Letters to a Young Poet Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What is Rilke's salutation at the end of the first letter?

2. What has brought Rilke to the place from where he writes the second letter?

3. In what year does Rilke write the fourth letter?

4. What does Rilke call himself in relation to the young poet at the end of the first letter?

5. Rilke indicates that in the future, men and women will approach each other differently than they do at the time of his writing. How will they approach each other?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does Rilke say about the reading and re-reading of works by Jens Peter Jacobsen?

2. What does Rilke claim is more permanent than human life?

3. What does Rilke mean when, in the first letter, he suggests that critical commentary on art results in "happy misunderstandings"?

4. In letter four, Rilke says that "everything that may some day be possible to many the solitary man can now prepare and build with his hands, that err less." What does this mean?

5. What do letters two and three suggest about the young poet's interest in Rilke's advice?

6. Rilke tells the young poet in the first letter that the only way for the poet to improve his writing is to "go into yourself". What does this mean?

7. Rilke places emphasis on the importance of solitude. Why is solitude so important?

8. How does Rilke advise the young poet to approach works of art?

9. What are Rilke's views on aesthetic criticism?

10. What can the reader infer about the content of the first letter the young poet wrote to Rilke from reading Rilke's response?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Explain to what extent the young poet seems to have followed Rilke's advice and how it seems he develops over the course of his correspondence with Rilke.

Essay Topic 2

What would the artistic and academic worlds be like without aesthetic criticism, as it seems Rilke would have it? Is Rilke able to reject the idea of aesthetic criticism only because he is an artist himself?

Essay Topic 3

Compare and contrast the advice Rilke presents to the young poet and the way Rilke takes his own advice based on research into Rilke's life.

(see the answer keys)

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