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Hölderlin and the Poetry of Tragedy

Readings in Sophocles, Shakespeare, Nietzsche and Benjamin

Jeremy Tambling is Professor of Literature at the University of Manchester. His most recent books are On Reading the Will: Law and Desire in Literature and Music (Sussex Academic Press 2012), and Literature and Psychoanalysis (Manchester University Press 2013).


Hölderlin (1770–1843) is the magnificent writer whom Nietzsche called 'my favourite poet'. His writings and poetry have been formative throughout the twentieth century, and as influential as those of Hegel, his friend. At the same time, his madness has made his poetry infinitely complex as it engages with tragedy, and irreconcilable breakdown, both political and personal, with anger and with mourning.

This study gives a detailed approach to Hölderlin's writings on Greek tragedy, especially Sophocles, whom he translated into German, and gives close attention to his poetry, which is never far from an engagement with tragedy. Hölderlin's writings, always fascinating, enable a consideration of the various meanings of tragedy, and provide a new reading of Shakespeare, particularly Julius Caesar, Hamlet and Macbeth; the work proceeds by opening into discussion of Nietzsche, especially The Birth of Tragedy. Since Hölderlin was such a decisive figure for Modernism, to say nothing of modern Germany, he matters intensely to such differing theorists and philosophers as Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, Martin Heidegger, Maurice Blanchot and Jacques Derrida, all of whose views are discussed herein.

Drawing upon the insights of Hegelian philosophy and psychoanalysis, Hölderlin and the Poetry of Tragedy gives the English-speaking reader ready access to a magnificent body of poetry and to the poet as a theorist of tragedy and of madness. Hölderlin's poetry is quoted freely, with translations and commentary provided. This book is the first major account of Hölderlin in English to offer the student and general reader a critical account of a vital body of work which matters to any study of poetry and to all who are interested in poetry's relationships to madness. It is essential reading in the understanding of how tragedy pervades literature and politics, and how tragedy has been regarded and written about, from Hegel to Walter Benjamin.


Hardback ISBN: 978-1-84519-587-8
Hardback Price: £65.00 / $79.95
Release Date: February 2014
   
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-84519-709-4
Paperback Price: £27.50 / $39.95
Release Date: February 2015
   
Page Extent / Format: 272 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No
   

e-Book



Notes on Hölderlin’s texts, and other Abbreviations
Acknowledgements

Introduction: Hölderlin’s Nachtgesänge

Chapter 1: The Voyage Out: Going Astray

I  -  BIOGRAPHY
II – THE CAESURA 
III – ‘ANDENKEN’

Chapter 2: Tragedy and Trauerspiel: Madness and Mourning

I – TRAGEDY AND MADNESS
II – ‘MNEMOSYNE’ AND THE BACCHAE
III – AJAX

Chapter 3: Hölderlin and Greece

I – HYPERION
II – HÖLDERLIN ON TRAGEDY
III – EMPEDOCLES: THIRD VERSION

Chapter 4: Elegies, Odes, Hymns and Aphorisms

I – ‘BROD UND WEIN’
II – ‘DICHTERBERUF’
III – ‘WIE WENN AM FEIERTAGE’
IV –‘PATMOS’
V – ‘DER RHEIN’ AND ‘IN LIEBLICHER BLÄUE’
VI – ‘WENN ABER DIE HIMMLISCHEN’

Chapter 5: Tuché and Automaton: Hölderlin and Oedipus

I – HÖLDERLIN ON OEDIPUS
II – CHANCE ENCOUNTERS

Chapter 6 : Antigone

I – POST-HEGELIAN READINGS
II – HEIDEGGER AND TRANSLATION
III – LACAN: ANTIGONE 
IV – HÖLDERLIN’S ANTIGONE
V – APPENDIX: OEDIPUS AT COLONUS           

Chapter 7: Nietzsche, Tragedy, Shakespeare

I – THE BIRTH OF TRAGEDY
II – ‘DIE TITANEN’ AND ‘DER EINZIGE’
III – ON THE GENIUS

Chapter 8: The Origin of German Tragic Drama

Conclusion: ‘Friedensfeier’

Bibliography
Index


This study offers a critical reading of Hölderlin and brings forward the importance of this Romantic poet, who resides in the shadow of the better known Goethe, Schiller, and Kleist. The author examines individual poems and looks as well at the theme of tragedy in connection with the four named in the subtitle. He also connects Hölderlin with the critical theory that has shaped modernism and brings in Heidegger, Adorno, parataxis and translation, the caesura, and madness. Protoview.com


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