Selected Poems and Letters

Front Cover
Last Books, 2019 - 252 pages
Poetry. Literary Nonfiction. Essays. Translated by Christopher Middleton. Although he received little recognition during his lifetime, Friedrich Hölderlin (1770-1843) has come to be considered one of Europe's greatest poets. His visionary work--at once local and cosmic--has influenced such figures as Rilke, Heidegger, Celan, and Cixous. This bilingual volume contains translations of thirty-one poems and fourteen letters, as well as an Introduction, Notes, and commentary by the highly regarded poet and translator Christopher Middleton.

"This is an extraordinarily rich and powerful selected assemblage of Hölderlin's writings--poems and also letters--bilingual and translated with intense inwardness, situated by accompanying commentary and discussion in both the historical contingency of the poet's Lebenswelt and at the same time in his passional spirit-thinking as it evolves and informs his poetical experiments. There have been many previous versions into English of the most celebrated of these poems, but these here come unmistakably from the imaginative intelligence of another strenuously original poet, at exceedingly close connection with Hölderlin's wrestle with language, its upward reach into the fleeting semi-permanence of the divine presences and its probing downwards into the Germanistic roots of a language-culture at this time in historical and political turbulence. Middleton's full and thorough-going Introduction pre-empts earlier (and later) translation dalliance with spirit-fancy by his rigorous and persistent precision."--J.H. Prynne

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About the author (2019)

Johann Christian Friedrich Hölderlin (20 March 1770--6 June 1843) was a major German lyric poet. His work bridges the Classical and Romantic schools. Having spent most of his life tormented by mental illness, he suffered great loneliness, and often spent his time playing the piano, drawing, reading, writing, and enjoyed traveling when he had the chance. Although he received little recognition during his lifetime, he has come to be considered one of Europe's greatest poets. His visionary work--at once local and cosmic--has influenced such figures as Rilke, Heidegger, Celan, and Cixous.

Christopher Middleton was a highly regarded poet, essayist, and translator. He was born in Cornwall in 1926 and studied at Merton College, Oxford. In 1966 he took up a position as Professor of Germanic Languages and Literature at the University of Texas, Austin, retiring in 1998. His various awards include the 1986 Schlegel-Tieck Prize for German Translation, and an Award for Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Christopher Middleton died in November 2015.

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