Hölderlin’s Poltergeists

A Drama for Voices

by Síomón Solomon (Author)
©2020 Monographs XXX, 148 Pages


Depicting the literary, erotic, political and clinical trajectory of the Swabian Frühromantiker Friedrich Hölderlin (1770–1843), Solomon’s shapeshifting study presents an audacious English «remix» of Stephan Hermlin’s 1970 radio drama Scardanelli, amplifying the complex contexts of Hölderlin’s psychiatric committal and subsequent discharge into the home of a Tübingen carpenter in May 1807. Supplemented by a new translation of Hermlin’s memoir essay «Hölderlin 1944» and the author’s interdisciplinary texts and commentaries, this provocative volume furnishes a creative reinterpretation of a contribution to modern audio drama that will speak to playmakers and scholars engaged with German Romanticism, the poetics of translation and the cultural history of radio.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • List of Illustrations
  • Acknowledgements
  • Biographical Chronologies
  • Friedrich Hölderlin (1770–1843)
  • Stephan Hermlin (1915–1997)
  • Translator’s Introduction
  • Hölderlin’s Poltergeists
  • Hölderlin 1944
  • ‘Spills of mire I swallowed inside the tower’
  • Glossary of Names
  • Series Index

←xii | xiii→


Frontispiece: (»Pallaksch. Pallaksch.«) (2018) by Diana Brauchle

Figure 1.1 Johann Christian Friedrich Hölderlin (1842), Luise Keller, pencil sketch

Figure 1.2 Stephan Hermlin (n.d.), photographer unknown

Figure 1.3 Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (c.1695), oil on canvas, Christoph Bernhard Francke (Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum)

Figure 1.4 Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock (c.1760), steel engraving, artist unknown

Figure 1.5 Jean-Jacques Rousseau (c.1753), pastel on paper, Maurice Quentin de La Tour

Figure 1.6 Nathanael Köstlin (n.d.), portrait drawing, artist unknown

Figure 1.7 Johanna Christiana Gok, née Heyn (1767), oil on canvas, artist unknown

Figure 1.8 Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller (1793/4), oil on canvas, Kunigunde Sophie Ludovike Simanowiz

Figure 1.9 Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1801), chalk drawing, Friedrich Bury

Figure 2.0 Charlotte Sophia Juliana von Kalb, née Marschalk von Ostheim (1785), oil on canvas, Johann Heinrich Schmidt

Figure 2.1 Susette Gontard, née Borkenstein (n.d.), miniature portrait, Elisabeth Sömmering

Figure 2.2 Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling (c.1800), oil on canvas, Christian Friedrich Tieck

Figure 2.3 Isaak von Sinclair (1808), oil on canvas, Favorin Lerebours (Museum im Gotischen Haus, Bad Homburg v. d. Höhe)

←xiii | xiv→

Figure 2.4 Bettine von Arnim, née Elisabeth Catharina Ludovica Magdalena Brentano (after 1831), portrait, artist unknown

Figure 2.5 Justinus Andreas Christian Kerner (1844), oil on canvas, Alexander Bruckmann (Staatsgalerie Stuttgart)

Figure 2.6 Gustav Benjamin Schwab (1850/8), lithograph, Christian Sigmund Pfann

Figure 2.7 Eduard Friedrich Mörike (n.d.), photographer unknown (Landesarchiv Baden-Württemberg)

Figure 2.8 Wilhelm Friedrich Waiblinger (n.d.), pen and ink self-portrait

Figure 2.9 Stefan Anton George (1910), photograph, Jacob Hilsdorf

Figure 3.0 Friedrich Norbert Theodor von Hellingrath (1914), photographer unknown

←xiv | xv→


Special thanks to Dan Farrelly, Laurel Plapp, Rüdiger Görner, Isabel Wagner, Monique Gilbert and Anne Rosenbusch.

Frontispiece redesigned and reproduced with the generous permission and cooperation of Diana Brauchle at botanicmind.com.

Lead epigraph adapted from Roland Barthes, ‘Le grain de la voix’, originally published in Musique en jeu 9 (November 1972), 57–63, our translation. (All subsequent English translations ours unless noted.)

Joy Division, ‘Transmission’. Words and music by Ian Curtis, Peter Hook, Bernard Sumner and Stephen Morris © 1979 Universal Music Publishing Ltd. Reproduced with the permission of Hal Leonard Europe Ltd.

Stephan Hermlin, Scardanelli © 1970, 1985 and 1993 Verlag Klaus Wagenbach, Berlin. English translation permitted by agreement.


XXX, 148
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2021 (March)
German Romanticism audio/radio drama translation
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, New York, Wien, 2020. XXX, 148 pp., 1 fig. col., 20 fig. b/w.

Biographical notes

Síomón Solomon (Author)

Síomón Solomon is a poet, playwright, translator and editor. He holds a doctorate in German Studies from the University of London, for which he completed a thesis on the «schizopoetics» of Friedrich Hölderlin. He lives in Dublin.


Title: Hölderlin’s Poltergeists