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R. M. Rilke

R. M. Rilke

*  1875 Prag
† 1926 Val-Mont

On 4 December, 1875, Rainer Maria Rilke was born in Prague. His father, Josef Rilke (1838-1906), became a railway official after an unsuccessful military career. He spent his first four school years at a Catholic convent school in Prague. From 1886 to 1891 the poet attended the military academies of St. Pölten and Mährisch-Weisskirchen. At the end of 1891 his parents sent him to a business school in Linz. As a poet Rilke made his debut at the age of nineteen with 'Leben und Lieder' (1894) and started to focus on literature. In 1897 he met intellectual Lou Andreas-Salomé who had great influence on him. In 1900 Rilke moved to the painters colony Worpswede and married the sculptress Clara Westhoff, leaving her after two years. For a few months in 1905 Rilke worked as Auguste Rodin's private secretary in Paris. He made visits to North Africa, Egypt and Spain. Between October 1911 and May 1912, Rilke stayed at the Castle Duino, near Trieste, home of Countess Marie of Thurn and Taxis. After 1921 he spent some time in Castle Muzot at Valais where he started writing again. The poet died on 29 December 1926 in the Valmont Sanatorium near Montreux, Switzerland, due to leukemia.