Sergei Turaev 1989
Author: Sergei Turaev;
First published: 1989 in Volume 6 of Istoriya vsemirnoy literatury (History of World Literature) by the Maxim Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, Moscow, Nauka, pp. 65-78
Translated by: Anton P.
The 1830s marked a qualitatively new stage in the history of German literature. The most important event that marked the beginning of this stage was the July Revolution of 1830 in France. In neighboring Germany, the revolutionary events were perceived especially keenly: as an inspiration and a call to action. In a number of German states, fermentation began, sometimes pouring out into open speeches. Secret organizations arose, among them the Society of Human Rights, created by Georg Buchner and F. L. Weidig. The Message to the Hessian Peasants (1834), prepared by Büchner, is one of the most striking examples of pre-Marxist revolutionary journalism in Germany.
Socio-political topics have taken a dominant place in German literature. In criticism, the word “tendency” became popular, and the date of Goethe’s death (1832) was perceived as a milestone that marked the end of the artistic period, when the attention of writers was focused mainly on aesthetic problems.
Although the poetic activity of Eichendorff, Uhland, Chamisso and other romantic poets continued during these years, other names define the face of German literature of the 1830s: Ludwig Boerne, the writers of Young Germany, Karl Immermann, Georg Buchner, Heinrich Heine.
The formulation of acute social issues in literature meets with resistance from the authorities. In the mid-1830s, the governments of the German states, under pressure from Metternich, intensified the persecution of the opposition. In 1835, censorship banned the works of the writers of Young Germany.
By this time, works appeared that marked important moments in the development of philosophical, social and aesthetic thought in Germany: The Romantic School (1833–1836) and On the History of Religion and Philosophy in Germany (1834) by Heinrich Heine, Aesthetic Campaigns (1834) by Ludolf Winbarg, the leading theorist of Young Germany. In 1835, Hegel’s lectures on aesthetics were first published, but at that time they did not attract much attention. On the other hand, the activity of the left Hegelians acquired a noisy resonance, in particular, the publication in the same year of the book by David Friedrich Strauss, The Life of Jesus, Critically Considered. The left Hegelians, drawing radical conclusions from the philosophical system of their teacher, not only criticized religion, but also put forward, in the words of Engels, “more daring political principles compared to those that had hitherto been heard by the German ear” (Marx K., Engels F., Collected Works, 2nd ed. Vol. 8. p. 17). Only the obscurity and abstractness of philosophical language allowed them to deceive the vigilance of censorship.
With all the differences in the philosophical and social views of the writers and critics of the 1830s, they were all drawn together by the desire to dissociate themselves from the previous artistic period. A critical attitude towards Goethe is characteristic to one degree or another of both Boerne and Winbarg, and to a certain extent also of Heine and the left Hegelians. A common platform was also a sharp criticism of romanticism, especially romantic subjectivism. The programmatic series of articles by A. Ruge and T. Echtermeyer, publishers of the left-wing Hegelian journal Halle Yearbooks, under the general title Protestantism and Romanticism (1838–1840), became an anti-romantic manifesto. But if the Left Hegelians followed in the footsteps of their teacher in rejecting romantic subjectivism, then their demand for the tendentiousness of poetry did not in any way follow from Hegel’s Aesthetics.
Unlike other countries, where the principles of realism were affirmed in the polemic against romanticism, in the German aesthetic disputes of the 1830s “tendency” was most often opposed to romanticism, although, in fact, tendentiousness is quite compatible with the romantic system of images. German literature of this period did not offer a convincing alternative to the romanticism it rejected. Georg Buechner asserted the principle of realism most consistently, both in artistic creativity and in the aesthetic program, but his work, and even more so the system of views, became known only in a later era. However, realistic tendencies persisted in Immermann’s prose and in the historical novels of Alexis, and in the dramaturgy of Grabbe and Gutzkow.
There is one more feature of German literature of the 1830s that is essential. In the anti-feudal struggle, which escalated during this period, the writers relied on the experience of the enlighteners. For the playwright Gutzkow, the young Schiller served as a model. Schiller’s popularity in the 1840s was determined precisely by his living connection with the Enlightenment tradition (which also affected the formation of realism in German literature of the 1830s and 1840s).
Ludwig Boerne (1786–1837) was an outstanding publicist of the 1820s and 1830s, who under new conditions revived the traditions of Lessing and the German democrats of the late 18th century. Together with Boerne, a new type of writer entered literature: a publicist and politician. Young Engels wrote about Boerne’s “iron, inflexible character”, his “impressive willpower”, he called him “the standard-bearer of German freedom” (Marx K., Engels F., Collected Works, 2nd ed. Vol. 1. p. 479).
Boerne began his literary activity in 1818, founding the journal of “civil life, science and art” ’ Balance. In the difficult conditions of the post-Napoleonic reaction, it was very difficult to speak out on “civilian” topics, and Boerne brilliantly used the genre of theatrical reviews to promote democratic ideas. In a number of magazines and newspapers of the 1820s, Boerne purposefully spoke out against various forms of oppression and humiliation of the human person, at the same time scourging the narrow-mindedness, selfishness, and social indifference of the German burghers. In his theater reviews, Boerne says the least about the artistic merit of the play or the skill of the actors. He writes about the courage that the Germans lack: the violinist Miller from Deceit and Love was only in his room able to show the door to the president – outside the door where the police guarded him, he would not dare to do this. This was not just a criticism of Schiller, it was a censored form of condemnation of social passivity, a call to action, one of the means of educating civic feelings among compatriots.
Immediately after the July Revolution, Boerne emigrated to France. Letters from Paris (1830-1833) is his main book. Preserving the form of a document (the book grew out of the writer’s private letters to his friend), including extensive information about the course of events in France in the early 1830s, Letters from Paris allow us to imagine the evolution of their author: from an enthusiastic response to the July days to a gradual understanding anti-democratic essence of the bourgeois monarchy of Louis Philippe. Boerne found weighty words to appreciate the historical significance of the revolt of the Lyon weavers of 1831, “the war of the poor against the rich, those who have nothing to lose, against those who own property.” The social experience of the regime of the July Monarchy made Boerne a republican.
