Modernity, Poetry and the Sacred. The Legacy of Hölderlin in Heidegger, Blanchot, Lacoue-Labarthe and Nancy

Conference organized by The Centre of Philosophy of Culture (University of Antwerp) in collaboration with the Colloquium ‘Fenomenologie, poëtica, ethiek’

University of Antwerp, 11 May 2010


The masterclass Art, Literature and Society, a cooperation between the departments of philosophy at the Antwerp and Tilburg Universities, analyzes the complex relations between art, culture and politics. Since Kant and the Romantics, art and culture emancipate from cognitive and religious domestication. This emancipation, however, created high expectations with regard to the possibility of reshaping society by means of a unification of art and politics. This twofold character of modernity asks for a reflection on the limits of the subject in general, the limits between the human and the divine, and those between art and other forms of poièsis.

Friedrich Hölderlin (1770 – 1843), who had an important influence on the birth of the German Frühromantik in the context of German idealism, is well known as one of the primary references of modern poetry, in which the poetic word receives an essential, original meaning. At several occasions, however, he relates this meaning directly to the experience of the sacred in which is involved the task of the poet: is it to mediate between the human and the divine or to keep them separated? The conference will focus on this interconnection between the poetic and the sacred in Hölderlins poetry and its critical evaluation in the 20th century philosophy of Martin Heidegger, Maurice Blanchot, Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe and Jean-Luc Nancy.

Conference Program

Introduction by Frans van Peperstraten (University of Tilburg)

Divine Imagination. Between Hölderlin and Heidegger by Jennifer Gosetti-Ferencei (Fordham University)

Response to Jennifer Gosetti-Ferencei by Chris Bremmers (Radboud University of Nijmegen) and discussion

Lunch Break

Blanchot’s Hölderlin by Kevin Hart (University of Virginia)

Response to Kevin Hart by Arthur Cools (University of Antwerp) and discussion

Coffee Break

On literature today and the philosophy of Lacoue-Labarthe and Nancy by Aukje van Rooden (University of Utrecht)


Students present their outlines for their papers, speakers comment

End of conference