This new critical biography of Friedrich Hölderlin (1770-1843) is the first to appear for more than fifty years. In this time his status as one of the greatest European poets has become increasingly apparent - yet he is commonly considered a 'difficult' poet. A prime aim of this book is to make Hölderlin more accessible to the English-speaking reader. This comprehensive discussion of Hölderlin's work includes close readings of
many individual poems, with English translations of all quotations. The author, who is also concerned to locate Hölderlin constantly in his times, recounts in a chronological framework the main line of the poet's life, his dealings with his important contemporaries, his love for Susette Gontard, and the long years
of loneliness and frustration. Hölderlin is an archetypal figure, exciting fear and pity, a poet whose religion was founded on the conviction that his gods were absent, and whose modernity lies in his experience of absence.
' an exceptionally good, indeed outstandingly good study ... Dr Constantine writes powerfully and convincingly. Above all he urges us to turn to Hölderlin and makes one feel that one must do so straightaway'
Times Higher Education Supplement
'David Constantine ... has now given us a readable and reliable "critical introduction" to the works based on an understanding of the life ... his discussions of the works make extensive and appreciative use of existing studies. But Constantine picks his way through the ideological extremes with knowledge and good sense.'
'This book is likely to become the standard introduction in English to the life and works of the German poet Friedrich Hölderlin ... and deservedly so. It is lucid and level-headed, yet quietly partisan in the best sense ... David Constantine is himself a fine poet, and it shows beneficially in his treatment of Hölderlin's poems as events with a complex intellectual, emotional, linguistic rhythm, rather than hermeneutic puzzles. This fine book
... should further advance his reputation in the English-speaking world.'
K.F. Hilliard, Durham University Journal
'This is the first critical biography of Hölderlin for more than half a century and it has proved worth waiting for. David Constantine brings unusual gifts to his study: a sound grasp of classical scholarship, a poet's keenness of observation and a novelist's skill in narration.'
B.A. Rowley, Journal of European Studies
'his book is immensely welcome ... Dr Constantine's book is admirably suited to fulfilling his aim of making more people think H worth reading and accessible.'
Robin Harrison, King's College, London, Modern Language Review Vol 85