The Poet as Provocateur

The Poet as Provocateur

Heinrich Heine and His Critics

George Peters


Hardback out of stock

Camden House



Analyzes the heated critical debate on Heine from his own lifetime to the present.
Heinrich Heine (1797-1856), one of the best known and most controversial German writers of the nineteenth century, has been the subject of intense critical debate. Heine's lyric poetry ranks second only to Goethe's in popularity and is known world wide in musical settings. He is also known for his stories and travel sketches, his writings on political, social, and cultural developments in Europe, and for essays on literature, religion, and philosophy. Peters's study records the stormy development of Heine's critical reception from his own time down to the present. As a Jew living in Paris, an outspoken critic of both repressive political policies in Germany and the stifling influence of the Catholic church, and the author of the most famous satirical poem in the German language, Deuschland. Ein Wintermärchen, Heine engendered the wrath of the conservative critics of his day, while progressive critics, particularly those supportive of his emancipatory ideals, came to his defense. Since his death, Heine criticism has continued to be partisan in tone. Twentieth-century Heine criticism has mirrored Germany's historical development, from the nationalistic fervor of the Wilhelminian era, through the tolerance of Weimar, the anti-Semitic frenzy of the Third Reich, the postwar period of competing critical views in East and West, to the final decade of the century and a period of renewed and intense critical interest.

George F. Peters is professor of German and Chair of the Department of Languages and Linguistics at Michigan State University.


June 2000
239 pages
9x6 in
Literary Criticism in Perspective
ISBN: 9781571131614
Format: Hardback
Camden House
BISAC LIT004170, BIO007000
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Table of Contents

Introduction: Idealogy and Criticism
Reception During Heine's Life
Reception in the Emerging Germany (1856-1906)
From Marginalization to Eradication (1906-1945)
Usurpation and Rehabilitation:Heine in East and West Germany (1945-1990)
Heine at 200: Reception since the Fall of the Wall


This work will be useful to beginning scholars learning how various ideologies can affect the reception of an author, as well as to the Germanist who desires a succinct summary of the Heine reception both during his lifetime and up to the current day. CHOICE

The strength of Peters's study is that he shows how much Heine scholarship has been involved in politics.... JEGP

The book achieves the almost impossible task of describing the entire reception history from Heine's own days to the anniversary of 1997. GERMAN STUDIES REVIEW

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