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Breathing in Verse

Theodore Ziolkowski: A rich translation of Hölderlin, 23 September 2004

Poems and Fragments 
by Friedrich Hölderlin, translated by Michael Hamburger.
Anvil, 823 pp., £19.95, March 2004, 0 85646 360 4
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... Friedrich Hölderlin was rescued from oblivion by a young German scholar called Norbert von Hellingrath, who wrote a dissertation on Hölderlin’s translations of Pindar and began the first historical-critical edition of his works. In 1915, a year before he died at Verdun, Hellingrath delivered a lecture describing Hölderlin as ‘the most German of Germans’, whose luminous hymns confide their message ‘only to the select few’ and remain ‘perhaps never penetrable to non-Germans ...

‘Famous for its Sausages’

David Blackbourn, 2 January 1997

The Politics of the Unpolitical: German Writers and the Problem of Power, 1770-1871 
by Gordon A. Craig.
Oxford, 190 pp., £22.50, July 1995, 0 19 509499 9
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... Poor in deeds and rich in thoughts’ – that was Friedrich Hölderlin’s lament about his fellow Germans two hundred years ago. In one form or another the idea became familiar. Germany in the 19th century acquired a reputation as the land of poets and thinkers (the phrase was coined by Jean Paul), something that foreign observers viewed with a mixture of condescension and respect ...

Hegel’s Odyssey

Geoffrey Hawthorn, 3 October 1985

Hegel: The Letters 
translated by Clark Butler and Christine Seiler.
Indiana, 740 pp., $47.50, January 1985, 0 253 32715 6
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... well, we just ate with the most famous of modern philosophers – Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel.’ Hegel was certainly a celebrity. One of his reasons for being away then from Berlin was that in the previous August he’d been given a birthday party in the new Unter den Linden restaurant so extravagant as to cause the papers to devote more ...

Half-Finished People

Thomas Meaney: Germany Imagines Hellas, 11 October 2012

The Tyranny of Greece over Germany 
by E.M. Butler.
Cambridge, 351 pp., £23.99, March 2012, 978 1 107 69764 5
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... tweaked their ideal of Ancient Greece over time. The version of Greece that Schiller, Goethe and Hölderlin worshipped was imaginary, and they seemed to have avoided visiting the country for fear of tarnishing their ideal. Few Germans of intellectual consequence visited Greece in the 18th or 19th centuries – not during the Greek War of Independence, or in ...

Baffled Traveller

Jonathan Rée: Hegel, 30 November 2000

Hegel: An Intellectual Biography 
by Horst Althaus, translated by Michael Tarsh.
Polity, 292 pp., £45, May 2000, 0 7456 1781 6
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Hegel: Biographie 
by Jacques D'Hondt.
Calmann-Lévy, 424 pp., frs 150, October 1998, 2 7021 2919 6
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... belonged to them. Before long August and Caroline Schlegel also settled in Jena, followed by Friedrich and Dorothea Schlegel. Then Hölderlin arrived, and in 1798 his brilliant young friend Schelling – a 23-year-old professor with an irresistible sulky pout. Together they formed ‘an eternal concert of ...

Slow Deconstruction

David Bromwich, 7 October 1993

Romanticism and Contemporary Criticism: The Gauss Seminars and Other Papers 
by Paul de Man, edited by E.S. Burt, Kevin Newmark and Andrzej Warminski.
Johns Hopkins, 212 pp., £21.50, March 1993, 0 8018 4461 4
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Serenity in Crisis: A Preface to Paul de Man 1939-1960 
by Ortwin de Graef.
Nebraska, 240 pp., £29.95, January 1993, 0 8032 1694 7
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... of Heidegger – a debt that was plainly acknowledged, and formative for de Man’s thinking about Hölderlin. He was not drawn to ‘dwelling’ or Being or any other marker of serenity apart from ‘crisis’; he argued in a series of essays that the attraction of such gestures for Hölderlin had been greatly exaggerated ...

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