The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge was Rainer Maria Rilke's only novel. It was written while Rilke lived in Paris, and was published in 1910. The novel is semi-autobiographical, and is written in an expressionistic style. The work was inspired by Sigbjørn Obstfelder's work A Priest's Diary and Jens Peter Jacobsen's second novel Niels Lyhne of 1880, which traces the fate of an atheist in a merciless world. The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge addresses existential themes - the quest for individuality, the significance of death, and reflection on the experience of time as death approaches. Heavily influenced by the writings of Nietzsche, Rilke also incorporated the impressionistic techniques of artists such as Rodin and Cézanne. Using these techniques, Rilke conjures up images of the industrial revolution and the age of scientific progress that are suffused with anxiety and alienation.
The book was first issued in English under the title Journal of My Other Self.