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Article

Rainer Maria Rilke and the English-speaking world: Celebrating and honoring 140th anniversary of the poet

Forum for World Literature Studies. 2015. Vol. 7. No. 4. P. 514-527.

In 2015 researchers and readers of Rainer Maria Rilke (1875–1926), a famous poet and novelist, are celebrating his 140 anniversary. Hisworks have been discussed and studied in many countries and translated into many languages, including English, Spanish, French, and Russian, to name a few.  Books, hundreds of articles, manuscripts, commentaries, and essays in different journals, magazines, and reviews have explored background, life, and art. To honor this anniversary, in this essay we discuss a paradox around his popularity: Rilke, a German-language poet, has become one of the most popular poets in the English-speaking world.  First, we provide a short overview of Rilke’s literary heritage in his native language. Then, we discuss his popularity in the English-speaking world by looking at the main biographies and books around Rilke’s life and his art, and translators of his works into English, and pondering on the reasons of his popularity.