Fairfield Ledger

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Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 17, 2018

Rainer Maria Rilke program Sunday

Jan 24, 2018

UPDATE: Fairfield Public Library Director Rebecca Johnson has corrected the dates for the free presentation about Bohemian-Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke.

The program was not presented Sunday; it will be a series over three Sundays: from 2:30-4 p.m. Feb. 11, 25 and March 11. The program will be presented by Bryan Aubrey, who has a doctorate in literature from the University of Durham in England. The original announced was printed in the Jan. 24 edition of The Fairfield Ledger.



A free presentation about Bohemian-Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke is scheduled from 2:30-4 p.m. Sunday at the Fairfield Public Library.

The program will be presented by Bryan Aubrey, who has a doctorate in literature from the University of Durham in England.

According to the Academy of American Poets, Rainer Maria Rilke was born Dec. 4, 1875, in Prague. His parents placed him in military school with the desire that he become an officer, but with the help of his uncle, who realized Rilke was a highly gifted child, Rilke left the academy and entered a German preparatory school. By the time he enrolled in Charles University in Prague in 1895, he knew that he would pursue a literary career: he had already published his first volume of poetry, “Leben und Lieder,” the previous year. At the turn of 1895-1896, Rilke published his second collection, “Larenopfer (Sacrifice to the Lares).” A third collection, “Traumgekrönt (Dream-Crowned)” followed in 1896. That same year, Rilke decided to leave the university for Munich, Germany, and later made his first trip to Italy.

In 1897, Rilke went to Russia, a trip that would prove to be a milestone in his life, and which marked the true beginning of his early serious works. While there, he met Tolstoy, whose influence is seen in “Das Buch vom lieben Gott und anderes (Stories of God),” and Leonid Pasternak, the 9-year-old Boris’s father. At Worpswede, where Rilke lived for a time, he met and married Clara Westhoff, who had been a pupil of Rodin. In 1902, he became the friend, and for a time the secretary, of Rodin, and it was during his 12-year Paris residence that Rilke enjoyed his greatest poetic activity. His first great work, “Das Stunden Buch (The Book of Hours),” appeared in 1905, followed in 1907 by “Neue Gedichte (New Poems)” and “Die Aufzeichnungen des Malte Laurids Brigge (The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge).” Rilke traveled throughout his lifetime to Italy, Spain and Egypt among many other places, but Paris was the geographic center of his life, where he first began to develop a new style of lyrical poetry, influenced by the visual arts.

When World War I broke out, Rilke left France and lived in Munich. In 1919, he went to Switzerland where he spent the last years of his life and wrote his last two works, “Duino Elegies” and “Sonnets to Orpheus,” both in 1923. He died of leukemia Dec. 29, 1926.

At the time of Rilke’s death, his work was intensely admired by many leading European artists, but was almost unknown to the general reading public. Acording to the Academy of American Poets, his reputation has grown steadily since his death, and he has come to be universally regarded as a master of verse.

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