Sunday, June 9, 2013

Heinrich Heine

Heinrich Heine is best known for his poems, most of them written in a folky style with a surprising, totally unfolky twist at the end. I like Heine's poems very much, but the reason I admire him is the wit and intelligence of his prose. He wrote essays that are sparkling gems. I dare say Heine was the German-language Christopher Hitchens of the 19th century, commenting acidly on literature, religion and politics. A born Jew, he had converted to the protestant faith. "It is extremely difficult for a Jew to be converted", he joked, "for how can he bring himself to believe in the divinity of - another Jew?"

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