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This is a lecture course presented at the University of Freiburg
during summer semester 1942. The course is split into three parts.
First Heidegger looks for metaphysics in "The Ister",
then he returns to a passage of Sophocles' Antigone he had used,
more briefly, in a 1935 course, Introduction to Metaphysics .
Finally he examines more of "The Ister". Hölderlin's
poems have been translated especially for this book, to help
understand Heidegger's interpretation of the German.
The only way to rescue modern culture from self-destruction is to resuscitate the spirit of tragedy. Nietzsche sees hope in the figure of Richard Wagner, who is the first modern composer to create music that expresses the deepest urges of the human will, unlike most contemporary opera, which reflects the smallness of the modern mind. Wagner’s music was anticipated by Arthur Schopenhauer, who saw music as a universal language that makes sense of experience at a more primary level than concepts, and Immanuel Kant, whose philosophy exposes the limitations of Socratic reasoning. Not coincidentally, Wagner, Schopenhauer, and Kant are all German, and Nietzsche looks to German culture to create a new golden age.