Fall 2013 - Graduate Course Descriptions

Bambach, Charles
Discipline and Number
HUHI 6329 Section 001
T Time 4:00 PM - 6:45 PM
Course Title
Philosophical Issues and the Humanities

Description of Course:

In this graduate seminar we will read the works of Friedrich Holderlin & Martin Heidegger ( two of the most significant figures in poetry/philosophy of the last two centuries). My purpose in setting these two in conversation is to pursue a line of thinking that hopes to open up a different view of language---above all, its significance for the way we negotiate not merely literary or philosophical readings of texts, but the way we exist in the world in the epoch of technological language/thinking.

We will read each work closely, sometimes spending an entire session on a single poem, reading line-by-line in a slow, hermeneutically focused way. Holderlin's poems are difficult and resistant to easy analysis. They require a rare kind of concentration on detail, context, texture, resonance, image, timbre, and mythical setting. We will read poems such as "Germania," "The Rhine," "Patmos," "What is God?" "Remembrance" and "The Ister." We will then turn to Heidegger's interpretation of these poems and focus on how he reads them against his own (sometimes politically distorting) philosophical concerns.

My hope is to spur a dialogue between poetry and philosophy whereby each becomes inconceivable without considering the other. Language in all its forms (style/rhetoric/translation/historical register) will be our theme.

Required Texts:

Friedrich Holderlin, Selected Poems and Fragments
Friedrich Holderlin, Hyperion
Friedrich Holderlin, Death of Empedocles
Friedrich Holderlin, Essays & Letters
Martin Heidegger, Elucidations of Holderlin's Poetry
Martin Heidegger, Holderlin's Hymn, "The Ister"

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

A 12-15 page essay on some theme we have pursued during the semester. A 1-2 page Protokoll delivered in class; a 1-2 page paper proposal due 4 weeks before the end of the semester.

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