Sunday, September 4, 2016

Friedrich Hölderlin and the German Romanticism

Friedrich Hölderlin (1770-1843)
On March 20, 1770, major German lyric poet of Romanticism, Friedrich Hölderlin was born. Hölderlin was also an important thinker in the development of German Idealism, particularly his early association with and philosophical influence on his seminary roommates Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling. 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 was largely ignored for the rest of the 19th century.

Friedrich Hölderlin was born in Lauffen am Neckar in the Duchy of Württemberg, where he was brought up by his mother, because his father, the manager of a church estate, already died when the boy was only two years old. In 1774, Hölderlin's mother Johanna Christina Hölderlin, then aged 26, married the counselor Gock, mayor of Nürtingen, who died when he was nine. Friedrich Hölderlin was raised by his twice-widowed mother in a religious environment. After visiting school in Denkendorf and Maulbronn, Hölderlin studied theology at the Tübinger Stift, where his fellow-students included Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling, who would become important figures of German idealism philosophy.

Hölderlin came to Jena in 1794, after Johann Gottlob Fichte had taken over the chair of philosophy there and whose classes Hölderlin attended eagerly. During that period, Hölderlin was a staunch supporter of the French Revolution, which was seen by many German intellectuals as a source of hope for the future. Hölderlin found a position as a private tutor. At the same time Hölderlin also met Friedrich Schiller and Johann Wolfgang Goethe and began writing his epistolary novel Hyperion, which should become his masterpiece. Hölderlin’s ethical views emphasize an understanding of life as torn between two principles: a hankering after this original unity and freedom’s desire to constantly assert itself. His novel Hyperion illustrates this struggle and how the integration of these two principles is set as a goal for life.

Hölderlin's autograph of the first 3 stanzas of
his ode "Ermunterung" ("Exhortation")
As a tutor in Frankfurt from 1796 to 1798 he fell in love with Susette Gontard, the wife of his employer. The feeling was mutual, and this relationship was the most important in Hölderlin's life, who addressed Susette in his poetry under the name of 'Diotima'. Their affair was discovered and Hölderlin was harshly dismissed. The emotional upheaval caused by the end of the impossible liaison with Susette had a detrimental effect on his health. In 1800, after 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 to devote the rest of his life to writing poetry. In 1802, the news of Susette’s death, however, drove him to near insanity. Meanwhile, Hölderlin had found a sinecure as court librarian in his hometown Nürtingen. Treatment enabled him to continue writing at intervals while working as a librarian in Homburg until 1807 when he became insane (though harmless).

The following year Hölderlin was discharged as incurable and given three years to live, but was taken in by the carpenter Ernst Zimmer (a cultured man, who had read Hyperion) and given a room in his house in Tübingen, which had been a tower in the old city wall, with a view across the Neckar river and meadows. Zimmer and his family cared for Hölderlin until his death in 1843. 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 kind of 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, confining himself to conventional subjects such as Greece, the Seasons, or The Spirit of the Times, pure in versification but almost empty of affect, although a few of these have a piercing beauty and have been set to music by many composers.
What is all that men have done and thought over thousands of years, compared with one moment of love. But in all Nature, too, it is what is nearest to perfection, what is most divinely beautiful! There all stairs lead from the threshold of life. From there we come, to there we go. (Friedrich Hölderlin, from 'Hyperion')
At yovisto you can learn more about Friedrich Hölderlin and his philosophical thinking in the presentation of Prof. Richard Capobianco on "Heidegger on Hölderlin's 'Nature Gleaming'".

References and Further Reading:

El Barón Rojo y su relación con Monterrey

El conde Carl Friedrich Erich Graf Von Holck nació en Monterrey el 5 de Febrero de 1886, sus padres nobles alemanes radicaban en Monterrey desde 1870, año en que aprovechando la bonanza industrial de nuestro terruño fundaron la casa Holck vigente hasta nuestros días.
El Conde Holck paso su infancia en Monterrey, pero radicaba en Alemania cuando estallo la 1ª guerra mundial, por lo que se integra como voluntario al servicio aéreo imperial alemán, donde entablaría amistad con su compañero Manfred Von Ritchtofen el que llegaría a ser el mas celebre y temido piloto de combate de esa guerra, mejor conocido como el ”Barón rojo”estas son de esas historias dignas y olvidadas por el tiempo! pero aqui la recordaremos siempre en Monterrey Antiguo.

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The Red Baron Name Mystery:
During his brief 25-year lifetime, the German flying ace Manfred von Richthofen was never known as the “Red Baron.” That English moniker only came about later. As late as 1927, a book by Floyd Gibbons about the baron’s World War I exploits was entitled The Red Knight of Germany, not “The Red Baron.” Gibbons never uses the term “Red Baron” in his 383-page book. The nickname comes from Richthofen’s title of nobility, Freiherr, or baron. Just how and when the nickname came about is a mystery.