Peripeteia et Anagnorisis: Hölderlin et la Poétique d'Aristote

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Hölderlin’s ‘Remarks’ on his translations of Sophocles’’Oedipus the King’ and ‘Antigone’, published in 1804, expound a radical understanding of tragic poetry. By reflecting thoroughly on the ways in which the “specific content” – or the “living meaning” – of each play relates to ist own “calculable law”, in accordance with the geometric principles of ist particular composition, Hölderlin reshapes a number of originally technical concepts into a broader consideration of what he describes as the “poetic logic” of dramatic writing, while at the same time directly addressing – both as a translator and as a poet – the constraints imposed by the rules of “tragic presentation”. Notions primarily relevant to the rhythmic structure of the plays, such as caesura, equilibrium, the extension or the pace of the action, are thus expanded and incorporated into an overarching historical-metaphysical exegesis of the two tragedies, whereby different concepts emerge, among which the categorical, the infinite or the patriotic “reversal”, ultimately questioning the limits of a “reversal of all modes and forms of representation”. These and other related instances of tragic poetry can best be read and elucidated against the backdrop of two crucial concepts in Aristotle’s ‘Poetics’, namely ‘peripeteia’ (the reversal of fortune, of intention, or of the action as a whole) and ‘anagnorisis’ (the discovery or the recognition of the truth).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-258
Number of pages19
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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