A biography of first rate importance which presents the life and works of Rainer Maria with perception, knowledge and common sense. By skillfully interweaving quotations from letters and by associating the often mysterious poems with actual events and periods of the poet's life, the author brings a rational understanding to many hitherto obscure or misunderstood situations. As the niece of Rilke's patron and also the wife of one of his great personal friends, she is particularly fitted for this task. No life of Rilke can convey his subtle and sensitive essence as do his poems and above all his letters. But the letters, still not published in full, are fragmentary, and the poems are exceedingly difficult whether in translation or the original. This biography therefore has a real place and it has been conceived with integrity and a pleasing scholarship; it is also the first clear study of Rilke's genius in English, though it is not the last word in delicate analysis or ultimate appreciation.