WARTIME LETTERS OF RAINER MARIA RILKE, 1914–1921
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Reading Rilke's letters from the war and postwar years is a window into the writer as both a figure and interpreter of history. With biographical notes included at the back of the volume, the letters trace Rilke's reports of initial parades of excitement to his reaction to scenes of cruelty, how they almost muted the poet in him. Rilke's letters here are historical, biographical, and literary artifacts from a writer trying to read the world for any sense of a future and humanity he still believed in, foreshadowing how these perspectives would influence his great late works.
Trans. M. D. Herter Norton.