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Title: Friedrich Holderlin : the theory and practice of religious poetry
Author: Simon, Martin F. A.
ISNI:       0000 0000 8383 2603
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 1982
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This is a genetic study of Holderlin's religious poetry. It examines the evolving atrophic form of the Elegies, and relates this directly to the transition from personal to hymnic lyric: the poet does not overcome, but creates out of, the elegiac situation. Against the impersonality of a predominant approach which treats the later work as objective statement, I have found the poetry to be the progressive creation of a private world made of the experiences of childhood and love. The strophic form is not primarily a means of communication, but the existential sphere of a relationship. The poem's message is restricted to autonomous paradigmatic enactment of a revolution in man's relationship to Nature which is, however, also a rejection of the individual's place in the world and therefore necessarily solipsistic. The method follows from these principles. Artistic unity of form and content is here of heightened intensity, in rhythm, so that ideas cannot be isolated from their context; conversely, where they can be the poetry fails. The thorough analysis of the five strophic elegies is based on this aesthetic criterion; it aims to replace paraphrase by literary criticism. The Elegies follow strict laws of composition, but these proceed from the opposite of speech-orientated reflection: a consistently negative conception of poetic form as the relativising limitation of consciousness, contradicted by the mysterious and daemonic intensity of the unconscious. The use of form is not classical, but belongs, with unparalleled extremity, to the Fruhromantik. The historical context is therewith the transcendental philosophy of Kant and Fichte. The true value is not religious but aesthetic; it lies in the softness and delicacy of a child's perception of Nature. As the poetry, in polemical example to the world, undermines intellect and will by the will to surrender, the reader is confronted by irreconcilable values.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Literature