Heine in der Romaniaby Gerhart Hoffmeister

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  • Heine in der Romania by Gerhart HoffmeisterReview by: Ingrid G. DaemmrichNineteenth-Century French Studies, Vol. 32, No. 1/2 (FALLWINTER 2003-2004), pp. 150-151Published by: University of Nebraska PressStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23538160 .Accessed: 14/06/2014 15:50

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  • survivors spent their remaining years in exile, or prison. Harsin concludes her book

    by retracing the fate of a few of these individuals. Even those such as Blanqui who

    survived the Commune never saw their dream realized, for the Third Republic, which

    finally emerged after the Commune was repressed, was founded on bourgeois

    consensus, not on personal courage, self-sacrifice and victory on the barricades.

    Hoffmeister, Gerhart. Heine in der Romania. Berlin: Erich Schmidt Verlag, 2002.

    Pp. 208. ISBN 3-503-96127-4

    Ingrid G. Daemmrich, Drexel University

    With this study, Gerhart Hoffmeister joins a long succession of literary critics who

    have investigated the impact of the nineteenth-century German-Jewish writer on the

    literature of the Romance languages. Hoffmeister carefully balances summarizing the

    interpretations of his predecessors with his own clearly enunciated perception of

    Heine's poetry as pivotal to the development of poetry from Romanticism to

    Symbolism. He attributes Heine's influence to two sources: Nerval's "rhythmically

    lyrical" translations of excerpts from Heine's Buch der Lieder {Le Livre des chants),

    Lyrisches Intermezzo, Die Nordsee {La Mer du nord), and Atta Troll and the role of the

    Revue des Deux Mondes in making Heine's poetry, as well as articles by and about him,

    accessible to speakers of Romance languages.

    Hoffmeister devotes nearly half of his study to Heine's fluctuating career and

    fortune in Paris. Heine emigrated to Paris in 1831 to escape Prussian censorship of his

    political writings. Warmly welcomed into Parisian literary circles because of his wit

    and charm, he soon became acquainted with Hugo, Dumas-pre, Musset, Marie

    d'Argoult, Caroline Jaubert, George Sand, Nodier, Vigny, and most importantly,

    Nerval and Gautier. He also conceived several contradictory goals: first to study

    Saint-Simonism, then to become part of the contemporary life of Paris, to achieve

    financial stability by selling his work in the Parisian literary marketplace, and to

    correct the false image of Germany as a land of mystic enchantment propagated

    twenty years earlier by Madame de Stal's De l'Allemagne. Hoffmeister delineates how

    all these projects failed. A quarrel with Victor Cousin led to isolation from the

    political-philosophical scene. Heine's inability to write French as fluently and wittily

    as he spoke it restricted his ability to earn a living by writing in Paris. And the French

    remained obstinately devoted to Madame de Stal's image of Germany. Despite the

    publication of eight sections in Victor Bohain's newly launched L'Europe littraire, his

    De l'Allemagne received little attention and garnered few sales. Heine's self

    characterization as "ce pauvre rossignol allemand qui a fait son nid dans la perruque

    de M. de Voltaire" in a letter to Sainte Ren Taillandier a year before his death

    demonstrates the poet's acute awareness of his inability to gain recognition for his

    philosophical and political ideas.

    Hoffmeister convincingly traces the far greater success of Heine's poetry in

    challenging the traditional French romantic image of Germany as the land of poetic

    dreamers and in influencing the development of French poetry. The partial

    translation of Reisebilder as Tableaux de Voyage by Renduel in 1832 won Heine praise

    150 Reviews

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  • for its satirical-ironic tone. It became Heine's most popular book in France. Nerval's

    lyrical translations of excerpts from Heine's poetry in the Revue des Deux Mondes in

    1844 and his rhythmic prose poem translations of sixteen poems from Heine's

    masterpiece, Buch der Lieder (Le Livre des chants), in the 15 September 1848 issue of

    the Revue des Deux Mondes introduced the French to Heine's peculiar combination of

    musical lyricism with witty sarcasm. The publication of his uvres compltes by

    Michel Lvy-frres in 1855, followed by a second edition in 1857, sealed Heine's

    reputation in France as the poet who could masterfully interplay lyrical songs about

    unrequited love with mocking irony. According to critics cited by Hoffmeister, in

    particular, Boeck (1972), Hhn (1994), Weinberg (1954), and Werner (1978, 1991).