The aesthetic problems in Boerne’s book, as before, are inseparable from the political ones. From literature, he demands not just “tendency”: the writer is entrusted with the mission of a propagandist and fighter. “He who reveres art as a deity sins against art itself,” says Boerne, referring to Heine, for, in his opinion, Heine’s aesthetic interest obscures any other. But Boerne was especially implacable towards Goethe: “Ever since I became able to feel, I hate Goethe, since I learned to think, I know why.” He sees in him a retarding force, reproaching him for indifference to the affairs of the people and the fatherland. A sharp rejection of Goethe and a critical attitude towards Heine were neither a weakness nor a delusion of Boerne, as is often said. Boerne was, according to Friedrich Engels, “a man of political practice” (Marx K., Engels F., Collected Works, 2nd ed. Vol. 41. p. 122), and with the straightforwardness of a politician (it was not for nothing that Heine compared him with Robespierre) he combined the uncompromising nature of his literary assessments.
Boerne’s last book, Menzel the French-Eater (1837), was of current importance. Wolfgang Menzel (1798-1873), critic and literary historian, author of German Literature (1828), editor of the Literary Leaflet magazine. His attacks on Young Germany in the Literary Leaflet were rightly perceived by contemporaries as a denunciation, which was followed by a ban on the works of Gutskow, Boerne, Heine and a number of other writers. Boerne, like Heine, deeply convinced that the future of Germany largely depends on the active perception of French historical experience, countered Menzel’s chauvinistic demagogy with the genuine patriotism of a writer fighting for this future. True, Boerne presented this future vaguely. So, he became interested in Christian socialism and in 1834 translated Lamennais’ book The Words of a Believer into German. Shortly before his death, he became a member of the secret society Union of the Persecuted, the predecessor of the Union of the Just and the Union of Communists. But the place and significance of Boerne in German literature is determined not by his program for the future, but by the persistence with which he demanded to overcome the past. As a “standard-bearer of freedom”, he remained an example for the generation of democrats of the 1840s.
The Young Germany mentioned above is a group of writers that took shape in the first half of the 1830s. It included Karl Gutzkow, Ludolf Wienbarg, Heinrich Laube and other less significant authors. Organizationally, they were not connected with each other and entered the history of literature under this name, since it was indicated in the decree on the prohibition of their activities. Their social ideals were vague and indefinite and, in fact, did not constitute unity. But it is not difficult to single out a general trend in the aesthetic positions of the Young Germans. It was most fully expressed in Ludolf Wienbarg’s treatise Aesthetic Campaigns. This now half-forgotten book was a huge success not only in the literary environment, but also among wide circles of liberal-minded youth. Wienbarg emphasized the social function of literature and demanded, as other Young Germans did, the open expression of a trend. In the spirit of the times, Wienbarg severely assessed the Weimarian Goethe, trying, however, to show the contradictory combination of great and small, “genius and representative of secular society” in him. Wienbarg sharply condemned the romantic idealization of the past, rejecting not only romanticism, but even the historical genre. The task of debunking romanticism seemed to Wienbarg so urgent that he did not even try to objectively-historically assess the indisputable achievements of the German romantics, for example, in lyrics, which he almost completely rejected. Wienbarg did not recognize any fantasy either, seeing in it only an escape from life.
The greatest creative individual among the Young Germans was Karl Gutzkow (1811–1878), a publicist, editor of a number of periodicals, in particular the Telegraph for Germany magazine (in which the young Engels was published), prose writer and playwright. His novel Wally Doubting (1835) is devoted to the moral problems that worried the Young Germans, while the idea of “rehabilitation of the flesh” acquired an openly anti-church meaning, which led to the author’s prosecution. Gutzkow, however, was not intimidated by this and remained true to democratic ideas. He was one of the few contemporaries who supported Büchner and published his works for the first time (albeit distorted by censorship cuts).
In the 1840s, Gutzkow was the most popular German playwright. His work is dominated by the historical theme. events of the 17th century. in Livonia, the tragedy Patkul (1842) is dedicated. The historical drama Pugachev (1844), rather weak in artistic terms, is at the same time of great interest due to the image of the leader of the popular uprising, whom the author, using very freely with historical material, partly endows with the features of a hero, a mouthpiece in the Schiller tradition. As literary historians suggest, interest in Pugachev was caused by the publication in German of A. S. Pushkin’s History of the Pugachev Rebellion.
The pinnacle of Gutzkow’s work was the tragedy Uriel Acosta (1846). Written on the eve of the revolution, it acquired a topical meaning, despite the fact that the action unfolded in another country and in another era: in Holland in the 17th century. The conflict of the free-thinking hero with the inert environment, the heroic protest against religious dogma and spiritual despotism, was relevant. Gutzkow here goes far beyond the limits of the Young German circle of ideas. The playwright is especially close to the tradition of Schiller, the pathos of Acosta is akin to the pathos of Karl Moor, Ferdinand. A considerable artistic success was the image of Judith, the devoted and courageous student of Acosta. At the end of the tragedy, the death of the heroes marks a moral victory over their persecutors.
If schools of realism were formed in England and France in the 1830s, and the social novel became the leading genre, to which writers of world renown turn, then in German literature the process of the formation of realism proceeds slowly and does not develop as a special direction of realism. But both Karl Immerman and Georg Buchner contributed to this process from different positions.
The literary legacy of Karl Leberecht Immermann (1796–1840) is not of equal artistic value. Among his dramas, of interest are the historical drama Andreas Hofer (1834) about the anti-Napoleonic uprising in Tyrol, and the fantastic drama Merlin (1832) based on the medieval myth of the magician Merlin. But Immermann’s most significant contribution to German literature comes from two of his novels. The first of these, The Epigones (1836), was written in the tradition of the novel of education (Bildungsroman). By placing his hero between two social forces, the nobility and the bourgeoisie, Immermann managed to realistically reflect, in the words of Engels about Balzac, the increasing “penetration of the rising bourgeoisie into noble society” (Marx K., Engels F., Collected Works, 2nd ed. Vol. 37 p. 36). Under the conditions of Germany, the writer could observe only the early stage of this process, but the objective logic of historical development clearly emerges in the novel.
The novel Munchausen. History in arabesques (1838–1839) reveals more sharply the author’s critical attitude to the world around him, which seems to him unstable, transitional, having lost its former supports and not having found others. The social ideal of the writer is revealed in the large inserted novella Starostin Dvor, which is often published separately; this ideal is associated with the way of life of a prosperous peasant. But, despite the idealization of the patriarchal way of life, Immermann’s undoubted merit is the experience of creating a German social realistic novel.
