Johann Christian Friedrich Hölderlin

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Hölderlin, Johann Christian Friedrich


Born Mar. 20, 1770, in Lauffen; died June 7, 1843, in Tübingen. German poet.

Hölderlin studied theology at Tübingen (1788-93) at the same time as Hegel and Schelling. From 1794 to 1795 he lived in Jena, where he heard lectures by Fichte and became acquainted with Schiller and Goethe. The position of impoverished tutor and especially his unrequited love for Susette Gontard, the wife of a banker and the Diotima of his poetry, drastically affected the poet’s state of mind. However, Hölderlin continued to work on his poetry and translations. He was put in a psychiatric hospital in 1806.

A late representative of the Strum und Drang in the 1780’s (for example, the poems “The Laurel Wreath” and “Gustavus Adolphus”), at the beginning of the Great French Revolution Hölderlin created poetry imbued with civic awareness. In Hymns to the Ideals of Mankind (1790-97)— models of revolutionary enlightened classicism—Hölderlin expressed the aspiration to struggle for the triumph of freedom. The hope that the Great French Revolution would become a source of progressive changes in feudally fragmented Germany was lost for the poet following the events of Thermidor. In the mid-1790’s, Hölderlin turned to a pantheistic cult of nature influenced by Rousseau (“To Nature”) and sought a philosophical understanding of the contradictions of postrevolutionary reality (“Song of the Fate of Hyperion,” “Man,” “Vanini,” and “The Voice of the People”). A humanistic utopia in the spirit of Hellas became his ideal (“Diotima,” “Menon’s Lament for Diotima,” and “Archipelago”). At the turn of the century an elegiac tone, images of love and suffering, and motifs of hopeless loneliness appeared in Hölderlin’s poetry. His heroes—romantic rebels in the lyric novel Hyperion, or a Hermit in Greece (1797-99) and the tragedy The Death of Empedocles (1798-99; Russian translation, 1931)—meet tragic fates.

An innovator in poetry, Hölderlin influenced 20th-century German poetry. Elements of mysticism, which appeared in his later poetry, were used by bourgeois critics to distort his creative outlook. Soviet literary scholars and scholars in the German Democratic Republic have shown that Hölderlin’s work is transitional between the Enlightenment and progressive romanticism.


Sämtliche Werke, vols. 1-6. Stuttgart, 1946-61. In Russian translation: Sochineniia. Moscow, 1969.


Lunacharskii, A. V. “Sotsiologiia i patologiia v istorii literatury.” Literaturnyi kritik, 1935, no. 12.
Berkovskii, N. la. “F. Gel’derlin.” Voprosy literatury, 1962, no. 1.
Becher, J. R. Über Literatur und Kunst. Berlin, 1962. Pages 865-71.
Leonhard, R. “Foreword.” In Hölderlin, J., Ein Lesebuch für unsere Zeit. Weimar, 1956. Pages 7-56.
Michel, W. Das Leben F. Hölderlins. Frankfurt am Main [1967].


References in periodicals archive ?
21) Friedrich Holderlin, Poems and Fragments, trans.
Schmidt and Kathleen Wright; an essay on unpublished notes by Friedrich Holderlin, with references to Heidegger's philosophy by David Farrell Krell; and a general introduction to the volume by one of its editors, John McCumber.
Per quanto concerne la tradizione piu strettamente letteraria, esplicitano richiami a opere di Gabriele D'Annunzio, Friedrich Holderlin, Dante, Shakespeare e altri.
Similarly, good intentions can lead to undesirable consequences: as Friedrich Holderlin wrote, "What has always made the state a hell on earth has been precisely that man has tried to make it his heaven.
Friedrich Holderlin, Essays and Letters on Theory [section 2A, above: 1988].
In a project in which I am studying the nature of poets' corpuses--whether the corpus, in distinction from the individual work, exhibits certain features that change over time--I was putting together a table of words to represent the corpus of Friedrich Holderlin, one of the great German Romantic poets.
Angioletti's art has always had its origins in physically decisive elements: Previous works were sired specifically in the underground vaults of the city of Milan (in Il paradigma indiziario [The Circumstantial Paradigm], 2009, produced by the Care of nonprofit art space in Milan) or the tower in Tubingen, the last place where the German poet Friedrich Holderlin lived (in Aussicht [Prospect], 2007); now, for instance, a treatise on detective novels by Siegfried Kracauer is the basis for 6 S.
Friedrich Holderlin and Eduard Morike, Selected Poems.
And there was Friedrich Holderlin and, most importantly, Rainer Maria Rilke, whose novels and poetry take up the innermost precincts of Gass's very own Temple of Texts.
These days, Syberberg asserts, nobody would create a major work of art about a river, the way Richard Wagner or Friedrich Holderlin did.
Poetry, according to Friedrich Holderlin, this bard of loneliness, is the most innocent of all occupations.