Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926)

Death: 29th December 1926
Location: Burgkirche St.Roman, Raron Valais, Swizerland
Cause of death: Leukemia
Photo taken by: Berger
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Austrian poet and novelist whose writings include one novel, several collections of poetry and several volumes of correspondence. In the later 20th century, Rilke's work found new audiences through use by New Age theologians and self-help authors. His best-known works include the poetry collection Sonnets to Orpheus (1922) and a collection of ten letters published under the title Letters to a Young Poet (1929). The letters were written by Rilke to Franz Xaver Kappus, who was, at the time the letters were written, an officer cadet at a military academy. Kappus corresponded with Rilke from 1902 to 1908 seeking his advice as to the quality of his poetry, and in deciding between a literary career or a career as an officer in the Austro-Hungarian Army. Kappus compiled and published the letters in three years after Rilke's death from leukemia.  Rilke chose his own epitaph:

Rose, oh reiner Widerspruch, Lust,
Niemandes Schlaf zu sein unter soviel

(Rose, oh pure contradiction, delight
of being no one's sleep under so
many lids.)