Rainer Maria Rilke


On December 4, 1875, Rainer Maria Rilke was born in Prague. His parents placed him in military school with the desire that he become an officer—a position Rilke was not inclined to hold. 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 and then Russia, where the young poet met Tolstoy, whose influence is seen in Das Buch vom lieben Gott und anderes (Stories of God). His first great work, Das Stunden Buch (The Book of Hours), was written in Paris in 1905, followed in 1907 by Neue Gedichte (New Poems) and Die Aufzeichnungen des Malte Laurids Brigge (The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge).  When World War I broke out, Rilke was obliged to leave France and during the war he lived in Munich. In 1919, he went to Switzerland where he spent the last years of his life. It was here that he wrote his last two works, the Duino Elegies(1923) and the Sonnets to Orpheus (1923). He died of leukemia on December 29, 1926. At the time of his death his work was intensely admired by many leading European artists, but was almost unknown to the general reading public. His reputation has grown steadily since his death, and he has come to be universally regarded as a master of verse. Source

Child in Red

Sometimes she walks through the village in her

little red dress

all absorbed in restraining herself,

and yet, despite herself, she seems to move

according to the rhythm of her life to come.


She runs a bit, hesitates, stops,

half-turns around...

and, all while dreaming, shakes her head

for or against.


Then she dances a few steps

that she invents and forgets,

no doubt finding out that life

moves on too fast.


It's not so much that she steps out

of the small body enclosing her,

but that all she carries in herself

frolics and ferments.


It's this dress that she'll remember

later in a sweet surrender;

when her whole life is full of risks,

the little red dress will always seem right.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Childhood & Coming of Age

Memory & The Past

Literary Devices:


the repetition of the same letter or sound at the beginning of words appearing in succession


a literary device that is used in narratives to omit some parts of a sentence or event, which gives the reader a chance to fill the gaps while acting or reading it out.

Interrupted Clause

a word group (a statement, question, or exclamation) that interrupts the flow of a sentence and is usually set off by commas, dashes, or parentheses