Hölderlin's poetizing of the poet as demigod [154-155]

terms of what it poetizes and the way in which it poetizes, is determined from out of that which is itself to be poetized, because it "is" only as something poetized. Hölderlin's discussions in these letters are not contributions to some future aesthetics of German "literature" but rather a meditation on what it is that is essentially to be poetized. And that is: the becoming homely of the historical humankind of the Germans within the history of the West. Yet the becoming homely and being unhomely of the Germans is not other than that of the Greeks merely because the Germans are historically later than the Greeks and remain admitted into the historical commencement of Western history in the Greek world. Rather, Hölderlin recognizes that the historicality of these two humankinds is intrinsically different, insofar as what is proper to the Greeks and what is foreign to them is other than what is proper and what is foreign to the Germans. And from Hölderlin's perspective, the difference between these two humankinds shows itself in the fact that they are different in a reciprocal manner, which essentially means: They encounter one another and are thus related to one another. What for the Greeks is their own is what is foreign to the Germans: and what is foreign to the Germans is what is proper to the Greeks.

What is properly one's own, and appropriating it, is what is most difficult. Yet learning what is foreign, as standing in the service of such appropriation, is easier for precisely this reason. That which is easier lets one more readily excel. For this reason the Greeks, in that which is foreign to them, that is, the gift of presentation, excel us in what is our own—in the "clarity of presentation." And for this reason it could also be that the Germans—granted that they learn to use freely what is their own and do not evade the conditions required for such learning—might, in what is foreign to them (the "fire from the heavens"), come to excel what is proper to the Greeks. If, that is, they have become more open, so that "what illuminates" (the heavens) is "open to our open view" ("Der Gang aufs Land," IV, 112). It could be that a "guest-house" (IV, 3 14) and establishment might be founded and built for the gods, one that the Greek temples can no longer approach.

Whether or not, in determining the historical interrelation between Greek and German historicality. Hölderlin has already hit upon what belongs to the commencement is something we may ask only at that time when Hölderlin's word has truly been heard and when, as the poetizing that it is, it has awakened an appropriate obedience to it and out of such obedience a specific way of listening has been coined. Until such a time, however, it remains a decisive insight that the historical relation between Greek and German humankind can tolerate neither assimilation nor equalization. For this reason all mere "humanist" association and revitalization