chapter  3
Of Tragic Metaphor
ByJean-François Courtine
Pages 19

The question addressed in this study is already clearly delimited and, one could almost say, classic, well known in any case and generally accepted: it is, to put it briefly, the question of Hölderlin’s relation to what is called ‘German Idealism’. More precisely, the question of the ‘historial’ location of the poetological essays and Aufsätze of the Homburg period. Let us accept here, at least provisionally, this general problematic, even if it will mean adding later certain supplementary questions likely to complicate it. As is well known, it is principally Heidegger who has made us sensitive to the distance which separates Hölderlin from metaphysics in its absolute or completed form, even if his references to the poet’s ‘Philosophical Fragments’ remain largely programmatic.1 It is sufficient to recall here just one of these remarks, whose formulation remains, it is true, particularly abrupt and enigmatic. Heidegger, in a seminar devoted to Hegel and the Differenzschrift, having evoked the proximity-at the very least geographical (Frankfurt, Bad Homburg)—of Hegel and Hölderlin, goes on to say: ‘This proximity is immediately questionable. For from this period on, despite the appearance of dialectic in his essays, the poet has already passed through and broken with speculative idealism, just as Hegel is in the process of constituting it.’2