Volume 12, 2007
Philosophical Trends in the XXth Century
Véronique M. Fóti
Time's Agonal Spacing in Hölderlin's Philosophy of Tragedy
This paper interrogates Hölderlin's effort to deconstruct the speculative matrix of tragedy, with a particular focus on his "Remarks on Antigone," which are appended to his translation of the Sophoclean tragedy. In focus are, firstly, the separative force of the caesura, which stems tragic transport and is here analyzed, in terms of Hölderlin's understanding of Greece in relation to "Hesperia," as an incipiently Hesperian poetic gesture. Secondly, Hölderlin's key thought of the mutual "unfaithfulness" of God and man is at issue: the god here is revealed as sheer time, while man is thrown back upon the bare moment. This "unfaithfulness" must be tempered by a striving that turns back from the quest for transcendence to the measures of fmitude and to this world. By attentiveness to the singular (which is not the particular), the tragic poet, unlike the speculative philosopher, reveals time's agonal spacing.