Rainer Maria Rilke

(3078 words)
  • Alfred D. White (University of Cardiff)

Rilke’s fame is based on steely resolution never to do the expected, the normal, the ordinary, the respectable; never to accept responsibility, to be tied down, to be forced to labour – except by his inner voice which told him that his unsociability would be rewarded by great poetic inspirations. He set out to be lonely, refusing the comfort of companionship, and positively encouraging neuroses. In just one of his poems, he declared, there is more reality than in all his human relationships. His greatest poems stand between French and German traditions, symbolism and subjectivity, set forms and free verse, classical restraint and romantic exuberance, at once bending humbly to the function of a mediator of greater realities and …

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Citation:
White, Alfred D.. "Rainer Maria Rilke". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 10 December 2004
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=3793, accessed 03 September 2014.]

Articles on Rilke's works

  1. Duineser Elegien [Duino Elegies]
  2. Sonette an Orpheus [Sonnets to Orpheus]