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Hyperion; or, The Hermit in Greece

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  1,771 ratings  ·  108 reviews
Hyperion is a novel of stirring lyricism, philosophical sublimity, and enduring influence. It stands among Hölderlin’s most extraordinary achievements. A Greek hermit recounts the pivotal phases of his life, from his discovery of the vanished glory of antiquity, through his encounter with his beloved Diotima, who embodies his goal of merging with “the All of nature,” to hi ...more
Paperback, 236 pages
Published April 28th 2008 by Archipelago Books (first published 1797)
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Apr 10, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uni, germany
English: Hyperion; or, The Hermit in Greece
Good ol' Fritz Hölderlin is everywhere these days, as Germany is celebrating the 250th birthday of the famous, but also mysterious poet ( To fight my own ignorance regarding all things Hölderlin, I'm taking an online class on his only novel, the epistolary "Hyperion". Let's see how that goes.

EDIT: Full disclosure: After taking the class, I'm even more puzzled why this is considered a milestone. It's terribly pretentious and, frank
Philippe Malzieu
which book to take along on a desert island. I hesitates between two. Poetry of course. Holderlin or René Char. The fragile mentale child of Age of Enlightement or the giant hero of Resistance against nazi. The problem is traduction. In french, It's Philippe Jacottet a poet who translate Holderlin. It is a little too hermetic from my point of view. So I'm complain to learn german to have my own translation.
So Holderlin or Char? I take both.
By Friedrich Hölderlin
A Romantic Novel, composed in seven years, from 1792 to 1798.
It is Hölderlin’s key to fame, his masterpiece, a Gem of German Literature.
Food for thought for scholars, many books have been written about the Hyperion.
It is the story of a young Greek dreamer, who wishes to liberate Greece from the oppressors and see Ancient Classic Greece come alive again.
Linked to real historical events, the Turkish-Russian War (1770) in the Peloponnese. Hyperion participates in so
Karl Hallbjörnsson
What a marvel, what a work of art! I read this novel slowly, relishing each letter in turn. It inspired me and moved me. Truly, a masterpiece!
Jun 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
A German writing a love letter to greece? It was a different time all right. More than that it is a biographic tale about loss, love, romanticism etc. It mixes quite skilfully bildungsroman and epistolary writing, what were pretty much the fashionable writting gimmicks of its time. If you have a love for German Romantic literature and philosophy do give it a go. (If you liked Goethe's Werther, you'll probably like this) ...more
Mar 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I kept reading here and there that Holderlin influenced many philosophers and poets. I read Hyperion partly because I read his name many times and I didn't know why he is so influential. Now I know.

Even if I read the translation rather than the German version of Hyperion, the ideas enclosed in it are interesting enough to ignore the loss in translation.
John_Dishwasher John_Dishwasher
So Hyperion has become a hermit and he’s writing letters to his friend Bellarmin explaining why. Basically the world is shallow and corrupt and it is impossible to achieve the exalted, unified soul that a genius deserves while existing among the common run of humans. Hyperion wants a purity and nobility and freedom of heart. Not possible. Hyperion wants communion with nature. Not possible. The story is a kind of bildungsroman of how he learned these frustrating facts, describing a heartfelt frie ...more
Jun 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book reflects my enourmous love for Ancient Greece and at times I caught myself thinking the same grand exclamations that Hyperion voices out. One of the books I wish I had written. Not a love story, not a war story; a bit of both - a story of truth, told in the manner of German Romantism (which I love). I reccomend this book to anyone who has a thing for beautifully put words and a burning love for the Ancient times. I'm sure lots of people do. ...more
John Hatley
Apr 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written when Hölderlin was still in his late 20s, Hyperion is a major work of German romanticism. It is a love story, a tale of friendship, disappointment and devotion to nature.
Aug 29, 2020 added it
Shelves: favorites
This shit GOES! Accidentally read my favorite writers’ favorite books back to back so I gotta say this again, but it’s pretty clear the role Hölderlin’s thought played in Nietzsche’s. Radical and anarchic!
Mar 23, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-translation
This is mostly the kind of high-drama romantic self-absorbed and overblown narrative that I hate -- and I mostly hated it. It's actually written as a series of letters...they don't work as letters of course. What I did like was that the 'introduction' was in the translator's postscript -- I so prefer reading about authors after I've encountered their work. The postscript also reconciled me just a little--not to the content, but to Holderlin himself. I feel that in the shorter form of poetry, whe ...more
Monty Milne
The Greeks and the Germans have a tense relationship at the present time, so it is good to be reminded that in the broader view there has always been a strong tradition of Hellenophilia amongst the Teutons. This book is an example. Hyperion is a Greek, looking back at his attempts to liberate his homeland from the Turkish yoke, and at the course of his love affair with Diotima. Neither of these main themes have a happy ending, but there is plenty of poetic pathos in the reflecting. There is also ...more
I've read a number of Hölderlin's poems-- dense, lyrical, often fragmentary, and a touchstone for everyone from Nietzsche forward to Heidegger and forward to the deconstructionists-- and quite admired them, even if I'm not entirely sure what Heidegger was going for when he pontificated about them with a swastika on his armband.

