Rainer Maria Rilke and Lou Andreas-Salomé by Rainer Maria Rilke
The Correspondence

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Synopsis

The complete extant correspondence between a key fin-de-siecle intellectual and one of the most revered poets of the twentieth century.

He would become one of the most important poets of the twentieth century; she was the über-muse of Europe's turn-of-the-century thinkers and artists. In this never-before-translated collection of letters spanning almost thirty years, the poet Rainer Maria Rilke and Lou Andreas-Salomé, a writer and intellectual fourteen years his senior, pen a relationship that moves from that of lovers to that of mentor and protégé, to that of deepest personal and literary allies. From the time of their first meeting and consequent affair to Rilke's death in 1926, Rilke and Salomé reeled through extremes of love, pain, annoyance, desire, and need—yet guided each other in one of the most fruitful artistic exchanges in twentieth-century literature. Despite illness, distance, and emotional and psychological pain, they managed to cultivate, through strikingly honest prose, an enduring and indispensable friendship, a decades-long heartfelt dialogue that encompassed love, art, and the imagination.
 

About Rainer Maria Rilke

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More than any other modern German writer, Rainer Maria Rilke seems to match our romantic idea of what a poet should be, though, as with many writers, separating artistry from affectation is often difficult. Restless, sensitive, reverent, yet egotistical, Rilke often seems to hover in his poems like a sort of ethereal being. He was born in 1875 to a wealthy family in Prague. After a few years devoted to the study of art and literature, he spent most of his adult life wandering among the European capitals and devoting himself single-mindedly to poetry. His early poems reflect his interest in the visual and plastic arts, as he tries to lose himself in contemplation of objects such as an antique torso of Apollo.His later books of poetry, such as Duino Elegies (1923) and Sonnets to Orpheus (1923), on the contrary, focus intently on internal realms. The poetry of Rilke is noted, above all, for metaphysical and psychological nuances. Lou Andreas-Salome is an author and psychoanalyst. She was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, on February 12, 1861. Andreas-Salome studied theology at the University of Zurich. Andreas-Salome has been linked to German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and poet Rainer Maria Rilke. She was also a follower of Sigmund Freud. Andreas-Salome moved to Vienna in 1912 to study psychoanalysis and began her own practice. Andreas-Salome wrote novels and works of nonfiction, including Friedrich Nietzche in His Works and My Thanks to Freud. Her correspondence with Rilke was published in 1952. Andreas-Salome died on February 5, 1937. Edward Snow is an award-winning translator of the poetry and prose of Rilke. He is a professor at Rice University and lives in Houston, Texas. Michael Winkler has written extensively on modern poetry and fiction. He is a professor at Rice University and lives in Houston, Texas.
 
Published June 17, 2006 by W. W. Norton & Company. 424 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Rainer Maria Rilke and Lou Andreas-Salomé

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With more than twenty-five years of correspondence between two old scribblers, world-renowned writer Rainer Maria Rilke and his sounding-board, one-time lover, friend and mentor Lou Andreas-Salome

May 29 2006 | Read Full Review of Rainer Maria Rilke and Lou An...

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These two tales, here translated into English for the first time, reveal a little-known aspect of the celebrated German poet, who was born and educated in Prague and profoundly influenced by his years there.

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Rilke, of course, is one of the major poets of the 20th century, author of such famous poems as “Archaic Torso of Apollo,” “The Panther” and “The Duino Elegies.” Snow's translations of the complete texts of Rilke's original collections—including both volumes of New Poems , The Book of Images , Du...

Sep 21 2009 | Read Full Review of Rainer Maria Rilke and Lou An...

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With acclaimed versions of The Duino Elegies and Uncollected Poems already in print, Edward Snow's historic rendering of the Rilke oeuvre gets one step closer to completion with Sonnets to Orpheus.

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Auden jokingly called him ""the greatest lesbian poet since Sappho."" Fluently, if not memorably written, these youthful diaries will best be appreciated by addicts of Rilke's works, such as Letters to a Young Poet, Sonnets to Orpheus and Duino Elegies.

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With more than twenty-five years of correspondence between ""two old scribblers,"" world-renowned writer Rainer Maria Rilke and his sounding-board, one-time lover, friend and mentor Lou Andreas-Salome, Snow and Winkler have gathered an intimate portrait of an important literary relationship.

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