Access to the full content is only available to members of institutions that have purchased access. If you belong to such an institution, please log in or find out more about how to order.




Hölderlin, Johann Christian Friedrich (1770–1843)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-DC041-2
Version: v2,  Published online: 2022
Retrieved June 19, 2024, from

Article Summary

Article Summary

An outstanding German poet, Hölderlin is now widely recognized as one of the most important writers and thinkers of his time. After an initial period of critical neglect and relative public indifference, he eventually came to enjoy a privileged status in German cultural life at the beginning of the twentieth century, and has continued to exercise a profound influence on modern literature and critical thought. Hölderlin’s work emerged within the context of Kant’s Critical Revolution and developed in constant interaction with the German Idealist speculation this subsequently provoked, against the background of the French Revolution and the fundamental issues raised in its wake for an entire generation. Hölderlin was personally acquainted with many of the leading figures of the period, including Schiller, Goethe, Herder, Novalis, Fichte, Schelling and Hegel. His writings reflect and respond to many of the central philosophical concerns and themes of his time, in a highly original and prescient fashion. However, it is only since Wilhelm Dilthey that the importance of his specific influence on the intellectual development of Schelling and Hegel in particular has been fully recognized, so that he has even been described as the ‘Doctor Seraphicus’ of German Idealism. His work subsequently provided a frequent point of reference for the Frankfurt School’s engagement with the heritage of German Idealism and the problem of the relationship between aesthetics, ethics and politics. More recently, Hölderlin has become a major presence in much contemporary critical and deconstructive theory, largely through the pervasive influence of Martin Heidegger.

Citing this article:
Walker, Nicholas. Hölderlin, Johann Christian Friedrich (1770–1843), 2022, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-DC041-2. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.