Modern Languages and Literatures, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in The German Quarterly 60 (Summer 1987), 477-479.
Published by the American Association of Teachers of German (AATG), 112 Haddontowne Ct. #104, Cherry Hill, NJ 08034-3668 USA. Copyright © 1987 American Association of Teachers of German. Used by permission.


On August 31, 1984, the Tübingen Germanist Reinhard Breymayer published an article in the Stuttgarter Zeitung announcing his discovery of a poem with the heading “Gesungen bei der Einweihung eines Gartenhauses, das zur Aufschrift hat: SERENITY,” which he believed could be ascribed conclusively to Friedrich Hölderlin. The announcement sparked off a minor controversy among several Germanists which was documented in the European press, the most critical voice being that of Jochen Hieber (FAZ, September 17, 1984; FAZ, October 22, 1984). Breymayer came across the poem over a year prior to his announcement while reading through the volumes of the Taschenkalender für Natur- und Gartenfreunde (published by Goethe’s, Schiller’s, and Hölderlin’s publisher in Stuttgart, Johann Friedrich Cotta) in search of additional works by the little-known Württemberg pastor-poet, Christian Gottlieb Göz (1746–1803). In the 1797 volume of the almanach, immediately following an article on how to rid the garden of moles, an anonymous poem was printed which roused his curiosity. In the ensuing year he subjected the poem, twenty-one four-lined stanzas of rhymed verse, to a careful examination, considering questions of content and style, having become convinced the poem was by Friedrich Hölderlin. The poem and the results of this investigation, as well as a response to the criticisms voiced in the press, have been edited by Reinhard Breymayer and published in a small volume bearing the title Hymne an die Heiterkeit, by Thomas Heck’s newly founded Nous Verlag.