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The Development of Rainer Maria Rilke PoetryResearch Paper

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¶ … Rainer Maria Rilke's life experiences influence the poet's poetry?

Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) -- acknowledged widely as one among the most poetically-intense of German-language poets --put in unique efforts to broaden the poetic realm by means of novel applications of imagery and syntax, and the philosophy dealt within his work (Poetry Foundation). This poet of Austrian origin composed exquisite, and rather revolutionary, poetry and is, to this day, a potentiating influence for poetry. The mystical quests shaping his work still challenge and move poetry lovers. Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet guides readers beyond his lyrical vision's essence to poetry's very heart. His works covered a lot of aesthetic ground. Mainland-European poetry lovers of his time had high regard for Rilke; however, this regard failed to generate any real monetary gain for him. This appeal appears to persist, with Rilke's poetry still being translated afresh. A combination of aestheticism and innovative application of language by the poet garners appreciation from readers even today. Rilke's works attempt to convey a conflict which always springs up between essential artists like himself and his surrounding, contemporary world. Crockatt is of the view that the poet not only expressed this often in words, but also emotionally and physically experienced it in his personal life in middle-class Europe, realizing he had no option other than to give up life's joys for the sake of art. Even today, when text is taken for what it is, by readers, instead of being viewed as the writer's product, it is agreed that most of Rilke's writing has attained a superlative degree of appeal and mastery (Rodrigues).

This paper explores Rainer Maria Rilke's life experiences' impact on the style and nature of his creations.

Biography

Rainer Maria Rilke, born Rene Karl Wilhelm Johann Josef Maria, was a poet of Austrian-Bohemian roots, born in 1875 in Bohemia's capital Prague (Bohemia at the time belonged to Austria-Hungary; it now forms part of Czech Republic). Rilke did not lead a particularly happy childhood and adolescence in the city of his birth. He is regarded as one among the most notable German-language poets. Rilke's haunting images center on the challenge of ineffable communion in a period of solitude, extreme anxiety, and disbelief: themes tending to place Rilke in an intermediate spot between classic and contemporarypoets. His compositionsassumed the forms ofintensely lyrical prose pieces as well as verse. Duino Elegies represents Rilke's most popular work among his English-language fans. The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge and Letters to a Young Poet are the two most renowned of Rilke's prose works; the former is semi-autobiographical. Rilke is also credited with writing over 400 French-language poems, in honor of the Swiss canton, Valais -- his chosen homeland (PoemHunter).

Poet's life experiences and influence on poet

The most evident and direct influence of Rilke has been on imagery and diction. He conveyed ideas using physical symbols instead of intellectual ones. Whereas Shakespeare, for instance, considered the non-human aspects of the universe in human terms, Rilke did the opposite (i.e., he considered human aspects in relation tothings) (Dinge). Aside from this technique, another key element of Rilke's works was his philosophical evolution, which peaked in Sonnets to Orpheus (Die Sonette an Orpheus) and Duino Elegies (DuineserElegien). The poet rejected Catholicism and Christianity, as a whole, striving all his lifetime to reconcile suffering and beauty, death and life, into a single philosophy. C. M. Bowrare marks in the book, Rainer Maria Rilke: Aspects of His Mind and Poetry that, while other writers discovered for themselves a unifying philosophy in morality, or religion or the quest for truth, Rilke's discovery took place while pursuing impressions and the anticipation that he could convert these into poetry. The most important thing in his life was art.

Rilke, by the year 1895, had joined Charles-Ferdinand University's philosophy program; however, he lost interest in studies soon enough, and headed out of his native land to Munich, presumably to pursue art. There, he joined literary circles, produced a number of plays he had composed, published Traumgelkront and Larenopfer (his collections of poetry), and was first acquainted with Jens Peter Jacobsen's works; the Danish writer proved to be a decisive force in Rilke's youth. In the year 1897, while on a visit to Venice, Rilke came across Lou Andreas-Salome, another strong force in his life, who was 15 years older than him. Rilke spent summer of that year with Lou and her husband in the northeastern Alpine areas of Bavaria, after which the three went to Berlin, and then to Italy in the subsequent year (Poetry Foundation).

