Christian Johann Heinrich Heine (born as Harry Hebrew: Chaim Heine December 13, 1797 – February 17, 1856) was one of the most significant Germany poets. The Walhalla temple in Bavaria plans to add Heine's bust to their collection in 2009.
Heine was born into an Acculturation Judaism family in Düsseldorf, Germany, which was a part of Prussia at the time. His father was a tradesman, who, during the French occupation, found new prospects opening up for Jews. When his father's business failed, Heine was sent to Hamburg, where his rich banker uncle Salomon Heine encouraged him to undertake a commercial career. After Heine's business career failed he turned to the study of law at the universities of University of Göttingen, University of Bonn and Humboldt University of Berlin, but found that he was more interested in literature than law, although he eventually took a degree in law in 1825, at the same time he had decided to convert from Judaism to Protestantism. This was necessary because of the severe restrictions on Jews in many of the German states; in many cases, they were forbidden to enter certain professions. These included university lecturing, which was a particular ambition for Heine. As Heine said in self-justification, his conversion was "the ticket of admission into European culture", although it proved to be nothing of the sort - and many others, for example his cousin and benefactor the composer Giacomo Meyerbeer, found no need to convert to enjoy such benefits. For much of the rest of his life Heine wrestled over the incompatible elements of his German and his Jewish identities.
Heine is best known for his lyric poetry, much of which (especially from his earlier works) was set to music by lieder composers, most notably by Robert Schumann. Other composers who have set Heine include Franz Schubert, Felix Mendelssohn, Fanny Mendelssohn, Johannes Brahms, Hugo Wolf, and Richard Wagner; and in the 20th century Hans Werner Henze and Gerald Hugh Tyrwhitt-Wilson, 14th Baron Berners.
As a poet Heine made his debut with Gedichte ("Poems") in 1821. Heine's one-sided infatuation with his cousins Amalie and Therese later inspired him to write some of his loveliest lyrics; Buch der Lieder ("Book of Songs", 1827) was Heine's first comprehensive collection of verse.
Heine left Germany for Paris, France in 1831. There he associated with utopian socialism, including the followers of Claude Henri de Rouvroy, Comte de Saint-Simon, who preached an egalitarian classless paradise based on meritocracy.
He remained in Paris, with the exception of a visit in 1843 to Germany, for the rest of his life. German authorities banned his works and those of others who were considered to be associated with the Young Germany movement in 1835.
His poetry modulates continually between a romantic-conservative and a radical, satiric stress. Politics and personal mood made him a commuter in Europe.
Heine continued, however, to comment on German politics and society from a distance. Heine wrote Deutschland. Ein Wintermärchen ( Germany. A Winter's Tale), an account of his visit to Germany the previous year and the political climate there, in 1844; his friend, Karl Marx, published it in his newspaper Vorwärts ("Forward") in 1844. Heine also satirized the utopian politics of those opponents of the regime still in Germany in Atta Troll: Ein Sommernachtstraum ("Atta Troll: A Midsummer Night's Dream") in 1847.
Heine wrote movingly of the experience of exile in his poem In der Fremde ("Abroad"):
: Ich hatte einst ein schönes Vaterland.
: Der Eichenbaum
: Wuchs dort so hoch, die Veilchen nickten sanft.
: Es war ein Traum.
: Das küßte mich auf deutsch, und sprach auf deutsch
: (Man glaubt es kaum,
: Wie gut es klang) das Wort: »Ich liebe dich!«
: Es war ein Traum.
: Once I had a lovely fatherland.
: The oak
: Grew there so high, the violets gently swayed.
: It was a dream.
: I felt a German kiss, heard German words
: (One can hardly believe how good it sounded)
: The phrase: "I Love you"
:It was a dream.
Heine suffered from ailments that kept him bedridden for the last eight years of his life (some have suggested he suffered from multiple sclerosis or syphilis). He died in Paris and is interred in the Cimetière de Montmartre.
Among the books known to have been burned on Berlin's Opernplatz in 1933, after the Nazism raid on the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft, were the works of Heine - as a result, one of his most famous lines, "Where they burn books, they will, in the end, burn human beings too" ( Almansor, 1821), is now engraved on the ground at the site.
Though these lines are often quoted, it is only rarely mentioned that Heine originally wrote them in reference to the burning of the Koran by the Spanish Inquisition, in an effort to eradicate Islam in the Iberian Peninsula which had been a major center of Medieval Islamic culture.
Controversy in Israel
In Israel, the attitude to Heine has long been the subject of debate between secularists, who number him among the most prominent figures of Jewish history, and the religious who consider his conversion to Christiantity to be an unforgivable act of betrayal. Due to such debates, the city of Tel-Aviv was very late in naming a street for Heine, and the street finally chosen to bear his name is located in a rather desloate industrial zone rather than in the vicinity of Tel-Aviv University which would have been more appropriate. A sarcastic comment in Ha'ir (a left-leaning local Tel-Aviv magazine) suggested that "The Exiling of Heine Street" symbolically re-enacted the course of Heine's own life.
Auf Flügeln des Gesanges Gedichte, 1821 Tragödien, nebst einem lyrischen Intermezzo, 1823 Reisebilder, 1826-31 Die Harzreise, 1826 Ideen, das Buch le Grand, 1827 Englische Fragmente, 1827 Buch der Lieder, 1827 Französische Zustände, 1833 Zur Geschichte der neueren schönen Literatur in Deutschland, 1833 Die romantische Schule, 1836 Der Salon, 1836-40 Über Ludwig Börne, 1840 Neue Gedichte, 1844 - New Poems Deutschland. Ein Wintermärchen, 1844 - Germany Atta Troll. Ein Sommernachtstraum, 1847 Romanzero, 1851 Der Doktor Faust, 1851 Les Dieux en Exil, 1853 Die Harzreise, 1853 Lutezia, 1854 Vermischte Schriften, 1854 Letzte Gedichte und Gedanken, 1869 Sämtliche Werke, 1887-90 (7 Vols.) Sämtliche Werke, 1910-20 Sämtliche Werke, 1925-30 Werke und Briefe, 1961-64 Sämtliche Schriften, 1968
Editions in English
The Complete Poems of Heinrich Heine. A Modern English Version by Hal Draper, Suhrkamp/Insel Publishers Boston, 1982. ISBN 3-518-03048-5
Heinrich Heine University of Düsseldorf Heinrich Heine Prize
Courtesy of: http://www.wikipedia.org/