Letters to a Young Poet: Rainer Maria Rilke (LIT4528.01)

Mark Wunderlich

From 1903 to 1908, the German-language poet Rainer Marie Rilke wrote ten letters to a young military cadet who wanted to become a poet. These letters have become some of the most widely-read and quoted letters on the art of writing poetry the world has ever known. In the spirit of these inspiring and philosophical letters, and in an exercise of analog exchange, this course will be conducted completely through the exchange of letters–actual, physical letters sent through the post–in which we will write to each other about our extensive reading list of Rilke’s work, including the Duino Elegies and Sonnets to Orpheus, the novel The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge, poems, letters and prose reflections. Students will write to me and to each other, write creatively and critically about Rilke’s work, and engage in a form of distance learning that is considered, careful and rigorous. Readings will be English translations from the original German texts.

Learning Outcomes:

Delivery Method: Entirely remote (asynchronous)
Prerequisites:You will need to be able to send and receive physical mail, so a post box is required. If you are living overseas, other arrangements can be made. Please email Mark Wunderlich with a list of relevant literature courses you have taken and a statement of interest in the course to mwunderlich@bennington.edu by May 26, 2020.
Course Level: 4000-level
Credits: 4
Asynchronously Remote (1st seven weeks)
Maximum Enrollment: 20
Course Frequency: One time only

Categories: All courses , Literature
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