‘Hyperion’ was Friedrich Hölderlin’s poetic life’s work. The first part was published in 1794 as ‘Fragment of Hyperion’ in Friedrich Schiller’s magazine ‘New Thalia’. The text, from then on called the ‘Thalia Fragment’, was then subjected to various updates and re-writes, until in 1797 the epistolary novel, ‘Hyperion or The Hermit in Greece’ was published. In this piece, Hölderlin used the character of Hyperion to explore the many upheavals, consternations and revolutions of contemporary life as the Hermit looked for the path to himself, in the beauty of nature, and to the harmony of God, humanity and the world around us. Time and time again he is shaken by deep doubts, but every time he raises himself up with renewed enthusiasm: ‘Oh Soul! Soul! Beauty of the world! indestructible! ravishing one! with your eternal youth! You are; what then is death and all the woe of men? – Ah! those strange creatures have spoken many empty words. Yet from delight all comes and all ends in peace’.
Hölderlin, who was born 250 years ago, was not granted that peace. Despite a lot of medical intervention, he died at the age of 36, living at the Hölderlin Tower in Tübingen from 1807-1843.
29 October 2021, Thalia Theater