Jon Stewart and Paul Lawrence Rose on Heine.

Philosophical Apprentice comments.

In his history of ‘Hegel’s Century’ Prof. Jon Stewart explores the role of Heine: Chapter 3 – Heine, Alienation, and Political Revolution: from Part II – The First Generation.

A summery provided by Cambridge:


Chapter 3 is dedicated to Hegel’s student, the poet Heinrich Heine. It provides an account of Heine’s life and his personal relations to figures such as Hegel and Marx. An analysis is given of Heine’s On the History of Religion and Philosophy in Germany, with specific attention paid to the role he ascribes to Hegel. Heine portrays Kant and Fichte as philosophers of the revolution and Schelling as the philosopher of the Restoration. If Schelling is the villain, then Hegel is the hero of the story of German philosophy that Heine wants to tell. Hegel is portrayed as the high point of the development of the revolution of German thought. Heine compares the revolution of the mind that took place in Germany with the French Revolution that took place in the real world. He predicts a great German revolution that will begin a new period in European history. An interpretation is given of Heine’s poem “Adam the First,” which takes up some of the motifs from Hegel’s analysis of the Fall. An account is also given of Heine’s “The Silesian Weavers,” a poem written on occasion of the rebellion of weavers in Silesia in Prussia in 1844.

The single comment that Prof. Stewart makes, about about Heine and his relation to his Jewishness seems inadequate, for a writer I hold in the highest esteem!

Heine had a complex self-identity as a German Jew.

Two examples Professor Stewart’s scholarship :

The Cultural Crisis of the Danish Golden Age: Heiberg, Martensen, and Kierkegaard


Søren Kierkegaard: Subjectivity, Irony, & the Crisis of Modernity Søren Kierkegaard: Subjectivity, Irony, & the Crisis of Modernity

In Paul Lawrence Rose’s book, in his Chapter 9, explores the question of Revolutionary Judaism and The German Revolution: Börne and Heine, page 135.

Page 161, of ‘Ludwig Borne and Heinrich Heine’  

The picture of Judaism that emerges from the writings of Heine’s aggressively revolutionary years is an ambivalent one and it parallels Borne’s own outlook in many respects. There is, of course, the usual Hegelian contempt for the Jews as a spent Ahasverian historical force: 

A mummified people (Volksmumie) that wanders the earth, wrapped up in its swathing in prescriptive letters, an obstinate piece of world history, a specter that bargains for the maintenance of bills of exchange and old hose.  

This philosophical prejudice was reinforced by an artistic distaste for Judaism as the matrix of the Nazarene spirit. Behind both attitudes it is possible to detect Heine’s resentment against a whole class of wealthy business Jews (including his own family), whose prime function he saw as being the patronage of of such artists as himself. 

At times, Heine hated the merchant class, a Philistines merged into Borne-like denunciation of the wealthy as Mammonists. He despised their ‘counting-house morality’ and inveighed: ‘Money is the god of our time and the Rothchild is his prophet.’ Such feelings turned him into a revolutionary activist in 143-44, when he befriended Marx and the two collaborated on both literary and political projects. Significantly , this was the very time when Marx was writing his essay ‘On the Jewish Question’ (1843 ),the which systematized the sort of incautious remarks on Jews and Mammon that Bourne and Heine were wont to utter. 


Philosophical Apprentice

About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.'
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