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Hyperion. by Friedrich Hölderlin. Translated from German by Ross Benjamin Hyperion is a novel of stirring lyricism, philosophical sublimity, and historic. His novel Hyperion illustrates this struggle and how the integration of these two Johann Christian Friedrich Hölderlin is well known as a key figure of German. This is my review of Friedrich Hölderlin’s only novel, Hyperion or The Hermit in Greece. The review first appeared in the Temenos Academy.

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His novel Hyperion illustrates this struggle and how the integration of these two principles is set as a holferlin for life. It is of great importance, however, both for an understanding of the development of German Idealism and in relation to contemporary philosophical issues. On the one hand, there has been a hyprrion growth of scholarship in the philosophy that marks the transition from Kant to Yolderlin, chiefly through philosophers such as Dieter Henrich and Manfred Frank.

He studied theology and was originally destined for hyerion career in the Lutheran church. She was to be the inspiration behind the Diotima of his novel Hyperion. The emotional upheaval caused by the end of the impossible liaison with Susette had a detrimental effect on his health.

Inafter his disillusionment with philosophy that led him to abandon any plans to find an academic position, he spent a year recovering in Switzerland and decided uolderlin devote the rest of his life to writing poetry.

Treatment enabled him to continue writing at intervals while working as a librarian in Homburg until when he became insane though harmless. The first principle of this philosophy expressed a relation of the I to itself: Against any such grounding attempts, the circle of Jena philosophers around Niethammer claimed, in line with earlier criticism of Kant by Jacobi, that such an enterprise was flawed in principle; since any principle requires justification beyond itself, an infinite regress ensues.

To understand these, we must turn to moral philosophy.

Schiller claimed that a harmony of duty and inclination represented the highest ideal of morality, while Kant found inclinations to be worthless. Indeed, it implies a purported reconciliation between the sublimity that attaches to the dutiful agent who, in his freedom, places the moral law above all inclinations, and the beauty of a harmony of inclinations and duty.

Being In and Above: on Friedrich Hölderlin’s ‘Hyperion’ | Martyn Crucefix

Since the moral law, however, requires hodlerlin the agent act out of duty holedrlin of what inclines her, this is hardly compatible with an ideal of harmony between duty and inclinations. As a result of the tension between the freedom of the moral agent and this ideal of harmony, the cogency of the proposed moral value of the beautiful soul becomes questionable.


Rather, it becomes something we strive towards with our freedom. Fichte had proposed to ground philosophy on the pure relation of the I to itself. However, Fichte does not draw all the consequences from this observation. An original unity of subject and object in Being is what underpins their separation in judgment.

It is only known as the original unity that underpins all judgments. It, therefore, functions as a postulated ground rather than as a first principle. In terms of the understanding of the self, there are two types of self-awareness. In one sense, when I reflect upon myself, I am distinct from the object of my awareness. In another, I must understand myself as belonging to an original pre-reflective unity. The first provides the ground for the freedom of the I to raise itself above anything that is given in the empirical world.

Johann Christian Friedrich Hölderlin (1770—1843)

The second provides the self with an ideal of unity characterised by a belonging to Being. The latter takes us away from the original unity while being grounded in it. The original unity which Hyperion was, from the outset, keen to recapture, is understood in different ways by Hyperion at different stages of his life. Ultimately, he will realize that none of these is satisfactory, but hypperion they represented ways of approaching that which is the underlying unity, i.

Being, throughout the course of his life.

These different representations of unity are of ancient Greece also reflected in childhoodof modern Greece liberated from Turkish rule, and of aesthetic beauty. This trilogy is not random but corresponds to different temporal understandings of the idea of the fundamental unity of Being. Each way of life is exemplified by a character with whom Hyperion is connected, respectively through a master-pupil relationship Adamasfriendship Alabanda and love Diotima.

In each case, Hyperion attempts to fully adopt the corresponding way of being only to find its limitations and be confronted with the need to move on.

After leaving home and learning about the world, his encounter with Alabanda is that of a soul-mate who has fought his way to freedom. Through this experience, Hyperion grasps something of the conflictual nature of human life: However, it is by encountering beauty in the person and life of Diotima Book II of Volume I that Hyperion believes he has found what he is looking for, i.

He must go out and bring beauty to those places where it is lacking. Nonetheless, as they finally enter the town, they go on a]rampage, pillaging and killing indiscriminately. This leads to the death of forty Russian soldiers who stood alone fighting the common foe. In letters to Bellarmin, we discover more details of the battles fought by Hyperion and Alabanda.


In a letter from Diotima that arrives later, it emerges that she lost her will to live as her lover did not return, and she finally let herself die.

Rather, it became something to aim for, something Diotima thought Hyperion could achieve for her: At the end of the novel, however, the beauty of Nature once again fills Hyperion with joy, and this poetic sense of oneness reaches beyond separation and death to Alabanda and Diotima.

Somehow, he has made some sense of his experiences. Thus, after all these tragedies, an overall feeling of unity prevails: Wie alt und neu ist unsere Liebe! However, the last words of the novel suggest an open ending: This seems to point to new experiences and the possibility of revisiting his interpretation of his life thus far.

Hyperion hints at this when he complains about the Germans: After the Jena period, he finally followed the advice his friend Schiller had given him in and never returned to philosophical argumentation, rather seeking to show something of the holderrlin unity of Being in poetic form.

According to this theory, there are three fundamental poetic tones: A tone, however, cannot be expressed in its pure form but only through a tension with its medium, a tension created by the work of art. Inthis led Hegel to move to Jena where he was hyperiln write the Phenomenology of Spirit. This philosophy apparently makes knowledge of the Absolute i.

In Being and TimeHeidegger first introduces his key idea of the forgetting of the question of Being. His later thought develops this idea which leads to the thought that poetry announces a new clearing of Being. For Heidegger, poetry cannot name the unnameable, but it can keep open the space for it Heidegger, The Self and Human Life In terms of the understanding of the self, there are two types of self-awareness.

References and Further Reading Adorno, T. Miller, Oxford University PressOxford. Hoeller, Humanity BooksNew York.

HolferlinContinuumNew York. BowieCambridge University PressCambridge. WilloughbyClarendon PressOxford. Author Information Christian J. An encyclopedia of philosophy articles written by professional philosophers.