Authors: Heinrich Heine

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

German poet and critic

Identity: Jewish

Author Works

Poetry:

Gedichte, 1822 (Poems, 1937)

Tragödien, nebst einem lyrischen Intermezzo, 1823 (Tragedies, Together with Lyric Intermezzo, 1905)

Buch der Lieder, 1827 (Book of Songs, 1856)

Neue Gedichte, 1844 (8 volumes; New Poems, 1858)

Deutschland: Ein Wintermärchen, 1844 (Germany: A Winter’s Tale, 1892)

Atta Troll, 1847 (English translation, 1876)

Ein Sommernachtstraum, 1847 (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 1876)

Romanzero, 1851 (English translation, 1859)

Gedichte, 1851-1857 (4 volumes; Poems, 1937)

Letzte Gedichte und Gedanken, 1869 (Last Poems and Thoughts, 1937)

Atta Troll, and Other Poems, 1876 (includes Atta Troll and A Midsummer Night’s Dream)

Heinrich Heine: The Poems, 1937

The Complete Poems of Heinrich Heine, 1982

Long Fiction:

Der Rabbi von Bacherach, 1887 (The Rabbi of Bacherach, 1891)

Short Fiction:

Aus den Memoiren des Herrn von Schnabelewopsky, 1910 (The Memoirs of Herr von Schnabelewopski, 1876)

Drama:

Der Doktor Faust, pb. 1851 (libretto; Doktor Faust, 1952)

Nonfiction:

Briefe aus Berlin, 1822

Reisebilder, 1826-1831 (4 volumes; Pictures of Travel, 1855)

Die Bäder von Lucca, 1829 (The Baths of Lucca, 1855)

Zur Geschichte der neueren schönen Literatur in Deutschland, 1833 (Letters Auxiliary to the History of Modern Polite Literature in Germany, 1836)

Französische Zustände, 1833 (French Affairs, 1889)

Der Salon, 1834-1840 (4 volumes; The Salon, 1893)

Zur Geschichte der Religion und Philosophie in Deutschland, 1835 (On the History of Religion and Philosophy in Germany, 1876)

Die romantische Schule, 1836 (expansion of Zur Geschichte der Religion und Philosophie in Deutschland; The Romantic School, 1876)

Über die französische Bühne, 1837 (Concerning the French Stage, 1891-1905)

Shakespeares Mädchen und Frauen, 1838 (Shakespeare’s Maidens and Ladies, 1891)

Ludwig Börne: Eine Denkschrift von H. Heine, 1840 (Ludwig Börne: Recollections of a Revolutionist, 1881)

Les Dieux en exil, 1853 (Gods in Exile, 1962)

Lutetia: Berichte über Politik, Kunst, und Volksleben, 1854 (Lutetia: Reports on Politics, Art, and Popular Life, 1891-1905)

Vermischte Schriften, 1854 (3 volumes)

De l’Allemagne, 1855 (2 volumes)

Miscellaneous:

The Works of Heinrich Heine, 1891-1905 (12 volumes)

Biography

Heinrich Heine (HI-nuh) was born Chaim Harry Heine to Jewish parents in Düsseldorf, Prussia, on or about December 13, 1797. At the age of seventeen, he tried, unwillingly, to engage in a business career, first in Frankfurt and later in Hamburg under his rich uncle, Salomon Heine, a banker. There he fell in love with his uncle’s daughter, Amalie, who inspired his earliest lyrics, “Youthful Sorrows.” In 1819, although his interests were already decidedly literary, Heine attended the University of Bonn as a law student. A year later, he went to the University of Göttingen, from which, after having interrupted his studies for a time to pursue his literary and artistic interests in Berlin, he eventually received his law degree in 1825. During that same year he was received into the Lutheran church, a practical measure he viewed with misgivings.{$I[AN]9810000538}{$I[A]Heine, Heinrich}{$I[geo]GERMANY;Heine, Heinrich}{$I[geo]JEWISH;Heine, Heinrich}{$I[tim]1797;Heine, Heinrich}

Heinrich Heine

(Library of Congress)

Heine published his first book of poems in 1822, to be followed by two romantic verse plays, which are considered to be of little dramatic importance. After leaving Göttingen, he began to travel, visiting the North Sea and England as well as various German cities in a fruitless attempt to find a university position. By this time, he was no longer in love with Amalie but found himself instead attracted to her younger sister, Therese, who became the inspiration for poems in the “Home-Coming Cycle” (1826). In 1826, “Die Harzreise” (journey through the Harz mountains) appeared, a mixture of impressionistic travel sketches and verses that became the first volume of Pictures of Travel. Three other installments were published, the last one in 1831, and in that year, weary of his failure to find a congenial post and restless in Germany, he went to Paris, a voluntary exile in the new constitutional monarchy.