Romanticism is the core theme of the early short stories, plays and poems composed by Rilke. These poems depictGerman folk songs' influence, and are compared to Heinrich Heine's lyrical pieces. Rilke's most well-known poetry collections in this period include the romantic Die Weise von Liebe und Tod des Cornets Christoph Rilke (The Story of the Love and Death of Cornet Christoph Rilke) and Stories of God (or VomliebenGottund Anderes); the former remained Rilke's most renowned work all through his life. Some readers labeled Leben und Lieder ("Life and Songs"), Rilke's maiden work of poetry as "unbearably sentimental," while considering later books like Traumgekroent ("Crowned with Dreams") and Larenopfer ("Offering to the Lares") as demonstrating significantly better evidence of his poetic prowess. 'Noplay' by Rilke is regarded as a major work; also, the short stories written by him reveal his immaturity, but do indicate his understanding of language, a sort of psychological refinement, proof of a profound understanding of human relations, and glimpses of great satiric talent. Some of the best accounts of Rilke have been observed to be autobiographical in nature; these include the two-part tale "Ewald Tragy," regarding a youth who sets off to Munich, leaving behind his hometown, Prague, and family; he struggles with loneliness while simultaneously reveling in new-found freedom in the new city, and; "Pierre Dumont," featuring a little boy who bids farewell to his mother before entering military school (Poetry Foundation).

Rilke, in the year 1899,undertook his maiden journey to Russia, accompanied by Salome; this pivotal venture led him to discover his spiritual homeland in the landscape as well as the people. It was in Russia that Rilke had the opportunity to meet Spiridon Droschin (a peasant poet), the illustrious Leo Tolstoy, and Boris Pasternak's father, L. O. Pasternak; Rilke translated the latter's works into German. Rilke undertook another visit to Russia, and both the trips offered him inspiration and vital poetic matter for his emerging philosophy of existential art and materialism as religion. Rilke regarded the Russians as more sincerely spiritual compared to other Europeans, and the formers' lives inspired the works he developed in this period, which mostly showcased traditional Christian ideas and imagery, while also presenting art as mankind's lone redeemer. In the year 1900, immediately after returning from Russia, Rilke started working on his collection, Das Stundenbuchenthaltend die dreiBucher: VommoenchischenLeben; Von der Pilgerschaft; Von der Armuth und vomTode, (The Book of Hours; Comprising the Three Books: Of the Monastic Life, Of Pilgrimage, Of Poverty and Death) which, in Bowra's view, signaled the culmination of an era for Rilke; this view is also shared by others (reference?). The book comprises a collection of prayers dealing with the quest for the Almighty.

The poet's key collection of poetry, New Poems or Neue Gedichte, centered more on reality. Auguste Rodin, the renowned French sculptor was this collection's main influence. Rilke worked under Rodin as his secretary in 1905-06, acquiring a better appreciation of work ethic. However, more notably, Rilke's poetry assumed a more objective form, transforming from a personal, impressionistic idea to its representation with objective symbolism. Such verses were denoted by Rilke as thing poems or Dinggedichte, and made use of simple language for explaining material subjects encountered in daily life. Nancy Willard, who authored Testimony of the Invisible Man, states that after having acquired perceptive observation skills from Rodin as well as Paul Cezanne, the French artist, Rilke maintained the capacity to pen literary works without inspiration for some time, and to convert his entire life and observations into art. Erich Heller reveals in his book, The Artist's Journey into the Interior and Other Essays, that the objective reality of Rilke's poetry does not exhibit the harmony between objects and the inner self; rather, it portrays a disturbed inner self that immerses itself in objects. However, Willard's opinion is that despite Rilke's impartial outlookcreatively dealing withtopics never recognized earlier by poets and leading to the creation of "dazzling poems," he understood that it failed to really reveal living beings' secret.

Bowra asserts in his book, The Heritage of Symbolism, that Rilke's Sonnets to Orpheus depict the ballads of his success. He further states that the poet, through this collection, proved what poetry's importance was in his life, what he derived from it, as well as his hopes for poetry. Happiness is the key emotion conveyed throughout, complementing the apprehension and misery that dominated the Elegies; in the overall performance… [END OF PREVIEW]

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