Friedrich Hölderlin, 250 years later

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The Faculty of Humanities sought to recall the legacy of an indispensable author in the history of thought and universal literature on the anniversary of his birth.

Friedrich Hölderlin, 250 years later

UIC Barcelona’s Saló de Graus recently hosted a double conference organised by the Faculty of Humanities to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the birth of Friedrich Hölderlin, one of the great German philosophers from the period between the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

In the event’s initial session, entitled “Hölderlin: The Poet of Gratitude”, Dr Àlex Mumbrú, a lecturer in the Faculty of Humanities at UIC Barcelona, presented the philosopher and poet, an indispensable author in the history of thought and universal literature. Mumbrú focused his talk on the traditionally romantic notion of division and explored the various paths of unification (love, friendship, beauty, fusion with nature, political action) that appear in his novel Hyperion, later showing the inadequacy of these means of reconciliation and the possibility of conceiving gratitude as a place from which to offer a poetic hymn to life.

Afterwards, Dr Robert Caner, a tenured professor of Literary Theory in the Faculty of Philology at the University of Barcelona, in a talk entitled “The Night of the Gods: Hölderlin and Novalis”, discussed the yearning the two poets and thinkers had to undertake a spiritual diagnosis of the modern reality of their time, i.e. in Germany, during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, a point of convergence between the Romantic movement and German idealism. Caner’s talk explored the perception shared by both authors of living in a period of twilight or concealment from the gods; a period they also viewed as an opportunity and a source of hope for the possible spiritual rebirth of humankind. To illustrate his explanations, Caner read excerpts from Hymns to the Night Hymnen an die Nacht) by Novalis and Bread and Wine (Brod und Wine) by Hölderlin.