Holderlin and Hegel (1797 – 1800)

  • Franz Gabriel Nauen
Part of the Archives Internationales D’Histoire des Idées / International Archives of the History of Ideas book series (ARCH, volume 45)


The bravado of Hegel’s Kantianism in “On the Positivity of the Christian Religion” concealed his true state of mind during his last year in Switzerland. After three lonely years of isolation from his friends, Hegel, now twenty-six years old, was deeply depressed, aware that as yet he had achieved nothing of consequence.1 The Canton of Bern, which, although boasting a republican form of government, was in fact ruled by a small oligarchy, also grated on his nerves.2 His energies flagging, Hegel turned in desperation to Hölderlin and Schelling and asked them to seek employment in his behalf.3


Moral Rule Fellow Citizen Human Freedom Elemental Force Christian Religion 
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  1. J. Hoffmeister ed., 4 vol. (Hamburg, 1962), I, 37; henceforth cited as Hegel, Briefe.Google Scholar
  2. Hegel and Holderlin concerning Hegels new position from August to November, 1796, Hegel, Briefe I, 38–45.Google Scholar
  3. Karl, Holderlin’s half-brother, visited Frankfurt in April, 1797, he witnessed an intense philosophical debate between Holderlin and Hegel, Holderlin, Grosse Stuttgarter Ausgabe, F. Beissner, ed., 6 volGoogle Scholar
  4. Cf. Franz Rosenzweig, Hegel und der Staat, 2 vol. (Munich and Berlin, 1920 ), I, 74 ff.Google Scholar
  5. Herman Nohl, ed. (Tubingen, 1907), 211–213; henceforth cited as Nohl.Google Scholar
  6. Ibid., 79, verses 1880–1883.Google Scholar
  7. Friedrich Holderlin, Poems and Fragments, Michael Hamburger, trans. ( London, 1966 ), 305.Google Scholar
  8. Beda Alleman, Holderlin und Heidegger ( Zurich, Freiburg, 1954 ), 22–26.Google Scholar
  9. The first explicit critque of Kant was written in August, K. Rosenkranz, G. W. F. Hegels Leben (berlin, 1844)Google Scholar
  10. Nohl, 374–377; for the philosophical significance of love see ibid., 377–382.Google Scholar
  11. Cf. Rosenzweig, op. cit., 64–66, 80–89.Google Scholar
  12. Nohl, 371, cf, Rosenzweig, op. cit., I, 64.Google Scholar
  13. Hölderlin to Johann Gottfried Ebel, November, 1799, 377.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, Netherlands 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • Franz Gabriel Nauen

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