    Heine's coupling of romantic longing and mystery with wit and irony inspired

    numerous imitations by both Romantic and post-Romantic French poets ranging

    from Nerval and Gautier to Baudelaire, Mallarm, Banville, and Laforgue and

    extending to the twentieth-century writers Apollinaire and Gide. Hoffmeister

    concludes with a section on Andr Suars's image of Heine as a fellow exile and victim

    of anti-Semitism.

    In the second half of his study, Hoffmeister demonstrates the central role played

    by both Nerval's translations and the Revue des Deux Mondes in introducing Heine's

    work to writers, critics, academics, and the reading public in other romance

    languages, particularly in Italy, Spain, and South America. The two French sources

    accounted for the rapid spread of the cult of Heinismo, starting in 1831 and continuing

    into the twentieth century. But they also facilitated the first impression of Heine as a

    sentimental lyricist. Once poets and critics had access to Heine's political and ironic,

    witty writings through translations into their own tongues, Heine's influence on the

    evolution of poetry from Romanticism to modern movements became evident.

    Hoffmeister concludes his study by citing Suars's 1946 affirmation that Heine's

    lasting contribution is the compact song form which compresses many conflicting

    moods and thoughts into a few lines. The book includes an extensive bibliography of

    Heine editions, translations, and secondary literature but unfortunately lacks an


    Although Hoffmeister's presentation of Heine's general influence on French and

    Romanic poetry is convincing, scholars will likely question whether it is possible to

    ascertain this influence for specific poems. Nevertheless, this meticulously researched

    and succinctly presented study should interest all students of nineteenth-century

    French and European literature and culture. Specialists in the development of poetry

    and the role of the literary magazine in the diffusion of poetry will want to pay special

    attention to this book.

    Nineteenth-Century French Studies 32, Nos. 1 8 2 Fall-Winter 2003-2004

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    Article Contentsp. 150p. 151

    Issue Table of ContentsNineteenth-Century French Studies, Vol. 32, No. 1/2 (FALLWINTER 2003-2004), pp. 1-196Front MatterAlfred de Musset, ou l'univers de la discontinuit [pp. 9-22]Baudelaire and Auguste Lacaussade: A New Look [pp. 23-40]La Tunisie dans l'imaginaire politique de Flaubert [pp. 41-57]"Le Spectacle de la rue": Edmond de Goncourt and the Siege of Paris [pp. 58-68]Rimbaud's Ruin of French Verse: Verse Spatiality and the Paris Commune Ruins [pp. 69-82]The Language of Hair in the Nineteenth-Century Novel [pp. 83-103]La Revue du "Centaure": Textes et contextes d'une uvre esthtique et littraire [pp. 104-120]Emigrations of "l'Art pour l'Art" to America [pp. 121-133]NOTESAdle Hugo: A Sojourn in Barbados From the Memoirs of Amelia Fielding Culpeper [pp. 134-137]Adle Hugo: A Bibliographical Note [pp. 138-143]

    ReviewsART, CULTURE, HISTORYReview: untitled [pp. 144-146]Review: untitled [pp. 146-148]Review: untitled [pp. 148-150]Review: untitled [pp. 150-151]Review: untitled [pp. 152-154]Review: untitled [pp. 154-156]Review: untitled [pp. 156-157]Review: untitled [pp. 158-159]

    BALZAC STUDIESReview: untitled [pp. 159-161]Review: untitled [pp. 161-164]

    BARBEY STUDIESReview: untitled [pp. 164-166]

    BAUDELAIRE STUDIESReview: untitled [pp. 167-169]Review: untitled [pp. 169-172]Review: untitled [pp. 173-174]

    CHATEAUBRIAND STUDIESReview: untitled [pp. 174-176]

    CONSTANT STUDIESReview: untitled [pp. 176-177]

    FLAUBERT STUDIESReview: untitled [pp. 177-180]Review: untitled [pp. 180-181]

    GAUTIER STUDIESReview: untitled [pp. 181-182]

    MALLARM STUDIESReview: untitled [pp. 183-184]Review: untitled [pp. 184-186]Review: untitled [pp. 187-189]

    NERVAL STUDIESReview: untitled [pp. 189-190]

    ZOLA STUDIESReview: untitled [pp. 190-192]

    Abstracts [pp. 193-196]Back Matter


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