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

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

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

By Rachel Corbett

Winner of the Marfield Prize for Arts Writing, 2016

“[An] empathetic and imaginative biography, deeply researched.”―The New Yorker

"You Must Change Your Life is an enthralling exploration of the complex relationship between two creative giants of art and literature, drawn together in Paris at the birth of a new century...Corbett...sustains the reader’s interest through intellectual rigour, elegance, and above all empathy."—The London Magazine

"...she [Rachel Corbett] evokes the interaction between Rodin's and Rilke's circumstances and mental states in vivid detail...The result of her efforts is a beautiful exercise in compact, interwoven double biography."Times Literary Supplement

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.

320 pages
W. W. Norton & Company, 2017
5.6 x 0.9 x 8.3 inches
ISBN 9780393354928
Biography, Art

$15.95 $15.95