Modern Languages and Literatures, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in German Quarterly 61 (1988), 137-138. Published by the American Association of Teachers of German (AATG); 112 Haddontowne Ct. #104, Cherry Hill, NJ 08034-3668 USA
Copyright © 1988 American Association of Teachers of German. Used by permission.


Eric Santner's study, "intended both as a 'revisionist' reading of Hölderlin's later poetry and an introduction to a larger study of issues concerning narrative theory," interprets formal aspects of the later poems—what has traditionally been called their harte Fügung—in terms of narrative parataxis, i.e. a breakdown in the Idealist "narrative of redemption." Santner begins with a theoretical discussion of narrative drawn chiefly from Hayden White and Roland Barthes (especially from Camera Lucida). Opposing "narrative vigilance," that potentially pathological compulsion to comprehend particulars within a hypotactic, overarching narrative structure, is a strategy of parataxis whereby narrative vigilance is released as the poet focuses on concrete particulars. Using this theoretical approach, Santner interprets Hölderlin "against the grain" of a more traditional criticism which relates the poet to the context of German Idealism.