One of the most prominent writers and thinkers of this era was Georg Büchner (1813–1837), a revolutionary democrat whose work was only partially known to his contemporaries (his writings were first published in full in 1879). Only in the 20th century, true recognition came to him and he was appreciated as an artist who paved new paths in the art of the word.
Büchner’s materialistic positions sharply distinguished him from the German writers of the 1830s. It is especially significant that he extended the materialist approach to the sphere of public life: in explaining historical phenomena, he was free both from the enlightenment illusions characteristic, for example, of Boerne, and from the romantic subjectivism that left its mark on Heine’s worldview. True, his conviction in the unconditional determinism of all historical events led him to fatalism. “The individual is only foam on the wave, greatness is pure chance, the dominance of genius is a puppet theater, a ridiculous attempt to fight the iron law,” he wrote in March 1834.
Buechner’s aesthetic program was innovative in the literature of the 1830s. He did not confine himself to criticism of romanticism, but he was the only one among the German writers of his contemporaries who persistently and consistently defended the principles of realism. The hero of his short story Lenz utters a passionate tirade in defense of the vitality and plausibility of art. According to Buechner, this is the only criterion of art, more important than the recognition of its work as beautiful or ugly. Any idealization is considered by him as a rejection of the main principle of the artist: to write the truth. He prefers the Dutch masters to Raphael. He judges sharply and uncompromisingly: “People are not able to draw a doghouse and now they undertake to create ideal images: but everything that I have seen of this kind is nothing more than wooden dolls.”
In this rejection of ideal images, one cannot see a refusal to embody the ideal. Buechner’s controversy has a specific historical and literary address: it is directed against the art of Weimar classicism and against the romantics. Of the two great Weimarians, Büchner, however, is sharply critical of Schiller alone. Realism for Buechner is associated with the active position of the author. Dissociating himself from the Young Germany (he spoke about this in a letter to his relatives dated January 1, 1836), not accepting tendentiousness in that obsessive form that manifested itself in the work of many Young Germans, Buchner, at the same time, as an artist, did not separate himself from a political thinker. Moreover, he considered his work as a continuation of revolutionary activity, forcibly interrupted as a result of the defeat of the underground organization Society of Human Rights, which he headed.
According to Buchner, the poet is not a “teacher of morality”, as the enlighteners believed, and not the creator of ideal images, as Schiller and the romantics did, according to him. True art is the art of merciless truth. But this truth has the meaning of a sentence, and the artist is the judge. No wonder he likens Danton to a silk cord intended for the German princes and their henchmen. In this regard, we can recall the image of the lictor in the 6th canto of Germany. A Winter’s Tale by Heine: a lictor with an ax accompanying the poet.
In aesthetics, Büchner, however, is not of the same mind as Heine. The tasks that he set for art were, to some extent, ahead of their time. Buechner’s aesthetic was a new word not only in German literature with a belated development of its critical realism. Two things distinguish him from contemporary European realists: there was no other writer who would so consistently combine adherence to the principles of materialism and realism with the demand for a revolutionary transformation of reality; and, as his work shows, in depicting the personality and its relationship with the environment, he followed paths that were different from those followed by the French and English realists of the mid-19th century.
Buchner’s artistic heritage is small: the historical drama The Death of Danton (1835), the comedy Leonce and Lena (1836, published in full in 1850), the short story Lenz (published posthumously in 1839). The social drama Woyzeck remained unfinished (first published in 1879). But in each of these genres, Buechner managed to say a new word.
The historical drama The Death of Danton reflects the general desire of the leading German writers of the 1830s to comprehend the French experience. But Buechner writes this drama immediately after the failure of the Society for the Rights of Man, reflecting on the lessons of the French of 1794 in the light of his tragic experience. In the center of the drama – the last days of Danton, the clash of the Epicurean morality of Danton and the harsh morality of the Incorruptible. This conflict between the two leaders of the revolution takes place against the backdrop of colorful mass scenes in which the people are shown with all their worries, need, deprivation, and hunger. Robespierre turns to the people, bringing Danton to justice. Danton also appeals to the people before his execution: “You want bread, but they throw heads at you!”
In Buechner’s drama, the people behave noisily, restlessly, but they do not determine the course of history. The imprint of fatalism lies on the historical conception of the author. Danton dies, but only three months remain before 9 Thermidor. Robespierre is incorruptible, but he is surrounded by mercenary people, perhaps more selfish than Danton, who is accused of treason, because he demands to stop the course of the revolution, to stop executions. Buchner reflects on the fate of the revolution, he condemns Danton and the Dantonists, for he is convinced that the struggle cannot be stopped halfway. No wonder he wrote so sharply and contemptuously about the German liberals. But the playwright also shows the injustice of Danton’s trial. Some fatal forces have set in motion that cannot be stopped. Before their inevitability, not only Danton is alone, but also Robespierre, like Buchner himself after the defeat of his secret organization. The Death of Danton is a drama of reflection: its characters argue, the struggle of ideas is presented in tense dialogues. At the same time, the drama conveys the color of the era, and folk types, and the peculiarities of the vocabulary of the revolutionary years. Naturalistically naked pictures of everyday life, the rough speech of ordinary Parisians and Parisians organically merge with empathetic speeches in which ancient images, concepts, symbols appear.
If in the 19th century the drama about the revolution struck with its courage (although its full text was published only in 1850), then in the 20th century. the unfinished social drama Woyzeck aroused great interest. Its hero is a soldier, humiliated, downtrodden, disenfranchised. The captain teaches him, the doctor conducts medical experiments on him, and the drum major seduces his wife Maria. But in this humiliation, Woyzeck does not lose the ability to introspection, he quite clearly comprehends the social meaning of his disasters. He argues with the captain about morality, popularly explaining to him that rich and poor morals are inevitably different. One of the artistic merits of Buchner is the depiction of the confused consciousness of an oppressed person. It was the image of a lonely person opposing the surrounding hostile world that Woyzeck attracted the attention of many Western writers in the 20th century.
The unexpected death of the 23-year-old author interrupted work on the play. But the forced fragmentation and two variants of the finale are perceived in our time not as an accident, but as a kind of invariance, and receive a new embodiment in modern aesthetic searches.
