The ten letters that form this beautiful little book are some of the most famous letters ever written. They range freely over a variety of subjects, from the dangers of an ironic worldview to the value of faith. The reason they have proved to be so popular over the years is that they are the work of a great soul; an expansive and inspiring spirit pervades them.
For almost a hundred years, the voice that reached out to the aspiring artist with the most clarity and consolation was that of Rainer Maria Rilke. How is it that such a slim book, written so long ago in a time very different from our own, still speaks to us with such authority today? The answer lies in the simple fact that these letters are the result of a unique conjunction of circumstances that created an almost magical alchemy of thought and feeling.
Because of their depth of sentiment and sense of wise detachment, readers often assume that they are the work of an older man looking back on the struggles of youth. But, in fact, these letters were written between Rilke’s twenty-eighth and thirty-third years – during which he was struggling to find himself artistically. However, it is the great, overarching shadow of the French sculptor Rodin that helps lift Rilke’s insights from the profound observations of a sensitive and talented young man to the status of timeless utterances about the mysteries of life and the creative process.
This book makes a perfect gift for the writer, artist, or thinker.