Listen: Last Year's Lesson: Rainer Maria Rilke Born - Dec. 4, 1875
"Hello and welcome to the podcast asked. I'm Tracy v Wilson December fourth reinert. Maria rilke was born on this day in eighteen seventy five. He was a poet a novelist. It's an essayist heat primarily wrote in German and in French but his work has been translated into numerous other languages and he's become particularly. We studied and beloved in the English speaking world in a way. That's not really all that common. Among non English language poets he was as parents only only surviving child and for a lot of his early life. His mother actually dressed him in skirts. She was trying to recover from the death of his older sister who had died as a baby. His first formal education was a military school. Although it wasn't a particularly good fit for him it wasn't just because of his temperament which was not well-suited to being at a military school it was also because of his health. He had a series of chronic illnesses that affected him throughout his life. Health problems led to his being thank discharged from the second military school. He attended he went on to study philosophy and art and he wasn't a particularly good student. He move from one university to another not being all that engaged with the work that he was doing and he also started writing when he was still young man. His early early work though was really derivative of the writing of other poets to the point that some critics today don't really describe it. As derivative they describe Abbas plagiarized but he started to reinvent himself when he was twenty. Two part of this was through a relationship with Lou Andrea. Solomon who is a writer. He was connected to numerous other writers. She had a whole reputation for being adjust. Astonishing woman. She was also married but the relationship inspired him to basically remake his whole life at the age of twenty five he married a sculptor named Clara Westhoff and they had a child altogether. Although they didn't live together for very long a lot of their marriage took place through letters and he would later. Go on to describe marriage. As two people protecting detecting one another's solitude for a lot of his life including during and before his marriage he just moved continually at one point he lived in twenty one eighty five different places over the span of five years. He learned numerous languages. He pursued passionate relationships with women. And all of these places later on he started writing poems about philosophy and God and beauty using imagery to express his ideas his writings on God. Though we should be clear they're not so much about religion or a divine fif- gear. They're more about God as a universal consciousness or as a life a force at or as a natural presence not so much as a divine being he also had friendships and working relationships with so many any other philosophers and writers and poets. One of them was Auguste Rodin. Who was a major influence on his work. He also worked as a secretary Harry for a time but was let go after Rodin alleged that rilke was answering his letters without his permission died of leukemia on December. Twenty ninth of Nineteen Twenty Six. And there's a story that he pricked his finger on a rose and that when he did that this led led to an infection that hastened his death. It's not totally clear whether that is a real event or apocryphal. After his death though he became hugely influential influential to poets and multiple languages with some of them naming him as the greatest poet of his age when it comes to English language readers though only only a few of his poems were really available in very good English language translations until the nineteen seventies instead. A lot of the admiration for him comes comes from his pros in particular the letters to a young poet which was a response to the after said young poets request for advice. We're just about writing. Though they're also really about life Roka's reputation is one of being just a profoundly. Thoughtful and conscientious introspective person. Someone someone who really crafted himself into the person that he wanted to be in the process transformed himself into a remarkable poet although he definitely has detractors people who instead read him as a pretentious womanizer rather than a more intuitive and passionate soul. Thanks thanks very much to Eve's Jeffcoat for her research work on today's show and thanks to Casey Peterman Chandler made for their audio work. You can subscribe to this day in history. Class on Apple podcast.."