JOHANN CHRISTIAN FRIEDRICH HöLDERLIN (German: ; 20 March 1770 – 7 June 1843) was a German lyric poet . Described by Norbert von Hellingrath as "the most German of Germans," Hölderlin was a key figure of German Romanticism . Particularly due to his early association with and philosophical influence on Hegel and Schelling , he was also an important thinker in the development of German Idealism .
Lauffen am Neckar
Hölderlin followed the tradition of Goethe and Schiller as an
Greek mythology and ancient poets such as
Sophocles , and melded Christian and Hellenic themes in his works.
* 1 Biography
* 1.1 Early life * 1.2 Education * 1.3 Career * 1.4 Mental breakdown * 1.5 Later life and death
* 2 Works
* 3 Dissemination and influence
* 3.1 Music * 3.2 Cinema
* 4 English translations * 5 Bibliography * 6 References * 7 Further reading * 8 External links
Friedrich Hölderlin's birthplace,
Lauffen am Neckar
In 1774, his mother moved the family to Nürtingen when she married Johann Christoph Gok. Two years later, Johann Gok became the burgomaster of Nürtingen, and Hölderlin's half-brother, Karl Christoph Friedrich Gok, was born. In 1779, Johann Gok died at the age of 30. Hölderlin later expressed how his childhood was scarred by grief and sorrow, writing in a 1799 correspondence with his mother:
When my second father died, whose love for me I shall never forget, when I felt, with an incomprehensible pain, my orphaned state and saw, each day, your grief and tears, it was then that my soul took on, for the first time, this heaviness that has never left and that could only grow more severe with the years.
Hölderlin began his education in 1776, and his mother planned for
him to join the Lutheran church. In preparation for entrance exams
into a monastery, he received additional instruction in Greek , Hebrew
In 1784, Hölderlin entered the Lower Monastery in Denkendorf and started his formal training for entry into the Lutheran ministry. At Denkendotf, he discovered the poetry of Friedrich Schiller and Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock , and took tentative steps in composing his own verses. The earliest known letter of Hölderlin's is dated 1784 and addressed to his former tutor Nathanael Köstlin. In the letter, Hölderlin hinted at his wavering faith in Christianity and anxiety about his mental state.
Hölderlin progressed to the Higher Monastery at
In October 1788, Hölderlin began his theological studies at the Tübinger Stift , where his fellow students included Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel , Isaac von Sinclair and Schelling. It has been speculated that it was Hölderlin who, during their time in Tübingen, brought to Hegel's attention the ideas of Heraclitus regarding the unity of opposites , which Hegel would later develop into his concept of dialectics . In 1789, Hölderlin broke off his engagement with Luise Nast, writing to her: "I wish you happiness if you choose one more worthy than me, and then surely you will understand that you could never have been happy with your morose, ill-humoured, and sickly friend," and expressed his desire to transfer out and study law but succumbed to pressure from his mother to remain in the Stift.
During his time in the Stift, Hölderlin was an enthusiastic supporter of the French Revolution ; he and some colleagues from a "republican club" planted a "Tree of Freedom" in the Tübingen market square, prompting Charles Eugene , the Duke of Württemberg himself, to admonish the students at the seminary.
After obtaining his magister degree in 1793, his mother expected him to enter the ministry. However, Hölderlin found no satisfaction in the prevailing Protestant theology, and worked instead as a private tutor. In 1794, he met Friedrich Schiller and Johann Wolfgang Goethe and began writing his epistolary novel Hyperion . In 1795 he enrolled for a while at the University of Jena where he attended Johann Gottlieb Fichte 's classes and met Novalis .
There is a seminal manuscript, dated 1797, now known as the Das älteste Systemprogramm des deutschen Idealismus ("The Oldest Systematic Program of German Idealism "). Although the document is in Hegel's handwriting, it is thought to have been written by either Hegel, Schelling, Hölderlin, or an unknown fourth person.
As a tutor in
Frankfurt am Main
In the late 1790s, Hölderlin was diagnosed as suffering from
schizophrenia , then referred to as "hypochondrias ", a condition that
would worsen after his last meeting with Susette Gontard in 1800.
