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A Companion to the Works of Heinrich Heine

A Companion to the Works of Heinrich Heine

Edited by Roger F. Cook
Copyright Date: 2002
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 388
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  • Book Info
    A Companion to the Works of Heinrich Heine
    Book Description:

    As the most prominent German-Jewish Romantic writer, Heinrich Heine (1797-1856) became a focal point for much of the tension generated by the Jewish assimilation to German culture in a time marked by a growing emphasis on the shared ancestry of the German Volk. As both an ingenious composer of Romantic verse and the originator of modernist German prose, he defied nationalist-Romantic concepts of creative genius that grounded German greatness in an idealist tradition of Dichter und Denker. And as a brash, often reckless champion of freedom and social justice, he challenged not only the reactionary ruling powers of Restoration Germany but also the incipient nationalist ideology that would have fateful consequences for the new Germany--consequences he often portended with a prophetic vision born of his own experience. Reaching to the heart of the `German question,' the controversies surrounding Heine have been as intense since his death as they were in his own lifetime, often serving as an acid test for important questions of national and social consciousness. This new volume of essays by scholars from Germany, Britain, Canada, and the United States offers new critical insights on key recurring issues in his work: the symbiosis of German and Jewish culture; emerging nationalism among the European peoples; critical views of Romanticism and modern philosophy; European culture on the threshold to modernity; irony, wit, and self-critique as requisite elements of a modern aesthetic; changing views on teleology and the dialectics of history; and final thoughts and reconsiderations from his last, prolonged years in a sickbed. Contributors: Michael Perraudin, Paul Peters, Roger F. Cook, Willi Goetschel, Gerhard Höhn, Paul Reitter, Robert C. Holub, Jeffrey Grossman, Anthony Phelan, Joseph A. Kruse, and George F. Peters. Roger F. Cook is professor of German at the University of Missouri, Columbia.

    eISBN: 978-1-57113-605-3
    Subjects: Language & Literature
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Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations
  1. Front Matter (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Chronology of Heine’s Life (pp. ix-x)
  5. Heine’s Major Works (pp. xi-xiii)
  6. Abbreviations (pp. xiv-xiv)
  7. Introduction (pp. 1-34)
    Roger F. Cook

    Heinrich Heine came into the world in 1797, at the beginning of Napoleon’s rise to power, which would shake the foundations of European society, and by his death in 1856 Heine’s life had spanned a transitional period in German history stamped by hope, disillusionment, anticipation, and suspended action. His generation inherited a dying system of social structures and cultural values without possessing a clear vision of either the political or the social order that could replace it. In this state of limbo on the threshold to modernity, the new generation of GermanDichter und Denkerwere torn between a turn...

  8. The Romantic Poet
    • Illusions Lost and Found: The Experiential World of Heine’s Buch der Lieder (pp. 37-54)
      Michael Perraudin

      The great literary -historical importance of Heine’sBuch der Liederof 1827 is as a document of generational disillusion. It articulates as no other work in German does the combination of disappointment, skepticism, irony, and self-pity that was the prevailing mood of the first post-Romantic generation, those born around 1800 and coming to maturity at the beginning of the 1820s. Such other German-language authors as Mörike, Grillparzer, Immermann, and Nestroy in their different ways also represent this spirit. ButBuch der Liederis its classic document.

      In the widest sense what is at issue is the demise of idealism — political,...

    • A Walk on the Wild Side: Heine’s Eroticism (pp. 55-104)
      Paul Peters

      “Sie liebt michnicht” (HSA 20:19). Heine’s exile is traditionally dated from 1831, the year of his move from Germany to Paris. In a certain sense, however, one might almost be tempted to date it from 1816, the year of his move from Düsseldorf to Hamburg. For from that year date the beginnings of his fateful, unrequited love for his cousin Amalie, whose initial yet lasting imprint is faithfully recorded here in Heine’s letter to the friend and confidante of his youth, Christian Sethe. And even twelve years later, in Heine’sBuch le Grand, we read: “Sie war liebenswürdig, und...

    • The Riddle of Love: Romantic Poetry and Historical Progress (pp. 105-136)
      Roger F. Cook

      It is not easy to say why Heine wrote Romantic poetry. On the face of it, there are some factors that seem obvious. When he first began to pursue or at least envision for himself a career as a literary writer (sometime around 1816), Romanticism was at its peak in terms of the broad public perception of it as the cutting edge of cultural innovation and visionary insight, but was already in decline as a revolutionary cultural movement that was challenging the status quo in German literature. As is perhaps the case for most aspiring writers, Heine wanted to stake...

