leave behind, and be assured and gentle with them and do not plague them with your doubts or frighten them with your confidence or your joyfulness, which they cannot understand.

And those who come together in the night-time and are entwined in a cradle of desire are carrying out a serious work in collecting sweetness, profundity and strength for the song of some poet yet to come, who will rise up to speak unutterable pleasures. And they summon up the future; and even if they err and embrace one another blindly, the future will come all the same, a new creature will appear, and based on the chance act that seems to be accomplished here the law comes into being according to which a resistant and vigorous seed forces its way through to the egg moving forward to receive it.

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