Holderlin was one among a group of German Romantic poets that were on the periphery of German Idealism. Along with Novalis and Schiller, his work utilizes Idealist concepts in an overtly aesthetic framework. Like many German Romantic poets and philosophers, he is often ignored by the sottish tendency to over indulge in the less memorable and often pointless philosophers of the late 19th and 20th century. This book is a collection of some of his later poetry. His output came to an end after losing his mind. He is often cited as an influence of Nietzsche. This is hardly a worthy addendum to his life and work, however. Nietzsche wished he could have been Holderlin in truth. Nietzsche was able to emulate his madness, but not his aesthetic beauty. He emulated his language, but not his profundity. Sadly, Nietzsche took the high bar that was set by poets and philosophers like Holderlin and lowered it significantly. Egoism is utterly at odds with Holderlin and the Idealists in general. Even though Holderlin did go mad, just as Nietzsche did, Holderlin lost his wits before he lost his mind, whereas Nietzsche lost his mind before he lost his wits. In other words, Holderlin was aware when his illness was approaching and stopped his output before madness crept in; Nietzsche was unaware of his madness when it was already apparent -way before he showed a fondness for horses. I say all of that because the attempt to lump Holderlin in with Nietzsche, as is often done, does him an incredible disservice and misrepresents him terribly. He should be known for something more than an influence of Nietzsche's.
Holderlin's poetry owes a lot to the Greek classic and epic poets. He attempted to use the Greek poetic syntax in the German language. German and Greek share certain commonalities of structure and nuance that allowed Holderlin to do this successfully. In English translation some of this is lost, but he wrote largely in free verse so no rhyming scheme is lost in translation. Not everyone will be able to appreciate his poetry. He is actually unique among the Romantic poets; his structures are often complex and betray a theme not always readily apparent. There is some verse in here that is quite profound and would be utterly lost on the average Nietzschean I would wager.
I have just started to read Holderlin's prose works, which are incredibly important for Idealism; even though they often do not get the credit they deserve. He marks the point between Fichte and Hegel in the tradition of Idealism. Novalis has some place there as well, but his writings are often of a more mystical variety than an Idealist one. I am more familiar with Novalis' prose works and I have not read his poetry, so I don't know if stylistically the two poets are similar. Holderlin does share some basic Romantic tendencies with Blake and Coleridge and I would definitely recommend him to people who like those poets.”