The personification of a straight line. Those who philosophize everything delicious out of life. Does the ancient land of dreams still exist? Heine did not believe that it would so soon come to pass; there were too many black ravens flying around the mountain. Viva la Republique! Beware of the counterrevolution. The blood spilled in the name of liberty, in Syria,Libya, Yemen has a startling similarity to 1830’s France, and Heinrich Heine was the young German poet who recorded the epoch of creative ferment between one revolution and the next.Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables was not just a drama at a point in time; increasingly, it describes the modern condition in an unfortunately timeless manner…
Heinrich Heine’s essays on French politics all point to the fact that the work of the French Revolution in bestowing “egalite” on its citizens had been left unfinished. Events in Paris furnished a constant reminder that “the great conflict of our time has not yet been resolved, and the earth still trembles beneath our feet.” The class struggle erupted into open warfare again when the republicans took to the barricades in June,1832.
Heine: This is at least certain, that when Lafayette, wearied with a four hour drive, got into a fiacre, the mob took out the horses and dragged their old and truest friend with their own hands, amid tremendous cheers, along the Boulevards. Many of the working-class had torn up young trees from the ground and ran with them like wild creatures beside the carriage, which seemed at one time to be in danger of being upset by the unmanageable crowd. It is said that two bullets struck the carriage. I can give no details relative to this singular occurrence. Read More:http://www.lindahines.net/blog/?p=67
In the main, the uprising was composed of students, artists, journalists and all sorts of upward striving people. They fought in the worker’s district around the porte Saint-Martin, within earshot of Heine’s flat, and were mowed down by the National Guard, just as Victor Hugo describes the scene in Les Miserables. “Here flowed the most ardent blood of France,” was Heine’s epitaph for the insurrectionists.
Heine:Now it is four o’clock and raining heavily, which is very unfavourable for the patriots, who have mostly barricaded themselves in the Quartier Saint-Martin and receive little aid. They are surrounded on all sides, and I hear at this instant the most terrific roar of cannon. I am told that two hours ago the people had great hope of victory, but now their only hope is to die heroically. And there will be many of them. As I live by the Porte Saint-Denis, I have hardly slept all night, for the discharge of arms was without cessation. The roar of the cannon has in my heart the saddest echo. It is an unfortunate event, which will have still sadder consequences.Read More:http://www.lindahines.net/blog/?p=67 a
The carnage of the revolt was overshadowed by the even more terrifying disaster : the cholera epidemic of 1832, which had already decimated the poorer quarters of the city. Though the cholera was no respecter of persons, it had a peculiarly undemocratic way of discriminating against the poor, killing three times as many in the slums than in the fashionable faubourgs. It was an issue of sewage and drinking water, but the wealthy Parisians decamped en masse. Heine wrote that with dismay, the poor realized that money had now become a talisman against death as well.
Heine:The number of troops of the line is easier to give. Yesterday even the Journal de Debats declares there was forty thousand men ready for action in Paris. Add to these at least twenty thousand National Guards, and we find that a mere handful of insurgents fought with sixty thousand men! The heroism of these insanely brave men is unanimously praised; they indeed achieved miracles of bravery. They cried continually, “Viva la Republique!” but it found no echo in the breasts of the people. Had they instead cried, “Viva Napoleon!” then (as is generally declared today in all groups of the people) the line would hardly have fired on them, and the great masses of the workers would have joined them. But they scorned a lie, for they were the purest, if not the craftiest, friends of freedom.Read:http://www.lindahines.net/blog/?p=69
The whole of Paris was traumatized by the cholera; it made an unforgettable impression on the young poets and intellectuals who had never come face to face with death in such frightening form. George Sand, living on the top floor of Number 25, quai Saint-Michel, held her breath as she saw the cholera creep up the stairs “floor by floor” , carrying away six other occupants of the house before “stopping at the door of our attic, as though it could not deign to be bothered with such insignificant prey.”
Dumas actually caught the disease and, displaying the advantages of a bull-like constitution, cured himself by drinking a glassful of ether. Gerard de Nerval, who had gone on to medical school despite his early success as a poet, found himself in the front lines of the battle: “I am attending cholera cases, like all students, because of the shortage of physicians,” he wrote to a friend. “I assure you it is something terrible.” .After the epidemic had run its couse Heine wrote: It was a reign of terror far more dreadful than the first, because the executions took place so rapidly and mysteriously. It was a masked executioner who passed through Paris with an invisible guillotine ambulante. “We shall all be stuck into the sack, one after the other,” said my servant, with a sigh every morning, when he announced how many had died or the loss of some one known. The expression “stuck into the sack” was no mere figure of speech, for coffins were soon wanting, and greater part of the dead were buried in bags….And I remember how two small boys with sorrowful faces stood by, and that one asked me if I could tell him in which sack his father was. Read More:http://www.lindahines.net/blog/?p=281
Heine:Nearly all of the windows there were broken from the sound of the cannon, and we everywhere behold the marks of the balls; for cannon were discharged into the street from both sides, so that the Republicans were driven right into the middle. It is said that yesterday they were at last shut in on every side in the Church Saint-Mery, but this I heard denied upon the spot. A somewhat prominent house called the Cafe Leclerque, which is situated on the Alley Saint-Mery, seems to have been the headquarters of the Republicans. Here they held out the longest, here they made their final stand. They asked for no mercy, and were mostly slain by the bayonet. Here fell the pupils of Ecole d’Alfort, and here the warmest blood in France ran….
…It is, however, a mistake to assume that the Republicans existed entirely of young madcaps or fire-eaters. Many old men fought among them. A young woman with whom I conversed near the Church Saint-Mery bewailed the death of her grandfather. He had always lived very peaceably, but when he saw the red flag and heard “Viva la Republique!” he ran with an old pike to the young people, and died with them. Poor old man heard the ranches des vaches of “The Mountain” and the memory of his first love of freedom awoke, and he would fain dream once more the dream of his youth. Sleep well! Read More:http://www.lindahines.net/blog/?p=69