After a sojourn in
At his home in
Nürtingen with his mother, a devout Christian,
Hölderlin melded his Hellenism with Christianity and sought to unite
ancient values with modern life; in Hölderlin's elegy Brod und Wein
("Bread and Wine"), Christ is seen as sequential to the Greek gods,
bringing bread from the earth and wine from
The clinic was attached to the University of
Tübingen and the poet
LATER LIFE AND DEATH
Sketch of Hölderlin by Luise Keller, 1842.
In the tower, Hölderlin continued to write poetry of a simplicity and formality quite unlike what he had been writing up to 1805. As time went on he became a minor tourist attraction and was visited by curious travelers and autograph-hunters. Often he would play the piano or spontaneously write short verses for such visitors, pure in versification but almost empty of affect—although a few of these (such as the famous Die Linien des Lebens ("The Lines of Life"), which he wrote out for his carer Zimmer on a piece of wood) have a piercing beauty and have been set to music by many composers.
Hölderlin's own family did not financially support him but petitioned successfully for his upkeep to be paid by the state. His mother and sister never visited him, and his stepbrother only once did so. His mother died in 1828: his sister and stepbrother quarreled over the inheritance, arguing that too large a share had been allotted to Hölderlin, and unsuccessfully tried to have the will overturned in court. Neither of them attended his funeral in 1843, nor had the friends of his childhood, Hegel and Schelling, had anything to do with him for years; the Zimmer family were his only mourners. His inheritance, including the patrimony left to him by his father when he was two, had been kept from him by his mother and was untouched and continually accruing interest. He died a rich man, but did not know it.
The poetry of Hölderlin, widely recognized today as one of the highest points of German literature , was little known or understood during his lifetime, and slipped into obscurity shortly after his death; his illness and reclusion made him fade from his contemporaries' consciousness – and, even though selections of his work were published by his friends during his lifetime, it was largely ignored for the rest of the 19th century. Hölderlin's autograph of the first three stanzas of his ode "Ermunterung" ("Exhortation")
Like Goethe and Schiller, his older contemporaries, Hölderlin was a
fervent admirer of ancient Greek culture, but for him the Greek gods
were not the plaster figures of conventional classicism, but living,
actual presences, wonderfully life-giving yet, at the same time,
terrifying. Much later,
Friedrich Nietzsche would recognize Hölderlin
as the poet who first acknowledged the Orphic and Dionysian Greece of
the mysteries , which he would fuse with the
Pietism of his native
In the great poems of his maturity, Hölderlin would generally adopt a large-scale, expansive and unrhymed style. Together with these long hymns, odes and elegies – which included "Der Archipelagus" ("The Archipelago"), "Brod und Wein" ("Bread and Wine") and "Patmos" – he also cultivated a crisper, more concise manner in epigrams and couplets, and in short poems like the famous "Hälfte des Lebens" ("The Middle of Life").
In the years after his return from
DISSEMINATION AND INFLUENCE
Hölderlin's major publication in his lifetime was his novel Hyperion , which was issued in two volumes (1797 and 1799). Various individual poems were published but attracted little attention. In 1799 he produced a periodical, Iduna.
In 1804, his translations of the dramas of
Sophocles were published
but were generally met with derision over their apparent artificiality
and difficulty, which according to his critics were caused by
transposing Greek idioms into German. However, 20th-century theorists
of translation such as
Wilhelm Waiblinger , who visited Hölderlin in his tower repeatedly in 1822–23 and depicted him in the protagonist of his novel Phaëthon, stated the necessity of issuing an edition of his poems, and the first collection of his poetry was released by Ludwig Uhland and C. T. Schwab in 1826. However, Uhland and Schwab omitted anything they suspected might be "touched by insanity", which included much of Hölderlin's fragmented works. A copy of this collection was given to Hölderlin, but later was stolen by an autograph-hunter. A second, enlarged edition with a biographical essay appeared in 1842, the year before Hölderlin's death.
Only in 1913 did
Norbert von Hellingrath , a member of a literary
circle around poet
Already in 1912, before the Berlin Edition began to appear, Rainer Maria Rilke composed his first two Duino Elegies whose form and spirit draw strongly on the hymns and elegies of Hölderlin. Rilke had met von Hellingrath a few years earlier and had seen some of the hymn drafts, and the Duino Elegies heralded the beginning of a new appreciation of Hölderlin's late work. Although his hymns can hardly be imitated, they have become a powerful influence on modern poetry in German and other languages, and are sometimes cited as the very crown of German lyric poetry. Hölderlin Monument in the Alter Botanischer Garten Tübingen .
