The loss of madness: a tribute to Hölderlin

by Bernard Cadogan

This limited edition book by New Zealand poet Bernard Cadogan brings together 31 of his poems as a meditation on the work of the German poet, Friedrich Hölderlin. The reader is recommended to read one poem each day for a month, allowing yourself the rest of the day to engage with it.

Each poem is a response either to reading a poem by Hölderlin, or to his situation. Bernard uses an adapted villanelle form, so as to be as much unlike as Hölderlin as possible, allowing Bernard’s own voice some space, and time.

In Germany, Hölderlin is a vital part of the secondary and tertiary curriculum, acting as a unifier over and above ideology. Yet Hölderlin has no counterpart in English literature. What makes Hölderlin different from British Romantics is not just the greater power and dynamism of his verse, but a successful intellectual condensation that eluded his British counterparts.

Living a traditional poet’s life as a semi-exile in English, Bernard Cadogan is one those rare thinkers who dares imagine Aotearoa New Zealand politics in the wide horizon of international cultural discourses. At the same time, he has a deep commitment to indigenous ideas of education, creativity and communitarian participation.

‘Aotearoa New Zealand will become a republic’ says Bernard Cadogan. ‘If we want to make this an inauguration and release of our energies, and not just an accidental follow-up to the installation of a new monarch, New Zealanders would do well to consider the abundant and dynamic verse of the great German republican, Friedrich Hölderlin.’




Born in New Zealand in 1961, Bernard Cadogan is an accomplished poet, philosopher and historian. Since 1996, he has worked as a political advisor and speech writer, in particular as the NZ prime minister’s foreign affairs adviser, and has been a consultant to the New Zealand treasury since 2011. He was appointed an honorary advisor to the Māori king in 2015.

He is especially interested in the philosophy of Paul Ricœur, John Rawls and Charles Taylor, and his current focus is on postcolonial thought, the formation of empires, and the resilience, relevance and viability of small nation states.

Bernard holds a DPhil from Oxford University on the political thought, racial policy and constitutionalism of Sir George Grey (1812–98) in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Bernard lives in the Cherwell Valley near Oxford with his wife Jacqueline and their children.



Paperback (limited edition)
NZD $22.95 in our Tuwhiri online store (inc. p&p to New Zealand), and in bookshops
GBP £11.99 in UK bookshops, and from the Tuwhiri online store (inc. p&p to the UK)
154 pages • 150mm x 205mm x 9mm
ISBN : 978-0-473-61891-9

If you would like a book mailed to you in another country, send an email to letting us know where you want the book mailed to.

ePub • NZD $9.95
ISBN : 978-0-473-61892-6