First Advisor

Franz Langhammer

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in German






Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926), Art nouveau



Physical Description

1 online resource (261 pages)


A review of the secondary literature written on Rilke’s poetry reveals that his earliest work has scarcely been dealt with. This fact is not astounding considering that the poet found literary acclaim only in his more mature period. In those cases, however, in which Rilke’s first poetry has been examined, it is approached outside the context of later developments. This paper is based on the thesis that a vital continuous thread which begins with Jugendstil and extends into his most mature poetry, runs through Rilke’s work as regards life style and art theory. Many of his most typical symbols - and he is a representative of the Symbolist movement -can be traced back to Jugendstil Angel, Love, Dancer and Death, for example. A thorough analysis of Rilke’s poetry cannot be undertaken without consideration of his early dependence upon Jugendstil especially because such symbols are newly interpreted Jugendstil themes. The aim of this paper is therefore the exploration of this dependence as exemplified in Rilke's early poetry, thus providing a basis from which a comprehensive interpretation of Rilke's person and work can be realized.

As to the method of investigation: In order to show what exactly made Rilke a Jugendstil poet it was necessary to extend the subject matter examined to include not only his poetry and essays, but also statements made by him in letters and diaries and statements made about him by his acquaintances and to relate these to the cultural and intellectual history of the turn of the century and the Jugendstil tradition.


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This thesis is written in German

Persistent Identifier