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Title: The philosophy of tragedy : the tragedy of philosophy : the mimetic interrelationship of tragedy and philosophy in the theoretical writings of Friedrich Hölderlin
Author: Chapman, Helen Christine
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 1992
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This study investigates Phillipe Lacoue-Labarthe's claim in "The Caesura of the Speculative" that Hölderlin is a "modern" writer. Its aim is to establish what is at stake in this claim and to evaluate whether it can be substantiated. In Chapter One I discuss the relationship between tragedy and philosophy. I show that the uneasy relationship between philosophy and the arts is premised upon Plato's understanding and judgement of mimesis. I contrast Plato and Aristotle's treatment of poetry by examining how they understand the mimetic process. In Chapter Two I focus on Hölderlin's understanding of the relationship between Ancient Greece and 18th Century Germany. After discussing the background to Hölderlin's work I provide detailed readings of two texts, The Perspective from which We Have to Look at Antiquity, (1799) and the first letter to Böhlendorff, dating from 1801. I argue that in these texts Hölderlin, through his acknowledgement of the divided nature of Greek culture, offers a unique understanding of the relationship between Greece and Germany which isolates him from his contemporaries. In Chapters Three and Four, I examine Hölderlin's understanding of tragedy. After establishing the centrality of the aesthetic presentation for Hölderlin's project I examine the "poetological" writings which date from 1798-1800. I give a close analysis of the implications of Hölderlin's statement that the tragic "is the metaphor of an intellectual intuition" which occurs in the text On the Difference of the Poetic Modes, (1800), showing why the tragic form is central to Hölderlin's poetological project. To illustrate the problems inherent in this project, in Chapter Four I examine Hölderlin's attempts to write a tragic drama which corresponds to his theoretical beliefs. I discuss the two theoretical texts - The Ground to Empedocles and Becoming in Dissolution - which accompany Hölderlin's drama Empedocles. In analysing these texts I argue that there is an inherent tension between the presuppositions of the theory and the way they can be realised in the drama. In Chapter Five, I turn to Hölderlin's final work, his project to translate Sophocles' tragedies. Through close analysis of the theoretical Remarks which accompany the translations, I show how Hölderlin's theoretical and poetological interests in Greece and Tragedy are brought together through this project. I argue that these texts give an insight into the problems which confront Hölderlin's poetological project. However, simultaneously, these texts provide an alternative way of understanding the function of the tragic form. In this discussion I show how the questions concerning the status of dramatic mimesis and the "mimetic" relation between Greece and Germany coincide in the analysis of Sophocles' dramas. In conclusion I return briefly to the questions that I raised in the introduction concerning the status of tragedy in the present time, and assess the accuracy of the claim that Hölderlin is a "modern" thinker.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: British Academy ; Lowestoft (England). Charities Board
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: B Philosophy (General)