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Shvoong Home>Books>Letters to a Young Poet Review

Letters to a Young Poet

Book Review   by:ddaluz     Original Author: Rainer Maria Rilke
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This abstract was translated from Cartas a un joven poeta
 
There are not any literary-technical tips in this most famous correspondence of the poet Rainer Maria Rilke to the young Franz Xaver Kappus and only some recommendations on writing and rather on the act of creation in general, as when he says that the young poet only must focus to poetry if he considers that not to do so he would die. Most are comments on how to deal with life, targeting a correspondent that, though we do not know about his letters more than what transpires in Rilke''s answers, seems of a markedly complainant and cautious temperament. And in such comments it is hinted Rilke''s philosophy of life: solitude is the ideal condition of the human being, the only possible ("love your solitude and hold the pain it causes you with complaint of beautiful strains," he says), so that even love and the couple are not more than the understanding of two solitudes defending themselves and paying mutual tribute. Rilke insists that he cannot tell his correspondent if what he writes is worth or not: no one can recommend to anyone, one must enter himself, be a world for himself and find everything in himself. In addition, he talks about the similarities of the artistic experience with the sexual, he states that the difficult is desirable precisely for being difficult and reproaches his correspondent that he wants to be free of pain and unhappiness without realizing the fact that such vicissitudes are part of the person''s process of development. In another of his blunt phrases, Rilke emphasizes that "what we call destination comes from men, it does not fall on them from outside"; or put in another way: "The future is fixed, dear Mr Kappus, but we move in the infinite space".
Published: April 26, 2012   
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