Austrian poet, born in Prague on December 4, 1875 and died in Montreux on December 29, 1926. Son of a modest official, wanted to be military but dropped out of school in 1890, given its fragile and sensitive character. In 1895 he prepared his end of course at the University of Prague, the nerve centre of the Hapsburg Empire. His first book appeared in 1894: life and songs, poems purely sentimental style of the fin de siècle. Consecutively appear offerings to the lares, 1985; Coronado dream, 1896, and advent, 1897. Continued studies of literature and history of art in Munich and Berlin. On the occasion of the 125th anniversary of his birth, was published in Germany an unpublished diary that recounts the existential crisis of the poet during his first visit to Paris in 1902.
During the spring of 1898, he spent fifteen years older written to Lou Andreas-Salomé, intellectual dialogue that he, friend of Nietzsche and collaborator of Freud, who influenced him directly, thus confirming her literary vocation. With her he travelled to Russia, 1899-1900, where he meets Tolstoi, and see Russian mysticism and its landscape. This combination was decisive in his poetry. With the work Romance of love and death of Lieutenant Cristóbal Rilke, 1899, penetrates fully into the neo-romantic movement, and becomes his first public success. This year is to celebrate me.
He wrote the three parts of the book of hours: the book of monastic life, the book of pilgrimage and the book of poverty and death, between 1899 and 1903. In this work, full of metaphors, it expresses an entirely earthly religiosity. In 1900, Rilke became part of a group of artists in Worpswede, where he met Clara Westhoff, sculptor, which he later married. Their marriage lasted very little and decided to move to Paris. This time, 1900-1904, is the cycle of stories stories of the good God, narrated by children to the elderly. In 1905, he met the sculptor Rodin, which became private Secretary, and Paul Cézanne, who held an exhibition in 1907. The fact of knowing these two great artists provoked in him a change that is reflected in new poems, 1907-1908, where transmitted with precision images of the things, and gives fullness of meaning to reality, totally distorted by the process of commodification, which had invaded the industrial society. In the notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge, 1910, novela-diario autobiographical, appears the author with a very tormented inner life.
Every time is it closer to the Existentialist philosophy of Kierkegaard, which created a severe psychological crisis, which led him to travel around Europe and North Africa. In 1911, he began the drafting of Duino Elegies, completed in 1923. This year are the Sonnets to Orpheus, which culminates its poetic maturity. The lyrical poems of his last period have been collected, posthumously, with the title of last poems. Departed from the culture of end-of-century crisis: considered the man, on the one hand, destroyer of the world (corporate), but, at the same time, salvador, because the human being possesses a rich inner world, which will have to protect from any foreign threat. He died of leukemia in Valmont, near Montreux, Switzerland.