The Book of Hours: Prayers to a Lowly God


This is the first complete translation of Rainer Maria Rilke's Book of Hours in more than forty years. It provides English-speaking readers with access to a critical work in the development of the most significant figure in twentieth-century German poetry. A tripartite work comprising "The Book of the Monkish Life," "The Book of Pilgrimage," and "The Book of Poverty and Death," The Book of Hours is published here in a bilingual format, with the original German and the English translation on facing pages. Conveying an almost mystical conception of the relationship among God, man, and nature, The Book of Hours (Das Stunden-Buch, first published in 1905) is a series of intimate prayers written as if by a Russian monk turned painter-writings that bring to bear the profound influence of Rilke's journeys to Russia and Italy at the turn of the century. Annemarie S. Kidder's delicately nuanced translation preserves Rilke's uncomplicated and melodic flow, his rhythm, and, where possible, his rhyme while remaining true to content. Kidder's introduction and notes offer historical and interpretive background information, largely from Rilke's own diaries and correspondence, chronicling the influence of various geographical settings on the writing of The Book of Hours and illustrating Rilke's own spiritual quest. Also included are translated excerpts of an earlier manuscript of The Book of Hours, along with interpretations of the poetry.

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Evanston, IL
Publication year:
  • 2001


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.