Heinrich HEINE

Family tree of Heinrich HEINE


GermanBorn Christian Johann Heinrich HEINE

Journalist, essayist, literary critic, and one of the most significant German romantic poets

Born on December 13, 1797 in Düsseldorf, Germany , Germany

Died on February 17, 1856 in Paris, France

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Heine was born in Düsseldorf, Rhineland, today North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, which was then occupied by France (becoming part of Prussia in 1815), into a family of Jewish background. He was called "Harry" as a child, but after his baptism in 1825 he became "Heinrich".

His father was a merchant, and his mother, the daughter of a physician, was a refined and educated woman. When his father's business failed, Heine was sent to Hamburg. His wealthy banker uncle, Salomon, encouraged him to go into commerce, but his ventures in this sphere were not successful.


Failing in this attempt at business life, Heine took up law, studying at the universities of Göttingen, Bonn and Berlin, where he heard Hegel's lectures on the philosophy of history (he later wrote a short satirical poem about Hegel's philosophy "Doctrine"). During his student years he participated in the "Verein für Kultur und Wissenschaft des Judentumes" ("Society for the Culture and Scientific Study of Judaism"). Heine finished his studies in 1825 with a doctorate in law.

The same year, he converted to Lutheranism. Jews were still subject to severe restrictions in many of the German states at that time. They were forbidden to enter certain professions, including an academic career in the universities, a particular ambition for Heine. As Heine said in self-justification, his conversion was "the ticket of admission into European culture". He wrote, "As Henry IV said, 'Paris is worth a mass'; I say, 'Berlin is worth the sermon'."

As a poet, Heine made his debut with Gedichte (Poems) in 1821. Heine's one-sided infatuation with his cousins Amalie and Therese later inspired him to write some of his loveliest romantic lyrics; Buch der Lieder (Book of Songs, 1827) was Heine's first comprehensive collection of verse.

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Geographical origins

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