  9. Philosophy, History, Mythology
    • Nightingales Instead of Owls: Heine’s Joyous Philosophy (pp. 139-168)
      Willi Goetschel

      Whether it has been the result of the unquestioned hold of convention or the consequence of the division of labor between the academic disciplines dictated by the institutional organization of research, Heine’s prose and poetry are still widely viewed as two distinctly different literary projects. But the separation of the aesthetic from the political significance of his work has limited the comprehension of the critical scope of Heine’s writing. Almost exclusive focus on the aesthetic and political implications has led many critics to the assumption that there are two neatly disjunctive spheres, which, in turn, can be equally neatly integrated...

    • Eternal Return or Indiscernible Progress? Heine’s Conception of History after 1848 (pp. 169-200)
      Gerhard Höhn

      Heine posed this question in March of 1848 after witnessing a victorious revolution in Paris. For a good one and a half decades he had predicted that what had begun in 1789 and continued in 1830 would soon be brought to a close. All the more paradoxical then, that such a question should haunt one who had never tired of ascertaining the reasonable course of the “affairs of this world,” of interpreting the omens of future progress for the German public, and of branding them into its consciousness. In fact, Heine had initially sought to accelerate the flow of events...

    • Heinrich Heine and the Discourse of Mythology (pp. 201-226)
      Paul Reitter

      Thus Heine represents his renunciation of the Greek mythological figures that pervade his writings from the early poem “Die Götter Griechenlands” through the expository worksZur Geschichte der Religion und Philosophie in DeutschlandandElementargeisterto the ballet librettoDie Göttin Diana, which he wrote shortly before the revolutionary tumult of 1848. The account is fictional, of course. It is hard to image that Heine ever lay prostrate in the Louvre. And it is even harder to imagine that Heine actually lay prostrate in the Louvre in front of a famous statue of Venus the very last time he went...

  10. Religion, Assimilation, and Jewish Culture
    • Troubled Apostate: Heine’s Conversion and Its Consequences (pp. 229-250)
      Robert C. Holub

      Heine often wrote about himself, but the status of these selfreferences should not always be considered autobiographical. Heine’s first-person comments have a variety of different functions in his writings: some do indeed impart information relating to Heine and his life, but many others are included to create an effect. If we want to be less charitable to Heine, then we could simply state that Heine sometimes lies about himself, but we would want to note that his falsehoods are hardly ever without a purpose. When Heine calls himself the first man of the century, for example, he does not literally...

    • Heine and Jewish Culture: The Poetics of Appropriation (pp. 251-282)
      Jeffrey Grossman

      Heine research is famous for the debates it provokes, and perhaps no question is less settled than that of Heine’s response to Jewish culture, a question also bound up with that of Heine’s place in German culture. Critics have sought in various ways to resolve this question, which Oskar Walzel, writing a century ago, asserted to be “the most important problem in the field of Heine research.” This article seeks to intervene in the discourse on the question of Heine, Jewish culture, and Jewish identity, and, it is hoped, to offer an alternative approach to those questions. It argues first...

  11. Modernity:: Views from the Poet’s Crypt
    • Mathilde’s Interruption: Archetypes of Modernity in Heine’s Later Poetry (pp. 285-314)
      Anthony Phelan

      In his centenary lecture in 1956 Adorno tried to fix Heine’s historical position by way of a comparison with Baudelaire. In this view, by being subjected to the processes of reproduction in the literary sphere, Heine was brought into direct contact with the most modern currents of the nineteenth century — “Damit ragt Heine in die Moderne des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts hinein gleich Baudelaire,”¹ but while Baudelaire heroically extracts his imagery from the increasingly corrosive experience of modernity, transfiguring the loss of all images into itself an image, Heine apparently, in his own historical moment, was unable to develop sufficient resistance to...

    • Late Thoughts: Reconsiderations from the “Matratzengruft” (pp. 315-342)
      Joseph A. Kruse

      Whenever the subject of Heinrich Heine’s final years crops up, his biographers and commentators tend to display a degree of diffidence. This is excusable since the depiction of mortality and death as a tangible reality stripped of fictionalization has never been a popular topic among the living. Though there are a number of other topics and motifs to keep it company, necessity nonetheless compelled the author to devote the end of his days to this abysmal theme, which to him became literally a life-and-death struggle. However, he handled it with such a sense of ease and liberty that his readers...

  12. Reception in Germany
    • Heine and Weimar (pp. 345-360)
      George F. Peters

      Of the many puzzles surrounding Heinrich Heine’s political views, the question of what sort of political system he envisioned for Germany is perhaps the most perplexing. In two prominent places in his work, Heine ventures a prediction about Germany’s future. In both cases, his vision is maddeningly ambiguous. He tantalizes the reader with the expectation that years of keen observation and extensive reporting on the political and social scene in Europe will have led to an informed judgment about the further course of historical developments. But deliberately, some might say maliciously, he stops short of making any clear prediction.


  13. Notes on the Contributors (pp. 361-364)
  14. Index (pp. 365-373)
  15. Back Matter (pp. 374-374)