You Must Change Your Life: The Story of Rainer Maria Rilke and Auguste Rodin

You Must Change Your Life: The Story of Rainer Maria Rilke and Auguste Rodin

Rachel Corbett / Nov 20, 2019

You Must Change Your Life The Story of Rainer Maria Rilke and Auguste Rodin The extraordinary story of one of the most fruitful friendships in modern arts and letters Rainer Maria Rilke s Letters to a Young Poet is one of the most beloved books of the twentieth century It has

  • Title: You Must Change Your Life: The Story of Rainer Maria Rilke and Auguste Rodin
  • Author: Rachel Corbett
  • ISBN: 9780393245059
  • Page: 161
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The extraordinary story of one of the most fruitful friendships in modern arts and letters.Rainer Maria Rilke s Letters to a Young Poet is one of the most beloved books of the twentieth century It has sold millions of copies and inspired generations with its galvanizing wisdom on how to lead an artistic life In You Must Change Your Life, debut author Rachel Corbett tellsThe extraordinary story of one of the most fruitful friendships in modern arts and letters.Rainer Maria Rilke s Letters to a Young Poet is one of the most beloved books of the twentieth century It has sold millions of copies and inspired generations with its galvanizing wisdom on how to lead an artistic life In You Must Change Your Life, debut author Rachel Corbett tells the remarkable, long buried story of where Rilke s ideas originated.In 1902, Rilke, broke and suffering from writer s block, accepted a commission to go to Paris to research and write a short book about the sculptor Auguste Rodin The two were almost polar opposites Rodin in his sixties, notoriously carnal, revered Rilke in his twenties, delicate, unknown Nonetheless, they fell into an instantaneous friendship and would work closely together as master and disciple for the next few years, as Rodin showed Rilke how to become the writer he wished to be.With verve and great insight, Corbett transports readers to turn of the twentieth century Paris to explore this surprising friendship and the development of their influential ideas about art and creativity She captures the dawn of modernism with appearances by such charismatic figures as Paul C zanne, Henri Matisse, Isadora Duncan, George Bernard Shaw, and Jean Cocteau, as well as the rise of the concept of empathy amid the pioneering work of Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, and Georg Simmel Corbett also introduces the women in these men s lives, many of them esteemed writers and artists in their own right Rodin s muse Camille Claudel, Rilke s wife and fellow artist Clara Westhoff, and the remarkable Lou Andreas Salome, who was Nietzsche s lover and Rilke s lifelong friend.You Must Change Your Life is a vibrant portrait of Rilke and Rodin s singular friendship, heartbreaking rift, and moving reconciliation, and it is a testament to the ways their work continues to reverberate to this day.

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      Published :2019-08-26T06:38:06+00:00

    About "Rachel Corbett"

      • Rachel Corbett

        Rachel Corbett is the author of You Must Change Your Life The Story of Rainer Maria Rilke and Auguste Rodin, which won the 2016 Marfield Prize, the National Award for Art Writing Her writing has also appeared in the The New Yorker, the New York Times, The Art Newspaper, New York magazine, and others She lives in Brooklyn, New York.


    175 Comments

    1. Knowing Rilke first through his poetry is odd, in that it is his most intensely intimate side. He almost does not seem human, but like one of his angels, outside of time and the physical realm. This book shed light on that physical realm: his actual likeness, his long coming of age, as well as on Rodin, his mentor. And for him, how Rodin was this almost godlike figure, representing Art.Though the two men worked in different mediums and had entirely different tendencies, one earthy and visceral, [...]


    2. I was excited to receive an ARC of You Must Change Your Life: The Story of Rainer Maria Rilke and Auguste Rodin by Rachel Corbett in the mail. I was clamouring to read it, entering give-a-ways and requesting it on Edelweiss, then it arrived unanounced in the mail. Thank you, W. W. Norton!I was in my twenties and living in Philadelphia when browsing in a Center City bookstore I happened upon Letters to a Young Poet. Later I bought the Duino Elegies-which I read on vacation camping at Acadia Natio [...]


    3. This book was mildly interesting, in a gossipy sort of way. But Corbett's 'honeyed prose' (from a dustjacket blurb) aroused a persistent feeling that I was taken for a ride by an author who wanted to spin a good yarn at all costs. This feeling of suspicion was reinforced by the fact that the story hardly seemed to resonate with Wolfgang Leppmann's classic but more soberly narrated Rilke biography which I read only a year ago. In addition in 'You Must Change Your Life' there are inaccuracies and [...]