The Berlin Edition was to some extent superseded by the Stuttgart Edition (Grosse Stuttgarter Ausgabe), which began to be published in 1943 and eventually saw completion in 1986. This undertaking was much more rigorous in textual criticism than the Berlin Edition and solved many issues of interpretation raised by Hölderlin's unfinished and undated texts (sometimes several versions of the same poem with major differences). Meanwhile, a third complete edition, the Frankfurt Critical Edition (Frankfurter Historisch-kritische Ausgabe), began publication in 1975 under the editorship of Dietrich Sattler .
Though Hölderlin's hymnic style—dependent as it is on a genuine
belief in the divine—creates a deeply personal fusion of Greek
mythic figures and romantic mysticism about nature, which can appear
both strange and enticing, his shorter and sometimes more fragmentary
poems have exerted wide influence too on later German poets, from
Georg Trakl onwards. He also had an influence on the poetry of Hermann
Hölderlin was also a thinker who wrote, fragmentarily, on poetic
theory and philosophical matters. His theoretical works, such as the
essays "Das Werden im Vergehen" ("Becoming in Dissolution") and
"Urteil und Sein" ("Judgement and Being") are insightful and important
if somewhat tortuous and difficult to parse. They raise many of the
key problems also addressed by his
Tübingen roommates Hegel and
Schelling, and, though his poetry was never "theory-driven", the
interpretation and exegesis of some of his more difficult poems has
given rise to profound philosophical speculation by thinkers such as
Hölderlin's poetry has inspired many composers, generating vocal music and instrumental music. Vocal music
One of the earliest settings of Hölderlin's poetry is Schicksalslied
Johannes Brahms , based on Hyperions Schicksalslied. Other
composers of Hölderlin settings include
Peter Cornelius , Hans
Richard Strauss (Drei Hymnen),
Max Reger ("An die Hoffnung
Alphons Diepenbrock (Die Nacht),
Walter Braunfels ("Der Tod fürs
Richard Wetz (Hyperion),
Josef Matthias Hauer , Hermann
Stefan Wolpe ,
Paul Hindemith ,
Wilhelm Killmayer based two song cycles, Hölderlin-Lieder, for tenor
and orchestra on Hölderlin's late poems;
The German progressive rock band Hoelderlin is named after Hölderlin, Finnish melodic death metal band Insomnium has set Hölderlin's verses to music in several of their songs, and many songs of Swedish alternative rock band ALPHA 60 also contain lyrical references to Hölderlin's poetry. Instrumental music
Robert Schumann 's late piano suite Gesänge der Frühe was inspired by Hölderlin, as was Luigi Nono 's string quartet Fragmente-Stille, an Diotima and parts of his opera Prometeo. Josef Matthias Hauer wrote many piano pieces inspired by individual lines of Hölderlin's poems. Paul Hindemith 's First Piano Sonata is influenced by Hölderlin's poem Der Main. Hans Werner Henze 's Seventh Symphony is partly inspired by Hölderlin.
* A 1981–82 television drama, Untertänigst Scardanelli (The Loyal
Scardanelli), directed by
Jonatan Briel in Berlin.
* The 1985 film Half of life is named after a poem of Hölderlin and
deals with the secret relationship between Hölderlin and Susette
* In 1986 and 1988, Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub shot two
films, Der Tod des Empedokles and Schwarze Sünde , in Sicily, which
were both based on the drama Empedokles (respectively for the two
films they used the first and third version of the text).