The short story Lenz is also devoted to the analysis of torn consciousness – the fate of the famous poet of the Sturm und Drang movement. But here the main thing is not the social, but the philosophical aspect. The hero either painfully searches for his place in life, or finds out his relationship with God. But Buechner’s task is by no means reduced to giving a psychological portrait of the mentally ill poet of the 18th century. He brings a lot of his “I” into this image, putting into the mouth of the hero – in the hours of his insight – his thoughts about the art and mission of the poet. This multifaceted narration is one of the features of Buechner’s realism, which has no parallels in his contemporary French and English realism.
Assessing the artistic method of Buchner, a playwright and prose writer, literary criticism of our time notes in his work tendencies leading to naturalism, expressionism, and the so-called intellectual genres of the 20th century. At the same time, these diverse and sometimes mutually exclusive tendencies are organically connected in Buechner with the search for a materialistic understanding of the world and its realistic depiction.
In the 1830s, a new stage began in the work of Heinrich Heine. In May 1831 he emigrated from Germany and henceforth lived in Paris until the end of his life. In the 1830s, he acted primarily as a critic and publicist. From his correspondence for the Augsburg General Gazette grew the book French Affairs (1832), a series of essays analyzing the social and political problems that arose after the July Revolution and the establishment of the bourgeois monarchy in France. Like Boerne, Heine not only acquaints the German reader with the course of events in France, he broadens his social horizons, helps to comprehend German problems in the light of European historical experience and the advanced ideas generated by this experience. At the same time, Heine does not share the liberal illusions that sounded in many Letters from Paris by Ludwig Boerne, Heine’s view is sharper, more insightful in assessing the anti-people character of the July regime.
At the same time, in other books, Heine turned to the French reader, telling him about the nature of the German ideology. The book On the History of Religion and Philosophy in Germany was conceived as a kind of propylene, an introduction to the realm of the German spirit. Heine finds a special tone of trust in this account of German philosophical systems from Luther to Hegel. Reflections on the struggle between spiritualism and sensationalism, in which he sees the main driving force in the history of ideas, clear biographical details of the character of this or that philosopher, figurative interpretation of difficult theoretical positions, witty critical strikes against his philosophical opponents – all this gives a unique originality to the genre of the book. Heine was one of the few contemporaries who was able to recognize the revolutionary meaning of Hegel’s dialectic. In this regard, he went further than the left Hegelians, trying to prove that not only Hegel, but the whole of German classical philosophy is fraught with destructive ideas. It is also noteworthy that Heine dedicated his book to P. Enfantin, one of the leading theorists of utopian socialism.
Of great importance was another book, also addressed to French readers, The Romantic School, polemically directed against the book of Madame de Stael On Germany, which, as is well known, was written not without the influence of August Wilhelm Schlegel. Heine was irritated by de Stael’s attempts at the beginning of the century to present as idyllic and conflict-free that old Germany, the destruction of which all the leading German writers of the 1830s had risen to. De Stael’s book outraged Heine, for, as he later wrote in Confessions (1854), the French writer “sees spiritualism everywhere, she praises our honesty, our virtue, our spiritual development, she does not see our prisons, our brothels, our barracks…”.
Giving a broad panorama of German literature in the first third of the 19th century, Heine first of all emphasizes the ideological delimitation in it. He sharply and uncompromisingly exposes reactionary tendencies in romanticism, moments of idealization of the Middle Ages and propaganda of Catholicism. But Heine’s concept differs significantly from the anti-romantic position of Wienbarg and other Young Germany writers. Denying and denouncing, sometimes going to extremes in his assessments, Heine at the same time found exciting weighty words to appreciate the charm of the songs of The Magic Horn of the Boy, and the tragedy of Hoffmann, and Chamisso’s lively sense of modernity. Historically, more objectively than Boerne and Wienbarg, Heine characterizes Goethe, although he agrees with contemporaries that the great Weimarian belongs to a bygone era. Heine sees the hallmark of the new era in the fact that “the spirit of the individual has been replaced by the spirit of the masses.” It sounded like a condemnation of the idea of educating an individual (like Wilhelm Meister) and especially romantic subjectivism. The complexity of Heine’s position, however, was that he himself remained largely faithful to the romantic conception of the individual. It was not for nothing that the Left Hegelians A. Ruge and R. Prutz condemned Heine precisely for his subjectivism and the elements of play and coquetry associated with it in his writings.
Both of Heine’s works are written in the free manner of an essay, they contain a lot of personal, a lot of polemical exaggerations, it is not difficult for modern literary science to make adjustments to some of his assessments. But in the German literature and aesthetics of the 1830s, it was Heine who managed to approach the phenomena of philosophy and literature of the previous period with historical criteria based on the advanced experience of the European social movement. The controversy with spiritualism for Heine is by no means academic in nature, for he is convinced that spiritualism and religion are needed by the powerful of the world in order to maintain their power. Philosophical categories acquire a sharp social meaning under the pen of Heine: “For I believe in progress, I believe that humanity was created for happiness ... Already here on earth, I would like, with the grateful mediation of free political and industrial institutions, to affirm that bliss, which, according to pious people, will reign only in heaven on the day of the Last Judgment.” These words almost literally precede “a new song, a better song” from the first chapter of the poem Germany. A Winter’s tale.
From the artistic prose of Heine of these years, the short story Florentine Nights (1836) stands out, full of subtle irony and romantic lyricism.
His publicistic book Heinrich Heine about Ludwig Boerne (1840), a kind of act of disengagement from the most popular German writer in progressive circles. Heine, who brilliantly mastered the art of romantic irony, builds his analysis of the worldview and activities of Boerne, interspersing the highest praise and very irreverent revelations. Sometimes the line between the one and the other is elusive, and the author seems to amuse himself with this game, either admiring the writer or mocking him. At some points, Heine’s criticism was fair: he saw the limitations of Boerne’s republicanism. But Heine did not take into account that under the then German conditions, Boerne’s ideas as a whole corresponded to the tasks of the democratic movement, the very name of Boerne was the banner of the party of progress.
In 1840–1843 Heine published more than sixty articles on the pages of the Augsburg Universal Gazette, analyzing the political situation of the July Monarchy, characterizing the activities of Guizot and Thiers. In 1854, these articles were published as a separate book, Lutetia.
