Rainer Maria Rilke was born René Karl Wilhelm Johann Josef Maria Rilke on December 4, 1875. He was born in Prague, which was then the capital of Bohemia and part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, but is now in the Czech Republic. His parents were Josef Rilke, who had taken a job as a railroad official after he had failed to obtain a commission in the army, and Sophia ("Phia") Entz, who had come from a well-off family in Prague. Rilke was born premature a year after his older sister died a week after her birth. Some have speculated that Phia was trying to reclaim the daughter she lost through Rilke-she gave him two feminine names and until he went to school at five, she dressed him as a girl. His childhood was unhappy, as he was torn between the dual influences of his parents.
...I cannot think of a better book to put into the hands of any young would-be poet, as an inspirational guide to poetry and to surviving as a poet in a hostile world. -- Harry Fainlight The Times
Rainer Maria Rilke was born in 1875 in Prague. He studied literature, art history and philosophy in both Munich and Prague, and is often considered one of the German language's greatest 20th century poets. His two most famous verse sequences are the Sonnets to Orpheus and the Duino Elegies; his two most famous prose works are the Letters to a Young Poet and the semi-autobiographical The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge. Charlie Louth was born in 1969 in Bristol. He is a Fellow of the Queen's College, Oxford, where he lectures in German. He is the author of Holderlin and the Dynamics of Translation (1998). Lewis Hyde is a poet, essayist, translator, and cultural critic. A MacArthur Fellow and former director of undergraduate creative writing at Harvard University, Hyde is a Fellow at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society.