    4. This was totally all-consuming. The storytelling and writing are exceptional. Corbett manages to write prose that supports, illuminates, and complements Rilke while also maintaining her own voice and controlling the narrative. Wonderful, perfect, A+. This is not just up my alley, this is literally everything my alley is made of. It's also sent me headfirst into a dormant obsession with Rilke, and now I find myself thinking of him and reading his poetry nearly constantly. Sometimes I even have tr [...]


    5. ExcellenceHeartfelt. The description of their lives touches you. In this book there is nowhere you don't see yourself. You must change your life, indeed.


    6. Very absorbing, well written and packed full. Corbett vividly describes each artist's evolution prior to their intersection in Paris in 1902 when Rodin is a mature recognized sculptor in his 60s and and Rilke is an aspiring, if somewhat fragile, young poet in his 20s. From then on it's a psychological journey of two brilliant men and the fascinating environments in which they lived, and how they responded and made sense of some pretty crazy tumultuous times. For me it was a connecting of many do [...]


    7. Who would have ever known that one of the world's greatest sculptor's would mentor and guide one of its greatest poets. Reading this story - their fruitful yet volatile relationship - inspired me to write the following - I hope it serves as both a review and a reminder of how I might live."Gone are the days of reflection and silence. So interrupted by the multitude of life’s distractions that one cannot experience the world. To look into its vast beauty and proclaim and celebrate life. Rilke a [...]


    8. Such a pleasure to read. This was really beautifully done. I felt enriched and was so sad to have it end. I was going to give 4 stars and then realized my vague sense of disappointment was only because it was over.


    9. Really 3.5 stars. While learning a fair amount I had not known about the lives of both Rilke and Rodin, I never found this book to be totally engaging and writing often somewhat clunky.


    10. You Must Change Your Life is a fascinating biography of a friendship beautifully written by Rachel Corbett. While we learn about the lives of Rilke and Rodin it is in the telling of the friendship where this book truly shines.Corbett gives both biographies of the two men as well as an elaborate portrayal of the friendship and mentorship they established. These difficult men are presented in all of their grandeur as well as all of their pettiness, which serves to make them ever more human and rea [...]


    11. It becomes clear in the early pages that Rodin intends to teach the younger artist and poet, Rilke, the difference between observation and seeing, the difference between presenting perfection in art and presenting the truth in art. Empathy from the seer levels the playing field on which to face art. Fronting art, our response, in all genuineness, must exist in a sense of humility that whatever gets seen, it will mandate changing my life. Simple but not easy.Corbett writes more than two biographi [...]


    12. I have a weakness for stories about relationships between famous artists and/or writers; this one definitely delivered. I think Rachel Corbett did an excellent job of creating a narrative out of two lives (and many relationships) that hardly follow a straight line. And, like any good book in this genre, the author gave us enough information about the times they lived in without getting sidetracked in extraneous details or making it feel like a scholarly history.When I was 50 or so pages into it [...]


    13. This was such a beautiful book - one of my favorites of 2016. It is a book about many things - a book about relationship, origins of empathy and the history of psychology, a story about workaholics, and a story about the oppression of women in Western history. Beautifully written and extensively researched, it reads like a hard-to-put-down novel.


    14. Letters to a Young Poet is a longtime favorite book and of course I was introduced to Rodin in my art history classes in college, but learned so much more about each of these masters and their friendship in the dual biography "You Must Change Your Life" - fascinating, well written and eye opening for the historical content of its time I thoroughly enjoyed it!


    15. The story is fascinating! The essence of the friendships and politics of the time really came to life for me. I was completely enthralled by the telling but so much more impressed by the underlying knowledge of art and literature of the author. It is truly a comprehensive primer that covers Art history, romance, politics of the era, and so much more. A good read.


    16. A real must-read. Brilliantly written and a fascinating way into the creative lives of Rodin and Rilke but also those around them, including several amazing women whose portraits are as fascinatingly sketched if not more so.



    17. This book makes you feel like you're right there in place and time along with so many other artists. Beautifully written!


