Letters to a Young Poet: The Norton Centenary Edition (Hardcover)
A gorgeous edition of one of the most beloved classics of the twentieth century, published in celebration of W. W. Norton’s 100th anniversary.
This slim volume of letters from the poet and mystic, Rainer Maria Rilke, to a nineteen-year-old cadet and aspiring poet named Franz Xaver Kappus, has touched millions of readers since it was first published in English in 1934. The translator, Mary Dows Herter Norton—a polymath extraordinaire with expertise in music, literature, and science, and who, along with her husband, William Warder Norton, founded the company that bears his name—played a crucial role in elevating Rilke’s reputation in the English-speaking world.
This Norton Centenary Edition commemorates Norton, known as “Polly” to friends and colleagues, and the 100th anniversary of the publishing company she co-founded. An admiring foreword by Damion Searls—himself a recent translator of Rilke’s Letters—celebrates Polly’s stylistic achievement, and an afterword by Norton’s President, Julia A. Reidhead, honors her commitment to maintaining W. W. Norton & Company’s independence.
This handsome new edition of a beloved classic brings Rilke’s enduring wisdom about life, love, and art to a new generation, in the translation that first introduced him to the English-speaking world.
M.D.H. Norton (1894–1985) was cofounder of W. W. Norton & Company, now the oldest and largest publisher owned wholly by its employees.
Damion Searls is a prize-winning translator of fifty books from German, French, Norwegian, and Dutch. Liveright published his translation of Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet in 2020.
— Anne Enright - The Observer, "Books of the Year 2023"