The poem Atta Troll (1843) appeared at a time when a new stage was clearly marked in German literature, associated with the beginning in 1840 of a democratic upsurge in the country. Under these conditions, Heine took a special position, already outlined in the book on Boerne. Witty, irresistible are the blows that the satirist Heine inflicts on German philistinism, on his attempts to cover up his spiritual poverty with beautiful phrases, and in the image of the Knight of Schnapgan he vividly represents one of the last of the Prussian Junkers. In this regard, Heine’s satire is acutely relevant. But then the poet emphasizes that he himself is far from party passions and prefers the free song of romanticism. Irony extends to the political poetry of these years, as evidenced by the poem Georg Herwegh, and Heine’s evasive position in the dispute between Herwegh and Freiligrath. Thus, Heine’s irony acquires the dangerous features of that “universality” that was formulated in its time by Friedrich Schlegel, “universality” combined with pronounced subjectivism. The Rhine Gazette, which generally highly appreciated Heine and printed chapters from the poem Atta Troll, at the same time published a very critical review, the author of which reproached the poet for his romantic subjectivism and lack of a clear social position.
The contradiction consisted in the fact that, while uncompromisingly denouncing “old Germany”, Heine had little faith in the possibilities of the German opposition movement (despite his own predictions in 1834 that “thought precedes deed”). To a certain extent, this was affected by isolation from the homeland. The turning point occurred in 1843, when, after a long break, the poet made a trip to Germany. Its result was the poem Germany. A Winter’s Tale and the poetic cycle Modern Poems.
Germany. A Winter’s Tale (1844) is the pinnacle of German revolutionary-democratic literature. Heine also resorts to romantic images in this poem in order to more vividly and sharply present the nightmarish spectacle of German reality. But, unlike the poem Atta Troll, there is nothing left of the poet’s romantic irony and skepticism. Romantic irony gives way to harsh and passionate satire. It is not for nothing that the poet recalls in the finale the “Dante’s hell” and the “terrifying tercina” of the great Florentine – he is convinced of the enormous destructive power of his satirical word.
As in The Romantic School, he is uncompromising in relation to any romanticism that hides reactionary political goals, whether it be the dream of a new Barbarossa or the hype around the completion of the Cologne Cathedral. The romantic images of Heine himself take on a combative meaning. Such is the image of the lictor with an ax, who accompanies the poet and is called upon to translate critical thought into revolutionary action. The poet achieves a brilliant effect by saturating his dialogue with Barbarossa with examples from the era of the Jacobin terror.
The accusatory poem is preceded by the first chapter, in which the image of a girl singing about the earthly vale grows into a symbol of humility, religious renunciation, disarming the people in the struggle for their future. It is here, under the influence of Saint-Simon, that Heine sets out a program for reorganizing the world on the basis of equality and justice: his “new song, better song” calls for “here on earth” to arrange the “kingdom of heaven”, and for this you need so that “diligent hands” do not work for a “lazy belly.” The combative optimistic overture to the poem to some extent softens the harsh and gloomy epilogue: a prediction of a bleak future for Germany.
At the moment of completion of the poem, Heine met the young Marx in Paris. Since then, they maintained friendly relations, until the revolution of 1848, when it became clear from published documents that Heine received money from the secret funds of the Guizot government.
The poem Germany. A Winter’s Tale was published together with the Modern Poems cycle, which also included political lyrics from the early 1840s (which is now published separately as a Modern Poems cycle). Satirical motifs also predominate here (Songs of Praise to King Ludwig, New Alexander). Heine does not spare political poets either, he asks Herwegh ironic questions, and in the poem The Political Poet he expresses doubt that the modern Tyrtaeus will find understanding among the German layman: “A slave loves to sing about freedom in the evening in an institution. From this, the drink is tastier, the digestion is livelier.”
Heine’s lyrics include a new theme. He responds to the events in Silesia with the poem Silesian Weavers. Among the stream of sentimental responses, the authors of which expressed sympathy for the weavers, Heine (along with Weerth) reveals this topic on a large scale. Behind the formidable refrain “we weave” a rebellious mass is guessed. The poet creates a generalized romantic image of the proletarians, and their curse of old Germany sounds like a formidable warning to the coming avengers.
Heine meets 1848 seriously ill, he is bedridden. Even after the February Revolution in Paris, he has little faith that the Germans are capable of anything like that. During the revolution and after its defeat, he acts mainly as a satirist. Like Marx’s New Rhine Gazette, it denounces the enemies of the revolution, angrily ridicules the German Michel, who made a noise in March, and then woke up again under the protection of 34 sovereigns.
The last poetic collection of the poet Romancero (1851) is diverse and ambiguous. The first part of it, History, resembles a collection of ballads, but these are ballads in Heine’s ironic and satirical way; close to them is the third part, Jewish Melodies with the well-known satirical Dispute. The second part, Lamentations, includes poems of different content, among them Enfant perdu, a variant of the Monument or epitaph to oneself, an assessment of one’s role as a soldier in the battles for freedom.
Heine’s work is an outstanding phenomenon not only in German, but also in European literature of the second quarter of the century. The contradictions of his worldview, the ambiguity of his attitude towards romanticism, the paradoxical combination of free song, which rejects any trend, with scourging satire – all this reflects not only his individual characteristics, but also the complex process of development of Western European society. The fighting pathos of the new, better song and intransigence to any form of oppression – social and spiritual – ensured Heine’s immense popularity in Russia.
The work of Eduard Mörike and Annette Droste-Hulshof develops somewhat apart.
The first collection of poems by Eduard Mörike (1804–1875), published in 1838, did not attract the attention of readers: the country was on the eve of a stormy pre-March decade, and the closed world of the poet’s subjective impressions did not correspond in any way with the era of sharp ideological battles. Even Mörike’s perception of nature was chamber – in his landscapes there was neither the mystery inherent in the nature of Tieck, nor that breadth of boundless expanses along which Eichendorff’s wanderer walks. At the same time, the sincerity of tone, simplicity and even some naivety (coming from folklore) bring Moerike closer to late romantic lyrics. Moerike worked carefully on the musical rhythmic structure of his poems, which attracted the attention of many composers (including Schumann and Brahms) to him. Along with Chamisso, Müller and Heine Mörike was one of the most “lyrical” German poets of this era. On the advice of Turgenev, P. Viardot wrote music for the texts of Mörike.
