Fun Facts Friday: Heinrich Heine

Heinrich Heine (13 December, 1797 – 17 February, 1856) was a German writer, critic and poet.

Books by Heinrich Heine
Books by Heinrich Heine*

  1. Born as Harry Heine in Düsseldorf, Germany into a Jewish family.
  2. After he reluctantly converted to Lutheranism (1825) he changed his name to Heinrich. He converted because the Prussian government had restored laws decimating against Jews, and he saw this as a “ticket of admission into European culture”. His conversion, however, did not benefit his career.
  3. In 1826, Mr. Heine published his first book called Travel Pictures (Reisebilder) which included travel writing, romantic descriptions of nature, as well as satire. The volume was such a success that he published a second volume contain North Sea poems.
  4. On his visit to London Mr. Heine found the English to be commercial and prosaic.
  5. His third cousin once removed was Karl Marx. Marx admired Heine’s writings and when the two met in Paris they got along fine.
  6. In 1831 Mr. Heine visited Paris and settled there. Paris had the cultural richness that he couldn’t get in the small towns in Germany. He soon became a celebrity in the whole of France.
  7. As a French correspondent to one of his friend’s newspaper, Mr. Heine saw himself as a mediator between Germany and France, bringing progress through understanding.
  8. Mr. Heine’s poetry was set to music by many composers, including Robert Schumann and Franz Schubert.
  9. In 1848 Mr. Heine became paralyzed for an unknown reason. He stayed in bed until his death eight years later.
  10. According to analysis done on his hair in 1997, it was confirmed that Mr. Heine suffered from chronic lead poisoning.

Books by Heinrich Heine*

Zohar – Man of la Book
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account

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