Leaves of Mourning

Hölderlin's Late Work - With an Essay on Keats and Melancholy

By Anselm Haverkamp
Translated by Vernon Chadwick

Subjects: Literary Theory
Series: SUNY series, Intersections: Philosophy and Critical Theory
Paperback : 9780791427408, 163 pages, March 1996
Hardcover : 9780791427392, 163 pages, March 1996

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Table of contents


Preface to the American Edition

Words, Like Flowers: Hölderlin's Late Work

Mourning Beyond Melancholia: Kryptic Subjectivity

Archaeology of the Lyrical Individual (Dilthey, Adorno, Freud)

Conjectures on the Work of Mourning (Freud, Benjamin, Derrida)

Writing on the Krypt (Derrida, Abraham, Torok)

I. Silva—Impossible Ode (Hailer and Kant)

II. By the Figtree—Mnemosyne (Hö1derlin and Hegel)

III. Secluded Laurel—Andenken (Hölderlin and Heidegger)

IV. Wild Elder—The Churchyard (Hölderlin and Kant)

Mourning Becomes Melancholia: The Leaves of Books

No, no—Ode on Melancholy (Keats and Locke)



Subject Index

Name Index


Examines allegory in Hölderlin's later work, exploring subjects such as Freud and Derrida's views of mourning, and offering original readings of works including Impossible Ode, Mnemosyne, and The Churchyard .

Anselm Haverkamp is Professor of English and Director of the Poetics Institute at New York University. Vernon Chadwick is Assistant Professor of English and Director of the International Conference on Elvis Presley at the University of Mississippi. Described by The New York Times as "perhaps academia's foremost Elvis scholar," he has published essays exploring the Multicultural Elvis as a new paradigm of cultural representation. In addition to German translation, he is currently completing a book-length study of Mississippi artist and writer Walter Anderson.


"One of the premier German/American critics of our time, Anselm Haverkamp interleaves the poetic word with its abyssal grounding in mourning. The result is an extraordinary work of Benjaminian allegory, which unfolds the intricacies of Holderlin's late works and the melancholic excesses of Keats. A striking illumination of romantic texts and their theoretical foundations, Leaves of Mourning will compel vigorous responses from the contiguous communities of literary and critical scholarship. " -- Avital Ronell, University of California--Berkeley

"It is not simply a book that reads three major European authors. The theoretical topics that Haverkamp meditates couldn't be more crucial to literary studies in general. Moreover, there is no way to exaggerate how important a figure Holderlin is. His works have long been read by the very best philosophers and Germanists as somehow exemplary. Thus, reading Holderlin has long been the battlefield for raising the questions of what literature is, what reading is, and how they signify. " -- Carol Jacobs, State University of New York at Buffalo

"Leaves of Mourning offers profound insight into the complex and intricate relation between poetry and loss. Haverkamp's analyses show the unexpected ways that literary works engage the act of mourning, and provide innovative readings of Romantic texts. His book will be of great interest to literary readers as well as to those concerned with the vital rethinking and renewal of psychoanalytic thought. " -- Cathy Caruth, Emory University

"At a time when the study of difficult, canonical poetry is fading, Anselm Haverkamp brings his formidable erudition and an intense range of theoretical considerations to the reading of Holderlin. He is a critic's critic, unafraid of philosophy, who adduces Kant, Hegel and Heidegger as aptly as Freud, Lacan and Derrida. Taking as his central theme the 'inability to mourn,' Haverkamp shows how, just as Freud found himself compelled to go, in his theory, 'beyond the pleasure principle,' great poets like Holderlin and Keats go 'beyond mourning' and revalue the very melancholia Freud sought to exorcize in the name of mental health. They deal with a 'death-world' that remains to be described by a phenomenological method which has always tried to convert it into a 'life-world. '" -- Geoffrey Hartman, Yale University