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Lyric OrientationsHölderlin, Rilke, and the Poetics of Community$
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Hannah Vandegrift Eldridge

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780801456954

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801456954.001.0001

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The Anxiety of Theory

The Anxiety of Theory

Hölderlin’s Poetology as Skeptical Syndrome

(p.43) 2 The Anxiety of Theory
Lyric Orientations

Hannah Vandegrift Eldridge

Cornell University Press

This chapter juxtaposes Friedrich Hölderlin's use of poetic language with his view in philosophical skepticism. Hölderlin used poetry to mediate between the antinomies of mind and world, as well as the nature and freedom. He reiterated that this mediation can only be articulated in poetic language. However, although his poetry aims to link the contradiction of many subjects, he does not believe in the “truth of skepticism”—the recognition that human subjects inevitably strive to have certainty (whether about the world, other minds, or the divine) that they cannot possess, and that this dissatisfaction with the uncertain state of one's knowledge is a constitutive of human subjectivity. Studying these two contradicting themes, the chapter explains how his poetry demonstrates the boundaries between language, mind, and world.

Keywords:   philosophical skepticism, truth, poetry, human subjects, certainty, human subjectivity

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