24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Typically Great Lecture Course by Heidegger
, February 16, 2006
This review is from: Hölderlin's Hymn "The Ister": Hölderlin's hymn "The Ister" (Studies in Continental Thought) (Hardcover)
This lecture course from 1942 has as its subject Holderlin's poem "The Ister." The Ister is the river known in English as the Danube, a river that marked the edge of the Roman Empire, and that roughly divides Eastern and Western Europe. Heidegger's reading of Holderlin leads us to reflect on the nature of nature: there is a spontaneous emergence of reality that provides the insurpassable context for all our life, all our experience, all meaning. Reflecting on the river is reflecting on this _phusis_ in its specificity and singularity, and becomes a way for us to reflect on the most profound dimensions of our existence--our mortality, our creativity, our ability to care--in their most creatively transformative and in their must destructive forms. The reflection on Holderlin and on the river leads especially into reflection on technology (especially as embodied in Americanism) and its dangers, and on art and its powers. Though the lecture course is officially about Holderlin's poem, much of the course is devoted to careful study of Sophocles _Antigone_, which Heidegger sees as closely related to _der Ister_ in what is makes manifest about nature and humanity. The reflections on _Antigone_ especially lead into reflections on the _polis_. These political reflections of course resonate with the prominent political events of the day--Nazi Europe facing the American West and the USSR to the East. This is a provocative, brilliant, and difficult text, well worth study by those interested in continental philosophy, Greek literature, technology, and many other topics. The film "The Ister," that was made to accompany this text is also excellent, and works wonderfully as a complement to Heidegger and to the texts of Holderlin and Sophocles. I recommend this highly.
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