Abailart's Reviews > Letters to a Young Poet

Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
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Aug 27, 2010

it was amazing

I have a nice 1950 hardback version given to me. I read and liked the goodread reviews. A few of my own favourite extracts:

"...read as few aesthetic-critical things as possible - they are either partisan opinion become hardened and meaningless in their lifeless petrification or else they are a skilful play upon words, in which one view is uppermost today and its opposite tomorrow." (Letter III)

"One must in general be so careful with names; it is so often the name of a misdeed upon which a life is shattered, not the nameless and personal action itself, which was perhaps a quite definite necessity of that life and could be taken on by it without trouble." (Letter VIII)

"And your doubt can become a good quality if you train it. It must become aware, it must become criticism. Ask it, whenever it wants to spoil something for you, why something is ugly, demand proofs from it, test it, and you will find it helpless and nonplussed, perhaps also aggressive. But do not give way, demand arguments and conduct yourself thus carefully and consistently every single time, and the day will dawn when it will become, instead of a subverter, one of your best workmates - perhaps the cleverest of all who are building your life." (Letter IX)

"Art too is only a way of living, and one can prepare for it, living somehow, without knowing it; in everything real one is a closer, nearer neighbour to it than in the unreal semi-artistic professions which, while they make show of a relatedness to art, in practice deny and attack the existence of all art, as for instance the whole of journalism does, and almost all criticism and three quarters of what calls itself and likes to be called literature." (Letter X)
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Reading Progress

August 27, 2010 – Started Reading
August 27, 2010 – Shelved
September 3, 2010 – Finished Reading

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message 1: by Alan (new)

Alan I like the comment about professions related to art which in practice deny and attack the existence of all art..


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