Music (in the Attic sense of musiké) and politics are intimately connected in Hölderlin’s thinking. Musiké organises the rhythm of ideas («Rhythmus der Vorstellungen») in the tragedies of Sophocles by integrating the different competencies of humans. Nevertheless, Hölderlin’s translation of Sophocles aims not at a rewriting of musiké to compensate for the deficits of the French Revolution (cf. Herder, Schiller or Hegel). Rather, he acknowledges the fact that an open society consists in a permanent struggle for translation. Even this society is not to be abstracted from the concrete “musical”, i.e. metric and prosodic, features of translation. The paper focuses on Hölderlin’s use of polymetric features in anticipation of a society that will no longer be “narratable”.
In his translation of Antigone Hölderlin certainly used the ancient scholia, which he read at the margins of the edition he had available (the so called Brubachiana, Frankfurt 1544), or in another source (perhaps the commentary on the Theban plays of Sophocles by Joachim Camerarius, 1534). This paper analyzes the beginning of Hölderlin’s translation (vv. 1-11) in a close reading focused on its relationship with the Greek text and its tradition; special attention will be paid to the poetic significance of Hölderlin’s lexical choices. The aim is to demonstrate the inner poetic coherence of Hölderlin’s translation and, as a consequence, to hint at the consistency of his interpretation of Sophocles’ Antigone.