the good angels gulp and groan

In general, the notion that Heinrich Heine represented a “wound” became common currency in Germany after 1945, reflecting the German wound of the war and the country’s subsequent division; all interpretations have transformed themselves into a cultural problem and a question of political economy. A commodity in the market of ideas instead of poetic expression. With time, Heine appears to mean something other than what he intended.

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The division that Heine has created was cultural-epistemological in nature.Heine was vigorously opposed by Felix Borne, an ardent follower of Rousseau, Robespierre, and Byron. Borne followed the   axiom, that Art must be the daughter of its time, and give itself up in the service of politics. Heine loved the classics: Schiller and Goethe and developed a line of thinking that would be reflected in modern artists like Fellini who also felt that the seeds of fascism were to be found in pop culture. Or Otto Dix, for whom modern art was grounded in an appreciation and influence of the Old Masters; art forms which are disruptive yet maintain a coherent linkage to an evolutionary rooted in the backwaters of antiquity, that implied a conjunction between nationality and all artifices of division that man created. At root a utopian vision, sometimes bitter, pessimistic and discouraged, but one in which a faint light refused to extinguish itself. Utilitarianism should be thrown to the wolves and along with it, the rotted carcass of Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill and the dog shit of rational liberalism.

The Purifying Pot of the Jacobins 1793 by Benoit Louis Henriquez read more:

In prophetic wisdom foreseeing the events of 1848, Heine warned about the fatal results of the Jacobinism of the dogmatic and apparently so virtuous, republicans. When the radicals take power, he wrote in the Denkschrift, they will have a radical cure, and there will appear the phenomenon of the pure Philistine, cured of all traces of beauty. He will have to drag himself around all his life, in hateful hospital garb, in ash-grey uniforms. All our patrimony of serenity, all sweetness, all perfume of flowers, all poetry, will be pumped out of life, and nothing will be left behind, except the Rumford soup of utility … as for beauty and genius, there will no longer be room for them in the society of our new Puritans.” Read More:

…It was a style of poetic irony which shattered romantic feeling. A musical dissonance within the language, that deliberately “got out of tune”.It was not a language of reason and reflection with a sprinkling of poetic words. Rather, it was a language of images the approximate gesture, which taken together, formed a whole which evoked profound poetical thoughts. Heine chose the poetic method of the socratic paradox, in order to change the thinking of his contemporaries. The joke creates a paradox, a metaphor in the thought of the reader, which is impossible to understand symbolically, or directly communicable with words — but the “idea,” lying “between” the words, is communicated by Heine, through irony, for example, through the juxtaposing of two contrary elements in word-play; a metaphor or “idea” not explicitly contained within the words, is communicated to the mind.

---The key thing with jokes, is form; they are based upon counterpoint, bringing to life two valid but contradictory elements. One of Heine's beloved techniques of wit, was to compare the parts of the body with geographic regions, with the ensuing humorous contrast: ``The breast of Frau Schwester is as empty as the Lüneburger meadow.'' ``The bosom of Signora Lätitia,'' Heine compares to the Red Sea: ``Just a glance is enough to get you seasick. ... Her face was a soup kitchen for poor theologians. The nose of the Marquis of Gumpelino is ``as crooked as the leaning tower of Pisa; ... A Philistine bragged so incredibly that the milk on the table turned sour.'' Or Heine will deliberately sing out of tune: treating the disgusting with dignity, and the trivial with importance. Such as when he says: ``Göttingen, famous for sausage and the university,'' or: ``A lanky, haggard body, like the shadow of a bottle of cologne, though he certainly did not smell like its contents.'' --- Read More: image:

Heine used the method of paradoxes, to blow skyhigh political correctness and pedestrian linearity. He employs surprising, ironic turns of phrase, which point to the “discontinuity” between Romantic illusion and reality

Heinrich Heine had come to Paris for an extended visit, but the months stretched into years. The Prussian government then slammed the door behind him by placing both Heine and his works under a sentence of banishment. But although he accepted a yearly stipend from the French privy purse, he refused to become a naturalized French citizen. But heine knew that he would be free to write as he pleased only if he remained in exile. Besides, he was still wholly captivated by Paris and would have exchanged it for no other city.

