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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The review first appeared in the Temenos Academy Review No. The translation I am discussing is a very recent one by India Russell which was published by Melrose Books in It does not deliver what a novel reader might expect in terms of characterisation, suspense or specificity of incident though its retrospective narrative is cleverly designed.
It is best read as a doorway to the more metaphysical thought that underpins the later poetry. Artisans you see, but no human beings, thinkers, but no human beings, priests, but no human beings […] — is hyperin not like a battlefield, where hands and arms and all limbs lie dismembered amongst one another, whilst the shed life-blood runs away into the sand?
Hyperion is an epistolary novel, the narrator writing from his native Greece to a friend, Bellarmin, who lives in Germany. It is here he meets and falls huperion love with the young woman, Diotima.
Holderlin, J. C. F. | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Called back to action in the world, he fights the Turkish forces occupying Greece and later fights alongside Russian troops. He is defeated and wounded, then travels to Sicily, thence to Germany, befriending Bellarmin. Importantly, though no significant external events intervene, we perceive a difference between the Hyperion of letter one and the man writing the final words of the novel.
As the novel opens, it is especially in relation to the natural world that Hyperion feels this alienation, though the limits of his current understanding are revealed: He identifies his schooling yhperion having made the first break between the sense of oneness experienced by a child and this later sense holderljn estrangement.
On one side, we desire the freedom to be above our lives, to shape them, yet on the other we long to feel at home in our world, to be in it at the cost of our liberty.
Johann Christian Friedrich Hölderlin (1770—1843)
But on the other hand, to experience existence without liberty and self-determination is to be sunk deeply in a form of passivity verging on idiocy. Left dissatisfied, Hyperion is bored and restless on Tenos. He leaves for Smyrna and encounters a very different solution to his problems in the form of Alabanda, a man devoted not to the worship of a past age but to the struggle for social change. But Alabanda is too much a man of action, a fighter, consumed with the wish to exercise freedom to effect social change and as the simile above suggests liable to destructive violence and a moral fanaticism.
Hyperion finds he cannot commit himself to this course either and we become conscious of his tendency to vacillate between again being within and without, between commitment and alienation and aware too of the fact he perceives this as is a problem needing to be resolved.
It is on the visit to Calaurea that Hyperion meets Diotima, a young woman who is unreflectively at home in the natural world. He dedicated the second volume of Hyperion to her. Diotima is initially unconscious of the beauty Hyperion sees in her but she becomes more self-aware in the letters documenting their relationship.
Though Hyperion may indeed wish for such oblivious contentment, it is ironically Diotima who suggests he must do otherwise: She tends to replace philosophical incisiveness with a blustering, autobiographical style, but what her exposition lacks in rigour it makes up for in enthusiasm.
Hyperion finally accepts that the irresolvable tension, the pulse or heartbeat vital to the fully-lived human life is hylerion between unity and freedom, Being and reflection, living in life and hyprrion it.
He offers a further encouraging metaphor: What remains to us is an unending quest or process not liable to completion or final stasis. You are commenting using your WordPress.
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