But Hyperion is somewhat different. It's a rather straightforward romantic novel, with its idealistic narrator, its epistolary style, its glorifications both of classical
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"There is a forgetting of all existence, a falling silent of our being, in which we feel as if we have found everything. There is a falling silent, a forgetting of all existence, in which we feel as if we have lost everything, a night of our soul in which no glimmer of a star, not even a rotten piece of wood illuminates us. I had now become calm. Now nothing more drove me from bed at midnight. Now I no longer scorched myself in my own flame. I gazed out before me now, silent and solitary, and ...more
Manifest  Terror
Feb 27, 2010 rated it it was ok
there are some good parts to this book. the main thing i had trouble with is the exultation of suffering as a means to edification. one can easily see where this attitude led in the history of germany ... to be fair to hölderlin though, he is against german ideology in many senses.

another aspect of the novel i did not care for was the reverence of "nature." revering greek culture is one thing, but combining it with nature worship is quite another.

don't get me wrong, the rating doesn't really re
Anthony Galluzzo
Holderlin's Hyperion catapults eighteenth- century epistolarity into another dimension. Holderlin transforms the sociability embodied by the epistolary form into a vision of fully delineated subjectivities in dialogue. What is most interesting is the novel's weird erotic push-and-pull, as Hyperion yo-yos between Alabanda and Diotima. This sexual indeterminacy is in turn echoed by the narrative's postrevolutionary oscillation between intense lyrical introspection and strident depictions of politi ...more
Dec 31, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read Hyperion for my Philosophy lecture and it was a welcome change, considering that reading philosophers, especially Kant, are rather difficult to read and understand. Hölderlin was a poet and therefore it is rather magical to read his words.
I think everyone interested in poetry and philosophy can gain something from Hyperion for himself, since it's about a person learning life and finding it's own path. Errors included.
Jul 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: translations, poets
I have several of his books, but this one is my favorite. He's a looney recluse. I like him. ...more
John Pistelli
Jul 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Friedrich Hölderlin is considered one of the most influential and epochal European poets. He was a friend and contemporary of Hegel, Schlegel, and Schiller; his scant literary career spanned the revolutionary decade after 1792. His lyrics in praise of mad poets, his call for a revival of pagan antiquity in literature (he translated Pindar and Sophocles) and in politics (he favored democracy), make him an exemplary Romantic. Neglected in his own time—he went "mad" at 36 and spent the second half ...more
Sören Kumpart
Feb 05, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

A masterpiece of german writing. Beautiful language and imagery, combined with grand ideas of naturalism, freedom and the meaning of life.

Although it makes sense due to the framing of the story, the structure can be a little off sometimes and take some punch out of the turning points of the story.

In the end Hyperion goes through his emotional rollercoaster and has no one but himself to blame. If I understood his character correctly, then that's what he actually wanted.
Do not look at him a
Book Wormy
I feel I would have gotten more from it if it was a school book with someone to guide you through all the symbolism and meaning as a casual reader I appreciated the poetic use of language, I rolled my eyes at all the melodrama and ultimately despite only finishing this last night most of it has already leaked out of my brain.
Cosmin Stroe
May 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Friedrich Hölderlin knows his magic and will twist you upside-down with his lyrical paradoxes. It will raise you up through the ash of creation, vibrating on a higher level of consciousness until the "masterpiece" is complete.

"We are nothing; what we are searching for, is everything."
"The highest words have to resound lively into the highest souls."
Jul 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I began reading Holderlin because of Roberto Calasso's depiction. I read much of his poetry while, luckily, in Aachen, and finished this novel while in Aachen a second time. I know that's not really his area, but it seemed to fit. I think his theory of alernating tones is about to blow my mind... his theoretical writings were clearly written for his own benefit, and it's difficult to read a translation, from German, of a sentence that manages to go on for three pages. So, again, one must learn G ...more
Sep 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was a short read but a slow one and so rewarding. It's particularly valuable to me because of its influence on Nietzsche. It gets compared to Goethe's Werther. Having read both I prefer Hyperion. ...more
El Chimalová
Amazing descriptions! Whole new view of the world.
Wondering whether I should make an "obnoxious German poet writing angsty letters" shelf for this book ...more
Feb 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 1001, philosophy
The language doesn't flow, really slows you down. Many undescribed nouns used to describe other things - awkward. ...more
Michael A.
Hyperion: Aesthetically it was written really well but I had trouble following the narrative, lots of Greek references and I think I had sort of an idea of what was going on but not really. I don't really think this is the fault of the author i think one should perhaps just be better versed in Greek mythology before being able to get the most out of this. Honestly became kind of a slog to get through too, but some of the philosophical ruminations were nice. 2.5/5

Selected Poems: I really liked th
Timothy Ball
Sep 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tim-s-shelf
“Everything on earth is imperfect,” is the Germans’ old refrain. If only someone would once tell these people whom God has forsaken that everything is so imperfect among them only because they leave nothing pure uncorrupted, nothing sacred untouched, nothing sacred untouched by their course hands, that nothing thrives among them because they do not respect the root of all thriving, divine Nature, that life with them is stale and burdened with cares and too-too full of cold, silent discord, becau ...more
Leni Iversen
-Poetic prose
-Sublime nature descriptions and expressive imagery
-Early case of bisexual protagonist
-Influenced Nietzsche's early work
-Lots to discuss

-Excessive imagery and nature descriptions
-So Much Drama!
-Protagonist has mood swings that can give a reader whiplash; he's up and down like a yo-yo, often in the space of one sentence. Admittedly sentences tend to run long, with that very German aversion to the full stop.

This will never be a favourite of mine, but I might still r
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Johann Christian Friedrich Hölderlin was a major German lyric poet, commonly associated with the artistic movement known as Romanticism. Hölderlin was also an important thinker in the development of German Idealism, particularly his early association with and philosophical influence on his seminary roommates and fellow Swabians Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling.

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