The Death of Empedocles: A Mourning-Play (SUNY Series in by Friedrich Hölderlin

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By Friedrich Hölderlin

The definitive scholarly variation and new translation of all 3 models of Hölderlin’s poem, The demise of Empedocles, and his comparable theoretical essays.

On the eve of his ultimate odes and hymns, Friedrich Hölderlin composed 3 models of a dramatic poem at the suicide of the early Greek philosopher, Empedocles of Acragas. This booklet bargains the 1st whole translation of the 3 types, in addition to translations of Hölderlin’s essays at the thought of tragedy. David Farrell Krell provides readers a quick chronology of Hölderlin’s lifestyles, an advent to the lifestyles and considered Empedocles—including Hölderlin’s Empedocles—detailed explanatory notes, and an research of the play and the theoretical essays, making an allowance for an entire appreciation of this vintage of global literature and philosophy.

“The significance of Friedrich Hölderlin’s literary writings and philosophical prose for readers from Hegel and Schelling to Heidegger, Benjamin, Adorno, de guy, and past can't be overstated, and Hölderlin’s unfinished mourning-play, The demise of Empedocles, is certainly one of his such a lot enigmatic creations. David Farrell Krell’s supremely delicate translation of the 3 extant models of the play itself and of Hölderlin’s comparable theoretical meditations, including a meticulously well-informed creation and analytical essay, make this quantity critical. Hölderlin could have relished the concept of a poetically and philosophically kindred spirit similar to Krell following him throughout languages and centuries.” — Gerhard Richter, writer of Thought-Images: Frankfurt tuition Writers’ Reflections from broken lifestyles

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Extra info for The Death of Empedocles: A Mourning-Play (SUNY Series in Contemporary Continental Philosophy)

Sample text

Indeed, the Empedocles who calls on the citizens to throw off the fetters of tyranny, especially the tyranny of their priests, also frees his own slaves. Yet a shadow is cast over Empedocles’ democratic tendencies. Diogenes reports that, according to some, the poet and rhetorician was actually arrogant and self-seeking, or at least utterly self-centered, ajlazovna kai; fivlauton, and 14 THE DEATH OF EMPEDOCLES that he was a recluse who in reality did not care a bit for his people. Empedocles sacrifices himself on the altar not of his nation but of his solitude.

Another essential aspect of the play, one that clearly causes Hölderlin difficulty, is the relationship between Empedocles and his “favorite,” Pausa- The Death of Empedocles, First Version 37 nias. We recall that the lyric poem “Empedocles” appears to have as its narrative or poetic “voice” someone very much like Pausanias, that is, someone who is held back from the crater’s edge by love. A poem first sketched in November 1799, “Winter,” concludes with the following lines: And among the friendly tutelary spirits dwells With him still one that gladly blesses, and even if All the others that nourish us, those goodly forces, Became our enemies, love would still love.

Yet to say such a thing is to broach the possibility of hubris. Diogenes twice refers to Empedocles’ mantic pretensions and places these words in Empedocles’ mouth: “As for me, I walk among you as immortal god, no longer a mortal,” ejgw; d j uJmi`n qeo;~ a[mbroto~, oujkevti qnhtov~ pwleu`mai (DK B112). This is perhaps an extreme form of the statement Hölderlin makes to Neuffer, “It is actually often impossible for me to think the thoughts of mortals. . ” Empedocles’ is the ultimate hubris, one must say, the most nefarious and unspeakable nefas that one can imagine—unless his self-willed death outstrips the claim to divinity and is itself the ultimate hubris.

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