Book of Songs, Heine’s most important collection of poetry during his period of residence in Germany, comprised all his work to that time; it contains some of his finest poems, including “Belshazzar,” “The Two Grenadiers,” and the “Pilgrimage to Kevlaar.” His characteristic combination of romantic longing and irony are first fully revealed in this volume.

Heine said that before emigrating to France he was a poet; afterward he was a journalist, critic, and historian. This statement is largely true although, despite his absorption in philology, philosophy, and religion, poetic inspiration never left him completely. The short lieder in the 1844 collection New Poems are as lyrical in intensity and his love poems as ironic in tone as in any of his earlier work.

Although it is doubtful that he ever became a French citizen, Heine received a pension from the French government from about 1836 to 1848. He returned to his native land only twice. After meeting his “Mathilde,” an uneducated Frenchwoman, in 1834, he married her in 1841. Soon after the neurological disorders to which he had been subject for many years became more severe, and from the mid-1840’s he suffered from spinal paralysis. During the last eight years of his life he was an invalid, confined to his bed, his days softened only by his wife’s devoted care and visits from distinguished writers who recognized his genius.

As early as 1833 Heine had begun sending to Europe Littéraire and Revue des deux mondes the essays later collected in On the History of Religion and Philosophy in Germany and The Romantic School, works which treat, respectively, German thought from Martin Luther to Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and the German Romantic poets. Rather than being systematic studies, these are the witty and shrewd reflections of a comprehensive mind, the preoccupations of an imaginative scholar.

“Atta Troll,” in which the advice of an escaped bear to his cubs makes up the major part of the poem, is a long polemic in trochaics that served to release the poet’s feelings about topical affairs. With Romanzero Heine reinvigorated his dispersed poetic energies in a series of poems that reach the heights of the tenderness, delicacy, and somber wit of which he was so variously capable. These comprise ballads, lyrical cycles, and shorter songs, including the famous “Hebrew Melodies.” At this time Heine also wrote a ballet libretto titled Docktor Faust and an essay, The Gods in Exile. His last important works were the Last Poems and Thoughts, in which the poems are more savage, mocking, ribald, and “Geständnisse” (Confessions, 1981) in volume 1 of Vermischte Schriften, a defense of his connection with the Romantic school. “Die Passion Blume” was the last of Heine’s poems, written a week or two before his death; with characteristic irony it describes a dead man lying in a tomb sculptured in Hellenic and biblical bas-reliefs that quarrel noisily while he communes with Death.

BibliographyHermand, Jost, and Robert C. Holub, eds. Heinrich Heine’s Contested Identities: Politics, Religion, and Nationalism in Nineteenth-Century Germany. New York: Peter Lang, 1999. A collection of essays concerning Heine’s identity, which was formed and reformed, revised and modified, in relationship to the politics, religion, and nationalism of his era. The essays offer an understanding of Heine’s predicaments and choices as well as the parameters placed on him by the exigencies of the time.Justis, Diana Lynn. The Feminine in Heine’s Life and Oeuvre: Self and Other. New York: Peter Lang, 1997. Heine’s literary representations of women and interactions with women vividly demonstrate his position as a marginal German-Jewish writer of the nineteenth century. Heine, like many Jews of that era, internalized the European cultural stereotype of the Jew as “woman,” that is, as essentially inferior and marginal.Nisbet, Delia Fabbroni-Giannotti. Heinrich Heine and Giacomo Leopardi: The Rhetoric of Midrash. New York: Peter Lang, 2000. Provides a critical analysis of the similarities between the rhetorical strategies of Heine’s text Ludwig Börne, Leopardi’s “Il Cantico del Gallo Silvestre,” and the midrashic process. In their texts, Heine and Leopardi interweave biblical references, historical events, and personal encounters with their narrative and juxtapose them to a contemporary situation, thus presenting the reader with their interpretation of an existential experience. These narratives are midrashic in inviting multiple interpretations of equal validity.Pawel, Ernst. The Poet Dying: Heinrich Heine’s Last Years in Paris. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1995. In this biography of Heine, Pawel portrays a poet at the height of his creativity in the last eight years of his life, when he was confined to his bed with a mysterious ailment.
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