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Today is the birthday of Rainer
Maria Rilke, born in Prague in 1875. It was
expected of him to become a lawyer and take over his
uncle's law firm. He was, however, determined to
become a poet and writer, and after studying
literature, art history and philosophy, he moved to
Munich for its vibrant arts culture. There he
met Lou Andreas-Salomé, an older married woman
who mentored Rilke, encouraging him to move on from
writing sentimental poetry and discover his full
potential. They travelled together in Europe and
Russia, and after they eventually went their separate
ways, Rilke continued to travel, seducing rich
noblewomen who would support him while he wrote.
The Princess Marie von Thurn und Taxis refused to be
taken in by his charms but allowed him to stay in her
castle in Trieste which he adored. He claimed an
angel appeared to him there, speaking of life and
death, beauty and humanity, and inspiring him to write
some of his most famous poetry, The Duino
Elegies. Rilke said, "The purpose of life
is to be defeated by greater and greater things."
And I Quote...
Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it ~ Hannah Arendt
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James Franco says literature was his emotional and intellectual escape valve from the alternate reality of filmmaking, performance, and celebrity.
Rainer Maria Rilke
You don't survive in me
because of memories;
nor are you mine because
of a lovely longing's strength.
What does make you present
is the ardent detour
that a slow tenderness
traces in my blood.
I do not need
to see you appear;
being born sufficed for me
to lose you a little less.
Translated by A. Poulin