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HEINRICH HEINE (1797-1856)

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Originally appearing in Volume V13, Page 213 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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HEINRICH HEINE (1797-1856), German poet and journalist, was born at Dusseldorf, of Jewish parents, on the 13th of December 1797. His father, after various vicissitudes in business, had finally settled in Dusseldorf, and his mother, who possessed much energy of character, was the daughter of a physician of the same place. Heinrich (or, more exactly, Harry) was the eldest of four children, and received his education, first in private schools, then in the Lyceum of his native town; although not an especially apt or diligent pupil, he acquired a knowledge of French and English, as well as some tincture of the classics and Hebrew. His early years coincided with the most brilliant period of Napoleon's career, and the boundless veneuation which he is never tired of expressing for the emperor throughout his writings shows that his true schoolmasters were rather the drummers and troopers of a victorious army than the masters of the Lyceum. By freeing the Jews from many of the political disabilities under which they had hitherto suffered, Napoleon became, it may be noted, the object of particular enthusiasm in the circles amidst which Heine grew up. When he left school in 1815, an attempt was made to engage him in business in Frankfort, but without success. In the following year his uncle, Solomon Heine, a wealthy banker in Hamburg, took him into his office. A passion for his cousin Amalie Heine seems to have made the young man more contented with his lot in Hamburg, and his success was such that his uncle decided to set him up in business for himself. This, however, proved too bold a step; in a very few months the firm of " Harry Heine & Co." was insolvent. His uncle now generously provided him with money to enable him to study at a university, with the view to entering the legal profession, and in the spring of 1819 Heine became a student of the university of Bonn. During his stay there he devoted himself rather to the study of literature and history than to that of law; amongst his teachers A. W. von Schlegel, who took a kindly interest in Heine's poetic essays, exerted the most lasting influence on him. In the autumn of 182o Heine left Bonn for Gottingen, where he proposed to devote himself more assiduously to professional studies, but in February of the following year he challenged to a pistol duel a fellow-student who had insulted him, and was, in consequence, rusticated for six months. The pedantic* atmosphere of the university of Gottingen was, however, little to his taste; the news of his cousin's marriage unsettled him still more; and he was glad of the opportunity to seek distraction in Berlin. In the Prussian capital a new world opened up to him; a very different life from that of Gottingen was stirring in the new university there, and Heine, like all his contemporaries, sat at the feet of Hegel and imbibed from him, doubtless, those views which in later years made the poet the apostle of an outlook upon life more modern than that of his romantic predecessors. of Bamberg in 1132, and continued to exist till 1555• Its sepulchral monuments, many of which are figured by Hocker, Heilsbronnisclzer Antiquitatenschatz (Ansbach, 1731-1740), are of exceptionally high artistic interest. It was the hereditary burial-place of the Hohenzollern family and ten burgraves of Nuremberg, five margraves and three electors of Brandenburg, and many other persons of note are buried within its walls. The buildings of the monastery have mostly disappeared, with the exception of the fine church, a Romanesque basilica, restored between 1851 and 1866, and possessing paintings by Albert Darer. The " Monk of Heilsbronn " is the ordinary appellation of a didactic poet of the 14th century, whose Sieben Graden, Tackler Syon and Leben des heiligen Alexius were published by J. F. L. T. Merzdorf at Berlin in 187o. See Rehrn, Ein Gang durch and um die Munster-Kirche zu Kloster-Heilsbronn (Ansbach, 1875); Stillfried, Kloster-Heilsbronn, ein Beitrag zu den Hohenzollernschen Forschungen (Berlin, 1877); Muck, Geschiclzte von Kloster-Heilsbronn (Nordlingen, 1879—188o) ; J. Meyer, Die Hohenzollerndenkmale in Heilsbronn (Ansbach, 1891); and A. Wagner, Uber den Monch von Heilsbronn (Strassburg, 1876).
End of Article: HEINRICH HEINE (1797-1856)
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