You Must Change Your Life: The Story Of Rainer Maria Rilke And Auguste Rodin by Rachel CorbettYou Must Change Your Life: The Story Of Rainer Maria Rilke And Auguste Rodin by Rachel Corbett

You Must Change Your Life: The Story Of Rainer Maria Rilke And Auguste Rodin

byRachel Corbett

Paperback | October 10, 2017

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In 1902, Rainer Maria Rilke—then a struggling poet in Germany—went to Paris to research and write a short book about the sculptor Auguste Rodin. The two were almost polar opposites: Rilke in his twenties, delicate and unknown; Rodin in his sixties, carnal and revered. Yet they fell into an instantaneous friendship—and before long Rodin hired Rilke as his secretary.

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 Cézanne, 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.

About The Author

Rachel Corbett is the executive editor of Modern Painters. Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, the New York Times, the Art Newspaper, New York magazine, and others. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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Details & Specs

Title:You Must Change Your Life: The Story Of Rainer Maria Rilke And Auguste RodinFormat:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.68 inPublished:October 10, 2017Publisher:WW NortonLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:039335492X

ISBN - 13:9780393354928

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This empathetic and imaginative biography, deeply researched, is anchored by the friendship between [Rilke and Rodin]. — The New YorkerRachel Corbett, as any fine artist, has produced a work of great effect, and leaves a lasting and indelible mark on the reader. — NPRIn honeyed, knowing prose, Rachel Corbett twines two great serpents of art: the suppleness of Rodin’s malleable flesh and eroticism and Rilke’s endless lyrical rivers. New portals of aesthetic intonations open; invisible elements come into sight. — Jerry Saltz, senoir art critic, New York MagazineSpectacular. . . . A layered and lyrical inquiry into the personal, interpersonal, and cultural forces behind and around Rainer Maria Rilke’s iconic Letters to a Young Poet. — Maria Popova (brainpickings)Takes readers deep into the literary and art worlds of the beginning of the 20th century. . . . A must-read. — Alanna Martinez (Observer)Much more than the story of Rilke as a young man serving as the personal secretary and confidante to Rodin. Laced with first-and second-hand accounts of the artists and their milieu, You Must Change Your Life is an examination of the gritty how and why of artistic creation, as well as an acknowledgement of the costs of such a life. — Sarah Roffino (Brooklyn Rail)A riveting narrative. . . . Corbett writes sharp prose that gets to the point. — Daniel Larkin (Hyperallergic)Charming and funny, Rachel Corbett renders turn-of-the-twentieth-century Paris in all its gritty glory, illustrating how the same place that saw ‘Baudelaire charge through the streets waving a gun and Balzac nearly starve to death’ could foster a magical artistic relationship like this one. — Ada Calhoun. author of St. Marks Is Dead