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Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy


published on July 23, 2015

Beau Shaw
DOI: 10.5840/epoche201572145

Semele’s Ashes
Heidegger’s Interpretation of Hölderlin’s "As when on a holiday . . ."

This paper is an elaboration of Paul de Man’s critique, in “Heidegger’s Exegeses of Hölderlin,” of Martin Heidegger’s commentary on Friedrich Hölderlin’s poem, “As when on a holiday…” I show that de Man’s critique can be expanded into a critique of a type of testimony that Heidegger ascribes to Hölderlin’s poem. Heidegger ascribes to Hölderlin’s poem what I call “infinite testimony,” but, thereby, suppresses in the poem another type of testimony—what I call “finite testimony. This suppression is most in evidence in Heidegger’s interpretation of Hölderlin’s reference to the myth of Semele, as well as in Heidegger’s excision, in the version of the poem that he printed in the commentary, of the concluding lines of the poem. Additionally, I discuss the political implications of Heidegger’s suppression of the finite testimony depicted in “As when on a holiday . . .”