Saturday, March 30, 2013
Book Review - Letters To A Young Poet
At the start of the twentieth century, Rainer Maria Rilke wrote a series of letters to a young officer cadet, advising him on writing, love, sex, suffering and the nature of advice itself. These profound and lyrical messages became LETTERS TO A YOUNG POET (A Penguin Classics Hardcover Original; On Sale: March 26, 2013; ISBN: 978-0-14-310714-9; $18.00; 160 pages), now newly translated by Charlie Louth.
A hugely influential collection for generations of writers and artists of all kinds, LETTERS TO A YOUNG POET has inspired writers, artists and musicians such as J.D. Salinger, Philip Roth, Cy Twombly, Patti Smith, and Lady Gaga. In this new translation, Louth presents a voice that is immediately accessible to modern readers and additionally provides notes, a chronology, an afterword, a translator’s note, and further reading. This Penguin Classics hardcover edition also includes THE LETTER FROM THE YOUNG WORKER. In a new Introduction, Lewis Hyde, author of THE GIFT, a modern classic of creative experience praised by writers including Zadie Smith, Jonathan Lethem, and David Foster Wallace, explores the context in which Rilke’s letters were written and how the author embraced his isolation as a creative force.
With honesty, elegance, and a deep understanding of the loneliness that often comes with being an artist, Rilke's letters are an endless source of inspiration and comfort. Packaged in a slim, beautiful, and foil-stamped hardcover book with printed endpapers including an inscription page, LETTERS TO A YOUNG POET makes the perfect gift for aspiring creative readers at any chapter of life.
Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) studied literature, art history, and philosophy in both Munich and Prague and is often considered one of the German language’s greatest twentieth-century poets. His two most famous verse sequences are the Sonnets to Orpheus and the Duino Elegies; his two most famous prose works are Letters to a Young Poet and the semi-autobiographical The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge.
Charlie Louth is a fellow at Queen’s College, Oxford, where he lectures in German. He is the author of Hölderlin and the Dynamics of Translation.
Lewis Hyde is the author of the hundred-million-copy bestseller The Gift. A MacArthur fellow and former director of undergraduate creative writing at Harvard University, Hyde is a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Gambier, Ohio.
My Take on the Book
I have to be honest and say that I had never heard of this author before, but after reading this I was quite impressed with the writing style and how ( at least in this translation) he is able to capture the reader's attention while writing to a place of deep emotion. This book truly makes you think for yourself about the concept of inner peace and how each of us go through our own searching process for this. I can tell that this would be a book that you would need to read a few times to capture everything, and that you do need to be of a certain age people to truly understand what the author is sharing as well. Even after one reading, I find myself going back and rereading parts of the book and afterward I seem to come to a different conclusion about what I had originally read. You can tell that the book is deeply personal and the way in which the author writes makes you feel that he is talking directly to you. This is the type of book that will make you come back again and again.
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