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David Constantine

Print publication date: 1988

Print ISBN-13: 9780198157885

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198157885.001.0001

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Tübingen, 1788–1793

Tübingen, 1788–1793

(p.18) 2 Tübingen, 1788–1793

David Constantine

Oxford University Press

In October 1788, Friedrich Hölderlin's year left Maulbronn and entered the seminary in Tübingen. In the first term away he visited Louise Nast and effusive letters went to and fro. They were intending to marry; but the engagement was broken off — by mutual agreement. There is more to say about Hölderlin's failure ever to find domestic peace and quiet; but what concerns this chapter is his own explanation of his characteristic restlessness. He was a poor match, he told Louise, because he was chronically melancholic, and the cause of his melancholy was unsatisfied ambition. Even in his earliest poetry the most serious of the more personal themes was that of poetic ambition. From the start Hölderlin wanted nothing so much as he wanted success in poetry. Hölderlin did not much enjoy his five years in the Stift; and evidence from elsewhere of the life in that institution makes his discontent understandable.

Keywords:   Friedrich Hölderlin, Tübingen, Louise Nast, melancholy, poetry, personal themes, poetic ambition, Stift

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