The Course of Remembrance and Other Essays on Hoelderlin

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Friedrich Hoelderlin (1770-1843) has long been recognized as one of the greatest poets of the German language, but his importance to philosophy has surfaced only comparatively recently. Although Schelling and Hegel acknowledged Hoelderlin early on as their equal, for a long time his philosophical thought remained unknown outside the small circle of his friends. Among the most prominent figures in the rediscovery of Hoelderlin's thought is Dieter Henrich, who, in a series of highly influential studies over the last thirty years, has shown that Hoelderlin played a decisive role in the development of philosophy from Kant to Hegel, and hence in the formation of German Idealism. Among other things, Henrich demonstrated that Hoelderlin, while still a student, launched a powerful critique of Fichte's Wissenschaftslehre and outlined an alternative to the dominant view of the foundation of philosophy. This alternative proved pathbreaking for his philosophical friends, forcing Hegel, for example, to abandon his own Kantianism and, eventually, to give systematic articulation to a position that went even beyond Hoelderlin's. This volume includes six of Henrich's most important essays on Hoelderlin's philosophical significance. Among the topics discussed are Hoelderlin's motivation and methodological orientation in his work on German Idealism, the intellectual atmosphere of Hoelderlin's student years and the philosophical problems that occupied him, Hoelderlin's attitude toward any first-principle philosophy, and the complex personal and philosophical relationships between Hegel and Hoelderlin. The last essay is a long, detailed interpretation of one of Hoelderlin's greatest poems, Remembrance. In elucidating its lyric composition and structure, Henrich also seeks to show how it incorporates and develops Hoelderlin's philosophical thought.