Holderlin's Songs of Light: Selected Poems
Translated by Michael Hamburger and edited by Jeremy Robinson
The German Romantic poet Friedrich Holderlin (1770-1843) is one of the very greatest poets - of any era. Holderlin's poetry is airy, radiant and incredibly lyrical. This selection features many of his best odes, poems and hymns, from the whole span of his career.
Michael Hamburger is a respected poet and critic. He has translated Rilke, Celan and Goethe, among others, as well the whole of Holderlin's poetry. Hamburger's awards include The Schlegel-Tieck Prize, the Goethe Medal and the European Translation Prize.
'Few can have done more to enhance (and in many cases create) the appreciation of German poetry among an Anglophone audience' (Times Literary Supplement) ?
Includes the German text and English translations.
European Writers Series. Notes & bibliography.
Friedrich Holderlin was born Johann Friedrich Holderlin on March 20, 1770 in Lauffen, a Swabian town on the River Neckar. He spent much of his later years, following a mental breakdown, in a house in Tubingen, until his death in 1843.
For Ronald Peacock, Holderlin was the poet of radiant purity, the one whose name can be uttered only in the tone of veneration.
The chief love in Friedrich Holderlins life was Susette Borkenstein Gontard (1769-1802), the beautiful, cultured and noble wife of a Frankfurt banker, J.F. Gontard. Holderlin taught Gontards children. He idealized Susette Gontard: she became his Muse, the Diotima in his poetry. Schones Leben! du lebst, wie die zarten Bluthen im Winter, Holderlin wrote in To Diotima. Just as Novalis worshipped his beloved Sophie as an embodiment of Sophia (Wisdom), a Goddess of transcendent philosophy, so Holderlin apostrophized Susette Gontard as Diotima in poems such as Diotima, To Diotima, To Her Genius and Menons Lament for Diotima. Diotima was the heros beloved in Holderlins novel Hyperion. Many poems are addressed to Diotima, and she is the subject of many pieces. It was with his relationship with Susette Gontard that Holderlins poetry began to develop rapidly, achieving a depth and lyricism far beyond the early poems. Susette, as Diotima, was crucial in this poetic development.