Hoelderlin's Hymn "The Ister"

Hoelderlin's Hymn "The Ister"

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Martin Heidegger's 1942 lecture course interprets Friedrich Hoelderlin's hymn "The Ister" within the context of Hoelderlin's poetic and philosophical work, with particular emphasis on Hoelderlin's dialogue with Greek tragedy. Delivered in summer 1942 at the University of Freiburg, this course was first published in German in 1984 as volume 53 of Heidegger's Collected Works. Revealing for Heidegger's thought of the period are his discussions of the meaning of "the political" and "the national," in which he emphasizes the difficulty and the necessity of finding "one's own" in and through a dialogue with "the foreign." In this context Heidegger reflects on the nature of translation and interpretation. A detailed reading of the famous chorus from Sophocles' Antigone, known as the "ode to man," is a key feature of the course.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 200 pages
  • 155 x 235 x 16.51mm | 513g
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • Indiana Press
  • 0253330645
  • 9780253330642
  • 65,758

Table of contents

Translators' Foreword

Part One: Poetizing the Essence of the Rivers The Isther Hymn
1. The theme of the lecture course: remarks on Holderlin's hymnal poetry
2. Hymnal poetry as poetizing the essence of the rivers
3. The metaphysical interpretation of art
4. Holderlin's poetry as not concerned with images in a symbolic or metaphysical sense. The concealed essence of the river
5. The river as the locality of human abode
6. The rivers as "vanishing" and "full of intimation" in "voice of the People"
7. The river as the locality of journeying and the journeying of locality
8. The questionableness of the metaphysical representation of space and time
9. Becoming homely as the care of Holderlin's poetry-the encounter between the foreign and one's own as the fundamental truth of history-Holderlin's dialogue with Pindar and Sophocles

Part Two: The Greek Interpretation of Human Beings in Sophocles' Antigone
10. The human being: the uncanniest of the uncanny. (The entry song of the chorus of elders and the first stationary song)
11. The poetic dialogue between Holderlin and Sophocles
12. The meaning of (Explication of the commencement of the choral ode)
13. The uncanny as the ground of human beings. (Continued explication of
14. Further essential determinations of the human being
15. Continued explication of the essence of the
16. The expulsion of the human being as the most uncanny being. (The relation of the closing words to the introductory words of the choral song)
17. The introductory dialogue between Antigone and Ismene
18. The hearth as being. (Renewed meditation on the commencement of the choral ode and on the closing words)
19. Continued discussion of the hearth as being
20. Becoming homely in being unhomely-the ambiguity of being unhomely. The truth of the choral ode as the innermost middle of the tragedy.

Part Three: Holderlin's Poetizing of the Essence of The Poet as Demigod
21. Holderlin's river poetry and the choral ode from Sophocles-a historical becoming homely in each case
22. The historically grounding spirit. Explication of the lines: "namely at home is spirit not at the commencement, not at the source. The home consumes it. Colony, and bold forgetting spirit loves. Our flowers and the shades of our woods gladden the one who languishes. The besouler would almost be scorched"
23. Poetizing the essence of poetry-the poetic spirit as the spirit of the river. The holy as that which is to be poetized
24. The rivers as the poets who found the poetic, upon whose ground human beings dwell
25. The poet as the enigmatic "sign" who lets appear that which is to be shown. The holy as the fire that ignites the poet. The meaning of naming the gods.
26. Poetizing founding builds the stairs upon which the heavenly descend

Concluding Remark-"Is There a Measure on Earth?
Editor's Epilogue
Translators' Notes
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Review quote

Heidegger's reading of 'The Ister' is thoughtful and rich. It provides his readers with the tools to build on his interpretation and to correct any missteps without doing violence to the whole. * Review of Metaphysics *
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About Martin Heidegger

William McNeill is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at DePaul University and translator (with Nicholas Walker) of The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics: World, Finitude, Solitude by Martin Heidegger.

Julia Davis is Research Associate at Whitman College and former Fulbright Fellow at Freiburg University.
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Rating details

77 ratings
4.25 out of 5 stars
5 49% (38)
4 32% (25)
3 13% (10)
2 4% (3)
1 1% (1)
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