Holderlin’s Hymn “The Ister”


By Martin Heidegger, Published in 1984



Martin Heidegger’s 1942 lecture course interprets Friedrich Hölderlin’s hymn “The Ister” within the context of Hölderlin’s poetic and philosophical work, with particular emphasis on Hölderlin’s dialogue with Greek tragedy. Delivered in summer 1942 at the University of Freiburg, this course was first published in German in 1984 as volume 53 of Heidegger’s Collected Works. Revealing for Heidegger’s thought of the period are his discussions of the meaning of “the political” and “the national,” in which he emphasizes the difficulty and the necessity of finding “one’s own” in and through a dialogue with “the foreign.” In this context Heidegger reflects on the nature of translation and interpretation. A detailed reading of the famous chorus from Sophocles’ Antigone, known as the “ode to man,” is a key feature of the course.

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