In 1846, Moerike wrote poems depicting the material world surrounding the poet (Lamp, Inscription on the Clock, etc.). These poems to a certain extent anticipate the lyrics of the French Parnassians. But if Theophile Gauthier spoke after the revolution of 1848, then Mörike created his poetic miniatures in the years when in Germany everyone on the lips had the battle calls of the “iron lark” Herwegh. Therefore, it is natural that Moerike’s poetry only later found a lively response from the reader.
As a prose writer, Mörike is best known for the novel The Painter Nolten (1832) and the short story Mozart on the Road to Prague (1855). Both works continue the romantic tradition of creating the image of the artist (Mörike himself was a talented master of drawing).
Away from the social movement of the 1830s and 1840s, the work of Annette Droste-Hülshof (1797-1848) also developed. Her life and work are mainly connected with Westphalia: she grew up in an aristocratic family, was brought up in the strict tenets of the Catholic Church and remained committed to the patriarchal way of the family estate. Patriarchal illusions and rejection of any social reforms determine the romantic nature of Droste-Hülshof’s worldview. In this regard, she is close to some Heidelberg romantics, as well as Swiss ideologists of the romantic era, such as Sismondi. The collections of poems (1838, 1844) by Droste-Hulshof included landscape lyrics, as well as ballads that told about extraordinary events in the life of an ordinary, unremarkable hero. The poetess also owns a cycle of poems on religious topics: The Year of Spiritual Songs (1851) – texts for the canonical church calendar.
Among her prose works are essays dedicated to her native mountainous land (1845), the short story The Beech of the Jews (1842) is a gloomy episode from the 18th century, similar in genre to a detective story, to a certain extent similar to the tragic short stories of Edgar Allan Poe.
The path of Bettina von Arnim (1785–1859) was different. The granddaughter of the famous sentimental writer Sophie Laroche, sister of Klemens Brentano and wife of Achim von Arnim, she grew up in an atmosphere of romantic quest, while inheriting the cult of Goethe from her mother Maximiliane Laroche. Young Bettina, living in Frankfurt am Main, was also closely acquainted with Goethe’s mother, learned from her many details of his childhood and youth. Bettina retold them to Goethe himself, and he later used these memories in his book Poetry and Truth. Bettina met Goethe more than once, starting in 1807 she corresponded with him, and even tried to influence him, drawing the attention of the great Olympian to the social problems of her time. A monument to this friendship was her first book, Goethe’s Correspondence with a Child (1835), which, however, was not a simple publication of letters. Bettina significantly reworked both her letters and those of Goethe, turning her correspondence into a kind of “novel in letters”, an artistic document of a just ended era.
In the 1840s, Bettina intensively continued her literary activity. Her worldview during these years is a complex alloy of enlightenment illusions, romantic utopia and great social insight, a keen sense of modernity, which allowed her to declare that the proletariat is the most productive and morally healthy part of society. There is speculation that she met with the young Marx.
Her publicistic work This Book Belongs to the King (1843) was a resounding success, in which she spoke about the plight of the workers, secretly hoping that the king would listen to her voice. She openly took the side of the rebellious Silesian weavers, which caused not only attacks from the ruling circles, but even reproaches that it was her inflammatory activities that contributed to the uprising. The theme of the plight of the workers she also revealed in The Book of the Poor, which lay in the archive for more than a hundred years and was published only in 1964.
The 1840s are usually referred to in German literary histories as pre-March. In fact, literature at that time developed primarily in line with those moods and ideas that prepared the March Revolution of 1848. Political poetry and journalism received the greatest development.
At the turn of the 1830s and 1840s and in the early 1840s, philosophical disputes occupied a central place in journalism. The left Hegelians spoke first in the Halle Yearbooks (1838-1841), renamed in 1841 into the German Yearbooks, and then in the pages of the Rhine Gazette (1842-1843), which, being an organ of “politics, trade and crafts”, at the same time paid great attention to issues of ideology, art and literature and played an important role in the formation of the pre-March stage in German literature. One of the leading left Hegelian critics, Robert Prutz (1816–1872), using Hegelian concepts, asserted in his articles the genre of political poetry as a natural stage in the development of the German national spirit.
Founded in Cologne, the center of the Rhine region with the most developed industry and trade, the Rhine Gazette immediately became an attractive center for many writers who criticized the existing order. In April 1842, Karl Marx began to collaborate in the Rhine Gazette. In the articles published on the pages of the newspaper, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels are still on the positions of revolutionary democracy, but in these years there is already a “transition ... from idealism to materialism and from revolutionary democracy to communism” (Lenin V.I., Collected Works, Vol. 26, p. 82). In October 1842, Marx became the editor of the newspaper, he sought to give a militant character to its entire direction, which soon aroused the displeasure of the Prussian authorities.
The literary materials published by the Rhine Gazette were very unequal. But their main direction responded to the call of Herwegh to serve the cause of the renewal of Germany. In February 1842, the newspaper enthusiastically welcomed Herwegh’s poem The Party. This poem was written as a response to Ferdinand Freiligrath, who spoke out in 1841 against all tendentious poetry. Freiligrath declared that “the poet stands on a tower higher than the tower of the party.” The entire literary Germany took part in the dispute between the two poets. In the context of the beginning of a public upsurge, naturally, Herwegh’s call received a warm response: “Heralds! Singers! There is no place for indifference! // Under a thundercloud, who remains quiet? // Throw yourself into this fight with unstoppable passion, // Like a faithful sharp sword, sharpening the verse!” (Translated by N. Verzheyskaya).
The very concept of party membership was defended quite consistently in the pages of the Rhine Gazette, of course, in the sense in which it became widespread in those years: as adherence to a political trend, as belonging to the camp of freedom and democracy (for parties in Germany, in fact, have not yet It was). In defending the political trend in literature, the newspaper often referred to the tradition of Ludwig Boerne, who was clearly preferred over Heine. The critical notes in Heine’s assessment are connected with the fact that he took, according to the newspaper, a skeptical position in relation to the social movement in Germany.
