Often regarded as the greatest German poet of the twentieth century, Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) remains one of the most influential figures of European modernism. In this Companion, leading scholars offer informative and thought-provoking essays on his life and social context, his correspondence, all his major collections of poetry including most famously the Duino Elegies and Sonnets to Orpheus, and his seminal novel of Modernist anxiety, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge. Rilke's critical contexts are explored in detail: his relationship with philosophy and the visual arts, his place within modernism and his relationship to European literature, and his reception in Europe and beyond. With its invaluable guide to further reading and a chronology of Rilke's life and work, this Companion will provide an accessible, engaging account of this extraordinary poet whose legacy looms so large today.
Karen Leeder is Professor of Modern German Literature at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of New College. Robert Vilain is Professor of German and Comparative Literature at Royal Holloway, University of London.