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. How does Rilke suggest one knows if one should not be a poet?

2. In the first letter the young poet sent to Rilke along with his poems, what does he ask of Rilke?

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

4. Whose ideas about sex does Rilke advise the young poet to avoid subscribing to?

5. In the fourth letter, who does Rilke say is more similar than people think?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does Rilke mean when, in letter four, he says that the intellect "lags marveling behind" the consciousness?

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

3. What does Rilke mean when he tells the young poet in the first letter that the poet's work has "no individual style"?

4. What does Rilke mean when, in the fourth letter, he tells the young poet to "live" his unanswered questions?

5. What does Rilke imply about irony?

6. What does Rilke mean when in letter three he says his books "no longer belong to me"?

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

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

9. What does Rilke mean when, in letter four, he says that physical pleasure is not bad, but that physical pleasure is often "misuse[d] and squander[ed]"?

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

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

In what ways does Rilke present artistic and personal development as inextricable? Why are they inextricable? Are there any contradictions in this interconnectedness?

Essay Topic 2

In what ways can Rilke's tenth letter be viewed as a sendoff of sorts to the young poet?

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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