Norbert von Hellingrath

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Norbert von Hellingrath.

Norbert von Hellingrath (21 March 1888 – 14 December 1916) was a German literary scholar whose main contribution to literary scholarship is the first complete edition of the works of the poet Friedrich Hölderlin.


Norbert von Hellingrath as a soldier in World War I.

Hellingrath was born in Munich: his father was an army officer and his mother claimed descent from the Byzantine Emperor John VI Cantacuzenus. He studied philosophy in Munich. Attracted to Hölderlin’s poetry from an early age, in 1910 he provided a prefatory essay for the first publication of Hölderlin’s translations of Pindar (published in Jena, 1911). From 1912–14 Hellingrath lived and taught in Paris, during which time he began work on his monumental first-ever 'Complete Edition' of Hölderlin, Hölderlins Samtliche Werke, collecting together not only all the poems in their variant forms, the novel Hyperion, the unfinished drama Empedocles, the articles and translations, but also all traceable letters and written accounts of the poet. The enterprise was planned in six volumes. Hellingrath published Volumes I and V in Munich in 1913 (Volume I co-edited with Friedrich Seebass), and Volume IV appeared posthumously in Munich in 1916. On the outbreak of World War I he volunteered for army service and was killed at the Battle of Verdun at the age of 28. The edition was completed after the war by Ludwig von Pigenot and Friedrich Seebass, the remaining volumes appearing in Berlin in 1922-23. Though since superseded by two subsequent complete editions (the Stuttgarter and Frankfurter Ausgabe), Hellingrath's pioneering work continues to have value. In the years before the war he became friendly with the poet Stefan George, who commemorated him in a poem, "Norbert", published in 1928.[1]


  1. ^ Elden, Stuart (2001). Mapping the Present: Heidegger, Foucault and the Project of a Spatial History (reprint, illustrated ed.). Continuum International Publishing Group. ISBN 0-8264-5847-5.