---In the early 20th century, some began to take exception to this image of Heine as the second greatest German poet. Karl Kraus, the angry Viennese satirist, fired the first shot in 1910 by claiming that Heine “has so loosened the corsets of the German language that today every little shopkeeper can fondle her breasts.” This sort of criticism in the age of modern poetry had a strong impact; the literary profession followed Kraus’s lead, deriding Heine’s poetry for being too pure, plain, and frivolous, a

ven finding fault with its immense popularity. Accordingly, in 1953, when thirty intellectuals, among them Thomas Mann, Hermann Hesse, and Martin Buber, were asked to name their favorite German poems, none of them mentioned even one by Heine. Read More: image:



Heine sees between Kant and the murderous Maximilian Robespierre, a profound similarity. Both are fundamentally unpoetic, uncreative natures, with the souls of salesmen: “Even though Immanuel Kant, this great destroyer in the realm of thought, exceeded Maximilian Robespierre in terrorism, still in many ways they were alike, the which allows a comparison between the two men. First, we find in both the same merciless, razor-sharp, unpoetical, rational honesty. Also in both, the same talent of suspicion, – except that the one exercises it against thought, and calls it criticism, while the other applies it to people, and calls it republican virtue. In the highest degree however, in both you can see a type of boring philistinism–Nature had intended them for careers where they would have had to be precise in weighing out coffee and sugar, but Fate had it so, that they weighed other things, and the one laid a king, and the other God, on the scales….

Alfred Johannot. Duc d'Orleans visits Cholera Patients. ---Karl Immerman Heine's best friend, wrote that at first people, wrongly, compared Heine to Byron: ``The comparison does not seem to fit: with extraordinary means, the Brit achieves only moderate poetic effects; while Heine shows the decisive capacity, to limit himself artistically, and to absorb matter entirely into the form. The astonishing popularity achieved by Lord Byron, has its source primarily in things which lie quite far removed from the domain of the aesthetic. It is his sense of desperation, a vague longing, that flatters the sickly modern temper of so many people. ''---Read More: image:

…Kant wrote in a “grey, dry, literary style, and clothed his thoughts in the tepid language of a civil servant in the chancellery.” And already through just his language, we can recognize the dessicated mind of the Philistine, for “only genius has a new word for a new thought … But Immanuel Kant was not a genius. Sensing this lack, just as much as did Maximilian [Robespierre], Kant was all the more suspicious of genius; and in his Critique of Judgment, he went so far as to assert that genius has no business meddling in science, its activity belongs to the domain of art.” Read More:
A poem as a work of art, needs a poetic mood, Heine commented in a discussion with Eduard Wedekind, but also much planning and preparatory work. “Creation itself is an idle movement/Which is easily blunted;/Still the plan, the planning,/Only that shows what an artist is,” Heine says in No. 4 of the Neuen Gedichte, and in No. 6 he underscores: “The subject matter only becomes a valid subject through its artistic form.”

Daumier. Third Class Carriage. ---Heine was repulsed by the ultra-radical tone of Böerne, when he met him in exile in 1831 in Paris, and Böerne told him: ``Marat is completely right,'' we must make mankind bleed, and if he had been granted those 300,000 heads which he wanted to guillotine, then millions of better people should not have gone under, and the world should have been forever healed from the old evil.'' According to Heine, Böerne, a former police actuary from Frankfurt, now threw himself, ``into a sansculottism of thought and expression, such as we have not seen hitherto in Germany ... Was it virtue or folly, which brought Böerne to breathe in the manure-smell of the revolution, and wallow pleasurably in the plebeian sewer?'' When referring to the Austrian undercover agent, Beurmann, in his Denkschrift, Heine alludes to something, which is possibly an indication, that he intuitively harbored the suspicion that Böerne worked with the circle of his enemies, (the network of British agent, Giuseppe Mazzini, E. H.): ``For all that he was so suspicious, he (Böerne) was easy to deceive, and did not even suspect that he served quite foreign passions, and not seldom even listened to the whisperings of his enemies. People assured me, that some of the spies, who sniff around here in the pay of certain governments, managed to behave themselves so patriotically, that Böerne granted them his complete trust, and hunkered down and conspired with them day and night.'' It is remarkable also in this connection, that the name of Heinrich Heine, not the one of the ultra-radical Böerne, stood on the proscription list of the parliament of 1835. read more: image:

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2 Responses to the good angels gulp and groan

  1. Kim Finley says:

    You are ridiculously fabulous. I think you should start working RIGHT NOW on a gallery exhibition of Madame P. and her performance thinking!

    • Dave says:

      thanks! performance thinking; now that’s a good idea. heine was a difficult topic. artificial reality and virtual sanity.

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