Hyperion or the Hermit in Greece

Hyperion or the Hermit in Greece Howard Gaskill
Hölderlin's only novel, Hyperion, is still not widely enough known in the English-speaking world despite its unquestionable importance. Now its moment has come in a new translation by Howard Gaskill, who probably knows the book better than anyone else alive. His version is the fruit of long years of loving attention, and it catches much of the beauty and texture of the original—its rhythms, diction, variety and shifts of style.
Prof. Charlie Louth, University of Oxford

This is a superb version of Hölderlin's novel: accurate, elegant and inspiring. It will at long last bring this major text of German literature within the reach of the Anglophone public. Although Hölderlin is acclaimed as a poet among English-speaking readers and is also known as a philosopher, his achievement as a novelist has hitherto remained unrecognised. Gaskill will remedy this and henceforth this great novel will be read by students of European Romanticism and all lovers of Hölderlin's work.
Prof. Jeremy D. Adler, King's College London


Friedrich Hölderlin’s only novel, Hyperion (1797–99), is a fictional epistolary autobiography that juxtaposes narration with critical reflection. Returning to Greece after German exile, following his part in the abortive uprising against the occupying Turks (1770), and his failure as both a lover and a revolutionary, Hyperion assumes a hermitic existence, during which he writes his letters. Confronting and commenting on his own past, with all its joy and grief, the narrator undergoes a transformation that culminates in the realisation of his true vocation.

Though Hölderlin is now established as a great lyric poet, recognition of his novel as a supreme achievement of European Romanticism has been belated in the Anglophone world. Incorporating the aesthetic evangelism that is a characteristic feature of the age, Hyperion preaches a message of redemption through beauty. The resolution of the contradictions and antinomies raised in the novel is found in the act of articulation itself. To a degree remarkable in a prose work of any length, what it means is inseparable from how it means. In this skilful translation, Gaskill conveys the beautiful music and rhythms of Hölderlin’s language to an English-speaking reader.



Hyperion or the Hermit in Greece
Friedrich Hölderlin. Translated by Howard Gaskill | Forthcoming 2019
Open Book Classics Series, vol. 10 | ISSN: 2054-216X (Print); 2054-2178 (Online)
ISBN Paperback: 9781783746552
ISBN Hardback: 978-1-78374-656-9
ISBN Digital (PDF): 978-1-78374-657-6
ISBN Digital ebook (epub): 978-1-78374-658-3
ISBN Digital ebook (mobi): 978-1-78374-659-0
ISBN XML: 978-1-78374-667-5
DOI: 10.11647/OBP.0160
Subject codes: BIC: D (Literature and literary studies), FC (Classic fiction (pre c. 1945)), FQ (Myth and legend told as fiction), FV (Historical fiction); BISAC: LIT004170 (Literary criticism: German), FOR009000 (FOREIGN LANGUAGE STUDY / German), FIC032000 (FICTION / War & Military)

Howard Gaskill is an Honorary Fellow in German at the University of Edinburgh, where he taught for 32 years, retiring as Reader in 2001. His main research interests have focused on German literature of the Goethe period (in particular Hölderlin); Scottish-German literary relations (in particular Ossianism); ‘Ossian’-Macpherson and his European impact; literary translation.