* German director Harald Bergmann has dedicated several works to
Hölderlin; these include the movies Lyrische Suite/Das untergehende
Vaterland (1992), Hölderlin Comics (1994), Scardanelli (2000) and
Passion Hölderlin (2003)
* A 2004 film, The Ister , is based on
* Some Poems of Friedrich Holderlin. Trans. Frederic Prokosch. (Norfolk, CT: New Directions, 1943). * Alcaic Poems. Trans. Elizabeth Henderson. (London: Wolf, 1962; New York: Unger, 1963). ISBN 0-85496-303-0 * Friedrich Hölderlin: Poems & Fragments. Trans. Michael Hamburger . (London: Routledge 4ed. London: Anvil Press, 2004). ISBN 0-85646-245-4 * Friedrich Hölderlin, Eduard Mörike: Selected Poems. Trans. Christopher Middleton (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1972). ISBN 0-226-34934-9 * Poems of Friedrich Holderlin: The Fire of the Gods Drives Us to Set Forth by Day and by Night. Trans. James Mitchell. (San Francisco: Hoddypodge, 1978; 2ed San Francisco: Ithuriel's Spear, 2004). ISBN 0-9749502-9-7 * Hymns and Fragments. Trans. Richard Sieburth . (Princeton: Princeton University, 1984). ISBN 0-691-01412-4 * Friedrich Hölderlin: Essays and Letters on Theory. Trans. Thomas Pfau . (Albany, NY: State University of New York, 1988). ISBN 0-88706-558-9 * Hyperion and Selected Poems. The German Library vol.22. Ed. Eric L. Santner . Trans. C. Middleton, R. Sieburth, M. Hamburger. (New York: Continuum, 1990). ISBN 0-8264-0334-4 * Friedrich Hölderlin: Selected Poems. Trans. David Constantine . (Newcastle upon Tyne: Bloodaxe, 1990; 2ed 1996) ISBN 1-85224-378-3 * Friedrich Hölderlin: Selected Poems and Fragments. Ed. Jeremy Adler . Trans. Michael Hamburger . (London: Penguin, 1996). ISBN 978-0-14-042416-4 * What I Own: Versions of Hölderlin and Mandelshtam. Trans. John Riley and Tim Longville. (Manchester: Carcanet, 1998). ISBN 1-85754-175-8 * Holderlin's Sophocles: Oedipus and Antigone. Trans. David Constantine. (Newcastle upon Tyne: Bloodaxe, 2001). ISBN 1-85224-543-3
* Odes and Elegies. Trans. Nick Hoff . (Middletown, CT: Wesleyan Press, 2008). ISBN 0-8195-6890-2 * Hyperion. Trans. Ross Benjamin . (Brooklyn, NY: Archipelago Books , 2008) ISBN 978-0-9793330-2-6 * Selected Poems of Friedrich Hölderlin. Trans. Maxine Chernoff and Paul Hoover . (Richmond, CA: Omnidawn, 2008). ISBN 978-1-890650-35-3 * Essays and Letters. Trans. Jeremy Adler and Charlie Louth. (London: Penguin, 2009). ISBN 978-0-14-044708-8 * The Death of Empedocles: A Mourning-Play. Trans. David Farrell Krell . (Albany, NY: State University of New York, 2009). ISBN 0-7914-7648-0
* INTERNATIONALE HöLDERLIN-BIBLIOGRAPHIE (IHB). Hrsg. vom
Hölderlin-Archiv der Württembergischen Landesbibliothek Stuttgart.
1804–1983. Bearb. Von Maria Kohler.
* ^ Warminski, Andrzej (1987). Readings in Interpretation: Hölderlin, Hegel, Heidegger. Theory and History of Literature. 26. U of Minnesota Press. p. 209. * ^ Beiser, Frederick C. , ed. (1993). The Cambridge Companion to Hegel. Cambridge University Press . p. 419. ISBN 1-13982495-3 . * ^ "Because of his small philosophical output, it is important to indicate in what way Hölderlin’s ideas have influenced his contemporaries and later thinkers. It was Hölderlin whose ideas showed Hegel that he could not continue to work on the applications of philosophy to politics without first addressing certain theoretical issues. In 1801, this led Hegel to move to Jena where he was to write the Phenomenology of Spirit.... Schelling’s early work amounts to a development of Hölderlin’s concept of Being in terms of a notion of a prior identity of thought and object in his Philosophy of Identity." Christian J. Onof, "Johann Christian Friedrich Hölderlin", Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Accessed 15 Jan 2011. * ^ "Hegel is completely dependent on Hölderlin – on his early efforts to grasp speculatively the course of human life and the unity of its conflicts, on the vividness with which Hölderlin's friends made his insight fully convincing, and also certainly on the integrity with which Hölderlin sought to use that insight to preserve his own inwardly torn life." Dieter Henrich, The Course of Remembrance and Other Essays on Hölderlin, Ed. Eckart Förster (Stanford: Stanford University, 1997) p. 139. * ^ "Indeed, the Pietistic Horizon extended for generations up to and including the time when Hegel, together with his friends Hölderlin and Schelling, spent quiet hours strolling along the banks of the Neckar