A number of reviews and notes in the Rhine Gazette were devoted to the classical heritage. Unlike Young Germany and Boerne, who sharply censured Goethe for political indifference, the authors of the Rhine Gazette speak of Goethe with respect, but do not show much interest in him. On the contrary, the name of Schiller is often and always enthusiastically mentioned. Of particular interest is the article Schiller and the People’s Stage (March 28–30, 1843), whose anonymous author calls for the creation of a people’s theater based on the Schiller tradition. Genuine theater, he said, should be “the clearest, most faithful and noblest mirror of people’s life.”
Although the newspaper existed for only fifteen months, its literary-critical materials contributed to the consolidation of the advanced forces of German literature. The Rhine Gazette resolutely affirmed a new aesthetic principle, demanding from poets an open political tendency and seeing in the struggle against feudal backwardness the first and noblest task of every writer.
Meanwhile, the Left Hegelians began to lose their monopoly role in the philosophical movement of the era. With the publication of Ludwig Feuerbach’s book The Essence of Christianity (1841), a new direction in philosophy was clearly marked. Feuerbach’s materialistic ideas played an important role in overcoming the long tradition of German idealism and shaping the worldview of a number of revolutionary poets of the 1840s, including Herwegh and Weerth.
In the mid-1840s, the publications of the so-called “true socialists” who came out with sentimental criticism of the bourgeois relations that were taking shape in Germany, occupied a large place in German journalism. Soon the views of the “true socialists” and their poetry were subjected to severe criticism in the works of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. The merit of the “true socialists”, however, was that they were the first in literature to draw the attention of German readers to the hard lot of the proletarians.
Political lyrics became widespread in the early 1840s. Several collections are published in three to four years: Non-Political Songs by A. G. Hoffmann von Fallersleben (1840–1841), Poems by R. Prutz (1841), Poems of a Living Man (1841–1843) by G. Herwegh, Forbidden Songs of a German Poet (1844) by A. Glassbrenner.
A huge resonance throughout Germany was caused by the poetry collection Poems of a Living Man by Georg Herwegh (1817-1875). The poet sounded a battle cry addressed to his contemporaries. Unlike the bourgeois democrats, who advocated a constitution and expected a peaceful reform from above, Herwegh boldly called for an armed struggle for freedom.
In an atmosphere of public upsurge, one idea had a militant political echo: that freedom is not invoked by spells but it is conquered. An appeal sounds: to tear out the cemetery’s iron crosses in order to reforge them into “swords of freedom.” “Only he is free,” the poet declared, “who manages to get his own will in a dashing battle.” He recalls the famous words of the militant humanist of the 16th century Ulrich von Hutten: “I dared” – and makes them the title of the poem. Herwegh’s political program in a number of poems was expressed vaguely and not always consistently. But in general, in the collection Poems of a Living Man, the poet acted as a fiery Republican.
Of all poetic genres, Herwergh preferred the song. “The song is the touchstone for the lyric poet,” he wrote in his article Poetry in Austria. Among the poets on the eve of the revolution of 1848, it was Herwegh, and somewhat later Freiligrath, who deserved the credit for developing the revolutionary song genre.
Herwegh’s poems are dynamic in rhythm, almost all of them are written in passionate intonation. This feature of Herwegh’s poetic style reflected both the strength and the weakness of his ideological program. His revolutionary appeals were, as a rule, very abstract. In his poetic dictionary, such phrases as “morning dawn”, “morning call”, “spring of peoples” are constantly found, acquiring the character of a poetic stamp and reflecting the vagueness and fuzziness of the poet’s political program.
From 1843 Herwegh lived in Paris, from 1848 in Switzerland. In Paris, he often met with Karl Marx, became close friends with A. I. Herzen and Mikhail Bakunin. Soon after the February Revolution, Herwegh headed a committee of German emigrants, and in April 1848, an armed detachment that invaded German territory, which was soon defeated. In Prussia and other German states, Herwegh was outlawed, and all ties with the German reader were severed. However, Herwegh remained faithful to the ideals of revolutionary democracy. He continued to castigate reaction, and in 1870 he was one of the few German poets who denounced the militarism and spirit of chauvinism that reigned in Germany after the victory over France. He also created several songs that affirmed the historical mission of the working class. In 1863, at the request of Lassalle, Herweg wrote an anthem for the “General German Workers' Union”. Lines from this anthem: “All wheels will stop if your strong hand wants”, became winged, constantly sounded in the speeches of social-democratic orators, were taken out in the headlines of newspapers; V. I. Lenin cites them in his articles.
Along with the invocative and pathetic lyrics of G. Herwegh, R. Prutz and other poets in German literature of the 1840s, satire played a huge revolutionary and propaganda role. Here, first of all, Heine’s contribution is significant, as already mentioned above. In an atmosphere of democratic upsurge, satirical works began to fill the pages of such mass publications as folk calendars. The most popular satirist of the 1840s, Adolf Glassbrenner (1810–1876), also acted as a compiler of calendars. He was a writer of inexhaustible imagination: he wrote poetry, short stories, everyday scenes (most often in the Berlin dialect), aphorisms; together with the artist T. Hoseman, they worked on works in which the satirical text was combined with a graphic drawing. His series of comic essays Berlin as it eats and drinks (1832-1850) amounted to 32 issues; these essays typologically connect him with Dickens, the author of the Essays of Boz, with the French and Russian “physiological essay”. Glassbrenner, as a writer of everyday life, opened up a new frontier in the development of German realism.
In the 1840s, Glassbrenner’s comedy turns into satire. His great poem The New Reinecke Fox (1846) is directed against the church as an institution of spiritual enslavement, against all forms of tyranny, including against colonial expansion. A student of Hegel, Glassbrenner saw the driving force behind progress in the development of the spirit. This manifested the idealism of the writer, but at the same time his historical optimism. Unlike Heine, who completed the poem Germany. A Winter’s Tale with a gloomy forecast, the poet draws a utopia in the poem New Reinecke Fox – a state without tyrants and priests.
But the highest artistic achievements of Glassbrenner as a satirist are associated with small genres: everyday scenes, anecdotes, parables, numerous satirical miniatures. The main target of his satirical attacks is the German petty bourgeois, the notorious Michel, who was castigated by both Heine and Weerth. Not fully sharing the program of revolutionary democracy, Glassbrenner in many works spoke with great courage on the most pressing issues of his time. The new social problem that emerged after the Silesian uprising – the problem of labor and capital – was comprehended by him mainly in moral categories. But he was far from the sentimentality of the “true socialists” and ended his Tale of Poverty and Wealth (1844) with an expressive finale: “Poverty once killed Wealth.” To the defeat of the revolution, Glassbrenner, like Heine, responded with poems filled with tragedy.
