restricted access Spekulative Poesie: Geheimnis und Geschichte in Hegels Eleusis

Hegel’s poem Eleusis (1796) implies a paradox in trying to combine a critique of language as inadequate for expressing the Absolute with a plea for keeping a secret. Dialectics suggests that the secret is the poem itself in its performance. I show that Eleusis envisions a certain view of history that entails a pessimistic relation to actuality and a utopian longing for the new community of those who keep secrecy. Unearthing the Christian inspiration that drives the development of the main ideas to be found in Eleusis helps to demonstrate that it is on this community enacted by the poem that the secret of the Eleusinian mysteries and, generally, the destiny of the Absolute, would further depend. In an intersubjective and thus truly dialectical way the poem should open itself towards interpretations that could ruin its initial message. This fragility remains a distinctive feature of Hegel’s speculative poetry and lends it the hope of remaining a ‘secret as secret.’