Extreme Philology: Benjamin, Adorno, McCall and the Enigmas of Hölderlin

This essay addresses the stakes and details of the idea and actuality of philology, broadly and narrowly understood, in its application especially to the work of Friedrich Hölderlin. Hölderlin presents an extreme challenge for philological understanding and the most compelling responses tend to be examples of "extreme philology" exemplified in the words of Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, and Tom McCall. One particular focus is on the under-scrutinized concept of "das Gedichtete" that Benjamin (almost) invents to help make sense of what is going on in Hölderlin's poetry.