Friedrich Hölderlin. Selected Poems and Letters

Friedrich Hölderlin. Selected Poems and Letters
Author: Christopher Middleton
Publisher: The Last Books
Language: English
Pages: 252
Size: 14.4 x 22.2 cm
Weight: 415 g
Binding: Softcover
ISBN: 9789491780066
Price: €19.00
Product Description

Translated with an introduction, notes, and commentary by Christopher Middleton
Edited and designed by Phil Baber

This volume gathers all of Christopher Middleton’s Hölderlin translations, comprising thirty-one poems and fourteen letters. With an introduction, notes, and four essays on reading and translating Hölderlin’s poetry.

Edition of 500

“Christopher Middleton is an extraordinary translator, bringing his fine poet’s ear and inventiveness to the task. In addition to the brilliant versions, this volume offers Middleton’s essays on the poet and a selection from Hölderlin’s letters – a great gift to us all.”
—Rosmarie Waldrop

“This is an extraordinarily rich and powerful selected assemblage of Hölderlin’s writings – poems and also letters – bilingual and translated with intense inwardness, situated by accompanying commentary and discussion in both the historical contingency of the poet’s Lebenswelt and at the same time in his passional spirit-thinking as it evolves and informs his poetical experiments. There have been many previous versions into English of the most celebrated of these poems, but these here come unmistakably from the imaginative intelligence of another strenuously original poet, at exceedingly close connection with Hölderlin’s wrestle with language, its upward reach into the fleeting semi-permanence of the divine presences and its probing downwards into the Germanistic roots of a language-culture at this time in historical and political turbulence. Middleton’s full and thoroughgoing Introduction pre-empts earlier (and later) translation dalliance with spirit-fancy by his rigorous and persistent precision.
As example, the development of ‘Andenken’ (Remembrance) (approx. 1803) is deeply investigated. The notorious final line is ‘Was bleibet aber, stiften die Dichter,’ given here as ‘What abides, even then, the poets ordain it.’ In his 1972 version ‘aber’ was given as ‘But [poets] alone…’; Hamburger in 1943 (1943!) had written ‘But that which endures the poets give,’ then in 1966 ‘But what is lasting the poets provide’ – each honourably careful and slightly clumsy; not to mention Leishman in 1944: ‘What the poets bestow remains.’ Middleton’s radical and even drastic ‘even then,’ held in suspensive parentheses, is part of his project to ‘track the syntactical design of “Andenken”’ (p. 198); after brilliant exegesis he will not merely write but, recognising that ‘aber voices resistance’ (p. 222) and concluding with a further appositional pronoun-object, ‘it’; poet’s workmanship!”
—J. H. Prynne (Cambridge, September 28, 2018)

“It is wonderful to have all this [work] ‘bound by love in one volume,’ as Dante said in a different context, allowing us to see more clearly the nature of Middleton’s long engagement with Hölderlin and to appreciate the close relationship between his roles as a translator, as a critic and, more obliquely, as a poet. […] A sense of risk and acuity, sharp stabs of intellectual venture, can be felt in everything [Middleton] wrote. The translations are reliable, modest and intense. Middleton’s sensitivity to formal questions, to the way the shape and timbre of the poem modulate with the development of its preoccupations, is present in both his translating and his critical writing, and joins them together. […] We are taken right into the sense-making heart of the writing, and witness not the transposition of meaning but its reconstitution on the page, in the different conditions of the new language and time. […] [This] volume – beautifully produced – is a model of imaginative and committed publishing, and its value is self‑evident.”
—Charlie Louth, TLS