Published February 2005
Length 128 pages
ISBN 9781905559541 (ebook)
Heinrich Heine (1797-1856) is one of Germany’s greatest writers. His agile mind and brilliant wit expressed themselves in lyrical and satirical poetry, travel writing, fiction, and essays on literature, art, politics, philosophy and history.
He was a biting satirist, and a perceptive commentator on the world around him. One of his admirers, Friedrich Nietzsche, said of him: ‘he possessed that divine malice without which perfection, for me, is unimaginable.’
Heine was conscious of living after two revolutions. The French Revolution had changed the world forever. Heine experienced its effects when growing up in a Düsseldorf that formed part of the Napoleonic Empire, and when spending the latter half of his life in France. The other revolution was the transformation of German philosophy in the wake of Kant: Heine explained this revolution wittily and accessibly to the general public, emphasizing its hidden political significance.
About Richie Robertson
Ritchie Robertson is Taylor Professor of German at Oxford University. He has written extensively on German literature from the mid-eighteenth century to the present. His books include: Kafka: Judaism, Politics, and Literature (1988), The ‘Jewish Question’ in German Literature, 1749-1939 (1999), (Ed.) The German-Jewish Dialogue: An Anthology of Literary Texts, 1749-1993, World’s Classics (1999), (Ed.) The Cambridge Companion to Thomas Mann (2002), Kafka: A Very Short Introduction (2004).
'Ritchie Robertson’s book is a brilliant discussion of the tensions and ambivalences which captured [Heine’s] mind as he grappled with the greatest themes…'
Michael Foot, The Jewish Quarterly
'If all [volumes] rise to the standard of Heine in providing revelatory excitement, the series will indeed be a valuable one.'
Marghanita Laski, Jewish Chronicle
'This is a thoroughly recommendable brief introduction to Heine…it is difficult to imagine that this task could have been better performed.'
Forum for Modern Language Studies
'Robertson shares with Heine the talent of rendering complex issues intelligible.'
Eoin Bourke, New German Studies