Here's a bit of a letter he wrote in 1920
about his time in Munich
"I cannot and could not take anything back, not for a moment, not in any direction can I reject, or hate, or make suspect ... My
only part in this whole thing is suffering. Suffering in sympathy, suffering in prospect, and suffering in retrospect too. Soon I shall be all played out...I have done no work at all. My heart just stopped, like a clock. The pendulum had swung against the hand of misery, and was checked."
Compare that with a few lines of later poetry :
Change, though the world may as fast /
as cloud-collections, / home to the changeless / at last fall all perfections. (I, xix. Sonnets to Orpheus)
wrote of Rainer Maria, "And Rilke whom 'die Dinge' bless / The Santa Claus of loneliness
" in one of his more didactic poems, going on to compare him to such grim luminaries as Baudelaire
and Friedrich Nietzsche
. For example, regarding that Miss Lonelyhearts
analogy of Auden's, here's another part of Sonnets to Orpheus
Anticipate all farewells, as if they were /
behind you like the winter, now going past. (II, xiii.)
Or, the last stanza of 'Autumn Day' :
Whose house is not built now shall build no more,
A few brief life details :
who now is lonely shall long be alone,
shall lie awake, and read, long letters write,
and restlessly, among the drifting leaves
of avenues wander to and fro.
1875 : b. in Prague
, Dec. 4th.
1886-1890 : Military school (yuck!) abroad.
1892 : returns to Prague.
1894 : Publishes Leben und Lieder
1896 : Moves to Munich.
1897 : in May meets Lou Andreas-Salome
for the first
time, then Oct. moves to Berlin.
1898 : spends spring in Italy.
1899 : first summer visit to Russia.
1901 : Marries Clara Westhoff, a sculptor, who bears
his first child that December.
1902 : Move to Paris and starts hanging with
Rodin; publishes Das Buch der Bilder
1903: Publishes Auguste
1904 : the Rilkes move to Rome.
1906 : Back to Paris.
1907 - 1916 : Many literary travels & visits to Capri, Italy (where he publishes a
translation of Elizabeth Barrett Browning
's Sonnets of the
), Munich, Algiers, Naples and Venice finally lead up to
and military service in Vienna.
1919 : Living and lecturing in
1923 : Nursing home in Switzerland; publishes Die Sonette
1926 : Rilke dies Dec. 29th at Val-Mont of leukemia
1. Holthusen, Hans Egon. Rainer Maria Rilke; a study of his later
, tr. by J.P. Stern. (Cambridge, Bowes & Bowes, 1952)
2. Butler, Eliza Marian. Rainer Maria Rilke
. (Cambridge, 1946.)