Born in Prague when it was part of the Austro-Hungarian empire and
recognized today as a master of verse, poet Rainer Maria Rilke was
considerably less well known in 1902 when he received a heartfelt letter
from an aspiring poet. A 19-year-old student sent Rilke some of his verses,
seeking an opinion of their worth. Rilke declined to offer a critique,
instead encouraging the student to rely upon his own inner judgment:
Nobody can advise and help you, nobody. There is only one single means. Go
inside yourself. This seemingly dismissive letter proved to be the first
of ten, written during a six-year period that coincided with an important
stage in Rilke's artistic development. The poet offered his young
correspondent further advice on developing a rich inner life as well as
guidance on broader philosophical and existential issues. These letters,
which explore many of the themes that later emerged in Rilke's best works,
remain a captivating source of insights into the artistic identity and

Rainer Maria Rilke—Letters To A Young Poet

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