Thank you Germany: Part 081: Hölderlin has it in him

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Specialist: Sanjay Sauldie

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The poet Hölderlin is one of the very special events in German literary history. He was initially productive in the first phase of his life. After the failure of the French Revolution and a private relationship, Hölderlin withdrew into an enclosed inner life. He went mad and spent the second half of his life in a mental derangement in a tower in the city of Tübingen. A family looked after the poet here and also kept his notes. It is a stroke of luck that they did so. Both Hölderlin's early poems and his later works are of interest to literary scholars today.

It is no longer just a case of Hölderlin going mad. Some researchers suspect that Hölderlin was just as disappointed by the course of the French Revolution as he was by a personal relationship. He was employed as a private tutor by a Frankfurt family. Here he fell unhappily in love with the lady of the house. The relationship could not have lasted long. Whether it was really a case of mental derangement or a deliberate retreat into the inner world is a matter of critical debate. In fact, Hölderlin was the only one of his former roommates during his student days who remained loyal to the revolutionary views of the French Jacobins. Hölderlin shared a room with the philosopher Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel and Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling at the Studienstift in Tübingen. The trio developed important ideas that were to establish German Idealism. There is also a major dispute about the authorship of these ideas. Some attribute them to Hegel, others see Hölderlin as their founder. In any case, the friendship between the three comrades established a ground-breaking philosophy.

Hölderlin was only discovered as a poet at a later date - and in a roundabout way. He was initially appropriated by the National Socialists. The word "fatherland" appears in some of his poems. The Nazi state gave these texts to the soldiers. However, Hölderlin was not a nationalist. His fatherland was not Germany either, but rather ancient Greece. For a long time, people did not know what to do with the disturbing texts from the second half of his life. Hölderlin was only rediscovered in the 1960s. Dietrich Eberhard Sattler's edition of his works paved the way for this. It provided for an open confrontation with a revolutionary Hölderlin who had not gone mad.

Although there may be different opinions about this dispute, the debate about the work of the world-famous poet is a valuable cultural asset in any case. In many countries around the world, his special story is valued just as much as his writings. In Tübingen, Hölderlin's tower can be visited on site. Today it houses a small museum that attracts many visitors. They want to visit the place where the poet spent the second half of his life. In Tübingen, this place is located in the centre of a beautiful town full of half-timbered houses. The city's university and the lively intellectual life of the present have not forgotten the old resident from the past. Congresses are held here time and again, at which Hölderlin's complex literary work is discussed anew.

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Sanjay Sauldie, born in India, grew up in Germany, studied mathematics and computer science at the University of Cologne, did his Master of Sciences (M.Sc.) at the University of Salford (Manchester, UK) on digital disruption and digital transformation (2017) and was trained at EMERITUS (Singapore) in the MIT method of design thinking (2018). He is Director of the European Internet Marketing Institute EIMIA. Awarded the Internet Oscar "Golden Web Award" by the International World Association of Webmasters in Los Angeles/USA and twice the "Innovation Award of the Initiative Mittelstand", he is one of the most sought-after European experts on the topics of digitalisation in companies and society. In his lectures and seminars, he ignites a firework of impulses from practice for practice. He manages to make the complex world of digitalisation understandable for everyone in simple terms. Sanjay Sauldie captivates his audience with his vivid language and encourages them to put his valuable tips into practice immediately - a real asset to any event!