The ten letters collected here are arguably the most famous and beloved letters of our century. Written when Rainer Maria Rilke was himself still a young man with most of his greatest work before him, they are addressed to a student who had sent Rilke some of his work, asking for advice about becoming a writer. The two never met, but over a period of several years Rilke wrote him these ten letters, which have been enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of readers for what Stephen Mitchell calls the "vibrant and deeply felt experience of life" that informs them.
Rainer Marie Rilke, the great Austro-German poet, was the author of many works including Duino Elegies and Sonnets to Orpheus. Stephen Mitchell's translations include Ahead of All Parting: The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke, The Book of Job, Tao Te Ching, and, most recently, Bhagavad-Gita. He lives in California.