Hölderlin's essays and letters constitute essential documents for an understanding of the transitional period from neo-classical poetics to what can only be characterized as a unique and, in its frequently experimental structure, essentially modernist poetics.
This book contains virtually all of Hölderlin's theoretical writings translated for the first time. In spite of the great significance of Hölderlin's ideas for contemporary critical thought, most of his highly important theoretical oeuvre has been unavailable to English readers until now. Here also are a number of letters which chart the development of Hölderlin's thought on issues that today remain fundamental to poetics and philosophy.
The work's critical introduction discusses both the historical genesis of Hölderlin's theoretical writings out of the enlightenment as well as their systematic interaction with post-Kantian Idealism. Through interpretations of three short fragments, Pfau indicates that it would be insufficient to consider Hölderlin as the mere precursor of the great systematic philosophers of German Idealism--Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel. Instead, Hölderlin's earliest theoretical fragments already mark a turn away from the rigorous systematicity that underlies the philosophical discourse of his contemporaries. Hölderlin's theoretical writings may be the most seminal texts in the widely discussed interimplication of Idealistic philosophy and Romantic poetry and poetics.