Abstract

abstract:

This article reevaluates Hölderlin's social and political thought in the 1790s. Against Georg Lukács, it argues that Hölderlin's politics of the new mythology, while utopian, are not mystical. In the Fragment of Philosophical Letters and the Oldest System-Programme of German Idealism, Hölderlin instead articulates two fundamental claims. Socially, the new mythical collectivity must elevate (erheben) the social relations produced by bourgeois society, exalting them in aesthetic-religious form, rather than sublating (aufheben) them, modifying both their form and their content. Politically, realizing this new collectivity requires transcending the state, and so is essentially revolutionary. Hölderlin's prosaic writings thus supplement Hyperion's romantic critique of modernity. They take as their point of departure a sober exposition of the social relations of the market emerging in Hölderlin's time and, from within these relations, excavate a new mythical collectivity capable of suturing the fragmentary divisions of modern life.

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