The Book of Hours

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For the liturgical books, see Book of hours.
Title page from the 1918 edition of Rilke's The Book of Hours (Das Stunden-Buch), first published in 1905.

The Book of Hours (German: Das Stunden-Buch) is a collection of poetry by the Bohemian-Austrian poet and novelist Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926). It was first published in April 1905.

It consists of three cycles with common themes relating to St. Francis and the Christian search for God.[1]


  • The Book of Monastic Life (Das Buch vom mönchischen Leben)
  • The Book of Pilgrimage (Das Buch von der Pilgerschaft)
  • The Book of Poverty and Death (Das Buch von der Armut und vom Tode)

Writing process[edit]

The first cycle, The Book of Monastic Life, was initially titled "Die Gebete", which means "The prayers". It was written in 1899, following a journey to Russia. The Book of Pilgrimage was finished in 1901, the year Rilke got married and became the father of a daughter. The Book of Poverty and Death was written in 1903. The collective title comes from the book of hours, a type of illuminated breviary popular in France in the later Middle Ages.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Freedman, Ralph (2001). "Das Stunden-Buch and Das Buch der Bilder: Harbingers of Rilke's Maturity". In Metzger, Erika A.; Metzger, Michael M. A Companion to the Works of Rainer Maria Rilke. Rochester, New York: Camden House Publishing. pp. 90–127. ISBN 1-57113-052-7. Retrieved 2012-03-01.