    18. It’s been a big year for the sculptor Auguste Rodin (1840-1917) in museums. Sadly, I missed "Séraphin Soudbinine: From Rodin's Assistant to Ceramic Artist" and "Klimt & Rodin: An Artistic Encounter," both of which were at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco. "Kiefer – Rodin" closes at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia in a few weeks. When I noticed "You Must Change Your Life: The Story of Rainer Maria Rilke and Auguste Rodin" (W. W. Norton & Company, 2016) by Rachel Corbett, wh [...]


    19. In August 1902, the Czech-born, German-language poet Rainer Maria Rilke arrived in Paris for the first time. Lately come from the tranquil Worpswede artist colony in northern Germany, the hypersensitive Rilke was nearly overwhelmed by the deluge of urban life—”The crowds of people reminded him of beetles, crawling through garbage, scurrying to survive beneath the giant footsteps of life.” But nothing would deter him from meeting the world-renowned sculptor Auguste Rodin, an artist whose de [...]


    20. There’s some irony in the title, “You Must Change Your Life.” It’s advice that August Rodin, the sculptor and father figure gave to the young poet, Rainer Maria Rilke. To succeed in art, Rodin said, one must “work, always work.” Taking the advice literally, Rilke devoted his life to his art to the exclusion of almost everything else, including his marriage. Rodin, on the other hand, didn’t always practice what he preached. He always found time for mistresses.The book brings to life [...]


    21. i am unsure why the author needed to tell this story. i would have liked more insight into rodin's life and could have done without rilke's aimless and selfish rambling about. rodin left something to be desired in his later life when he was tyrannical and paranoid, but at least he worked for a living and seemed to stand for something.rilke, on the other hand, was a sickly waif with no direction. he had a child he didn't care for, quit everything he ever tried, and never seemed to be satisfied wi [...]


    22. Gotta say - you got me with the title. And then you tell me the book is about Rilke and Rodin? How could I not be intrigued? The book did not disappoint. It is a well told story of two artists that I have long admired. What it did for me, frankly, was to take them off the pedestal where they lived in my mind and bring them down to the human level. I appreciated Corbett's easy going writing style. She brought me into the story and made me curious to find out more about these two men. There was a [...]


    23. So enjoyed this and took many notes. As an artist myself. Could relate to the process of being. I especially took to heart the quote from Nietzsche about the best gift to a teacher is to brome independent. Also My friends and I often have the discussion regarding the relationship of the quality of artist work compared to the quality of the artist as a human being. frank Lloyd Wright reviled as a person but superior in his works. Picasso and now Rilke. How does one reconcile those two components [...]


    24. I have mixed feelings after reading this book. Rachel Corbett's writing is beautiful—so often a book like this can feel dry, but her book reads easily and enjoyably. The mixed feelings come from being awed by the great art these two men produced and also astounded by their truly miserable personal lives. Corbett introduces us to many fascinating people in fin de siècle France. You can learn something on every page. The role of the women artists in the orbit of Rodin and Rilke will give you a [...]


    25. In my early years I was swept away by the movement of movie, song and prose. Much of that movement came with the words of Rainer Maria Rilke. The discovery of this book rekindled those thoughts and times. As a lover of arts and history the story within these pages gives depth to a time and people caught in a whirlwind of creativity. A worthwhile read for fans of Rodin, Rilke, history and all things good.


    26. “I consider this to be the highest task of the union of two people: that each one should keep watch over the solitude of the other.”Rilke is most beautiful and persuasive when defending solitude and love-at-a-distance. Corbett's book is a meticulously researched account of his idealistically feminist, yet man-splained and flawed, implementation.


    27. I was swept away by this well written exploration of two exceptional but very different artists in the tumultuous period in Europe between the Belle Epoch and the rise of the avant garde. It was fascinating to read about the relationship between these men and how they were shaped by and in turn, affected the culture around them.


    28. A marvelous work that is more than just a Dual biography but also a history of art and society and the movements of early 20th century Europe. Beautifully written in rhapsodic prose that highlights the formerly not widely known interconnections between the two artists and how they would continue to intersect throughout their lives.Brilliant.


    29. A competent piece of work but was it necessary to highlight the well-known relationship between Rodin and Rilke? Both figures are fully documented and the dynamic between them holds few surprises: from awe-struck disciple to disappointed friend, Rilke behaved towards his mentor in a fairly predictable way.


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