The most militant organ of the period of the revolution was the New Rhine Gazette, which was published from June 1, 1848 to May 19, 1849 in Cologne under the direction of Karl Marx. The editorial board included the poets G. Weerth, E. Dronke, F. Freiligrath. The work of Freiligrath during the New Rhine Gazette and the work of Weerth represent a special stage in German literature of the 1840s.
Ferdinand Freiligrath (1810–1876) began his career as early as 1839 with a collection of romantic poems. The world of artistic images of the young poet bore little resemblance to the traditional motifs and themes of German romantics: it was full of exotic African deserts, images of the sultry south. In this passion for bright colors and spectacular images (a giraffe galloping with a lion clinging to its back), the poet himself later saw a form of “protest against manual poetry” of our time.
The public upsurge of the 1840s soon captured Freiligrath, who had previously held an apolitical position. In his collection The Symbol of Faith (1845) he included a number of poems directed against the Prussian reaction. Their tone was liberal-democratic. But already in the collection, entitled with the opening words of the song of the French Revolution Ça ira (1846), fighting prayers sounded. In the poems Free Press, Ice Palace he called for a revolution, and in the solemn ode From Bottom to Top, for the first time, Freiligrath had the image of a formidable proletarian who claims his rights.
Freiligrath welcomed the beginning of the European revolution with the poem The first thunder rang out in the mountains. In one of the first issues of the New Rhine Gazette, his poem Against All Odds appeared, the content of which corresponded to the course of the New Rhine Gazette to continue and deepen the revolution. This idea was expressed with particular force in Freiligrath’s poem The Dead Alive (July 1848), distributed as a leaflet. Having become a member of the editorial board of the New Rhine Gazette, Freiligrath continued to speak on its pages, developing in poetic form the program ideas of Karl Marx associated with certain events of the revolutionary year.
The victory of reaction in Germany put an end to the activities of the New Rhine Gazette. In 1850–1851 Freiligrath occasionally spoke with battle verses, but soon withdrew from the revolutionary movement, although he continued to maintain personal relations with Marx.
Georg Weerth (1822–1856) came to the New Rhine Gazette as a poet with an established outlook. Unlike Freiligrath, who spontaneously followed the course of events, already in 1844, during his stay in England, Weerth sought to comprehend the social contradictions of modern society. The experience of the Chartist movement, independent studies in political economy, acquaintance with the philosophy of Feuerbach and communication with Friedrich Engels, who was then working on the book The Condition of the Working Class in England, helped him become the first poet who consciously and actively affirmed the ideas of the revolutionary proletariat. In created in 1843-1848. The book of essays Sketches from the Social and Political Life of the British showed both Weerth’s outstanding journalistic skill and a deep understanding of social contradictions in the most developed capitalist country at that time. The writer not only depicts the disasters of the working class, but is also looking for a new hero – a fighter. The short story Feast of Flowers among the English Workers, included in the book, reveals the breadth of the writer’s views: he sees in the proletarian not only the decisive material force of society, but also great opportunities for spiritual progress.
Weerth’s lyrics of the pre-revolutionary years reflect the stages of the rapid formation of the poet’s worldview. In his earliest poems, Weerth is close to the song lyrics of the German romantics (Eichendorff, Uhland, the young Heine). But in the lyrics of 1844-1845. reflects the great social and political experience acquired by the poet in Chartist England. Songs of complaint in the spirit of the “true socialists” are soon replaced by poems filled with courageous faith. It develops its own poetic style. Weerth does not show a penchant for invitingly passionate intonation, characteristic of G. Herwegh, R. Prutz, partly F. Freiligrath and the mass political lyrics of the 1840s. Based on the song-romantic tradition, he creates specific realistic images that embody the essential features of his time.
Shortly after the March revolution in Berlin, Weerth went to Cologne with an order from Marx to find out on the spot the conditions for creating a revolutionary press organ. And when the first issue of the New Rhine Gazette came out, a chapter from a satirical story by a member of the editorial board, Weerth, was already being printed on its front page.
Weerth’s story Humorous Sketches from German Commercial Life (1847-1848) can be regarded as a landmark work in the history of German satire. Weerth here creates a colorful satirical image of the self-confident enterprising businessman Preis, at first frightened by the revolution, but then quickly able to adapt to the new situation. Although there are no proletarians among the characters in the story, the formidable power of the awakening class is constantly felt behind the scenes of the events depicted.
On the pages of the New Rhine Gazette, Weerth’s novel The Life and Deeds of the Famous Knight of Schnapgan (8.8.1848-21.1.1849) was also published – a witty satire on the Prussian nobility. This is the only work of Weerth, published during his lifetime as a separate edition (1849).
Weerth’s numerous feuilletons in verse and prose were also published in the New Rhine Gazette. Their general direction is accurately expressed in the opening words of a large poetic feuilleton: “I have never known a greater joy than it hurts to sting an enemy.”
Friedrich Engels wrote about the New Rhine Gazette: “The tone of the newspaper was by no means solemn, serious or enthusiastic. We had only contemptible opponents, and we treated everyone, without exception, with extreme contempt.” (Marx K., Engels F., Collected Works, 2nd ed. Vol. 21. p. 18). This tone of the newspaper was brilliantly supported by the satirical pen of Weerth, inexhaustible in wit, masterfully using different genres and satirical techniques: parodies, stylizations, montages. In the form of a review, he mockingly commented on materials published in reactionary and liberal-bourgeois newspapers. From the feuilleton arose his novel about the knight Schnapgan.
Clever and daring satire by Weerth, illuminated by militant revolutionary thought, permeated with confidence in the coming victory of the proletariat, is a unique phenomenon in European literature of the 19th century. But bourgeois literary criticism for many decades hushed up the legacy of “the first and most significant poet of the German proletariat” (Marx K., Engels F., Collected Works, 2nd ed. Vol. 21, p. 4). The first detailed biographical essay about Weert appeared in Germany only in 1930 (its author was a relative of the poet, Karl Weerth), but in reality Weerth was opened to readers by the efforts of the Soviet scientist Franz Petrovich Schiller (articles, publications and monograph of the early 1930s). The first complete collection of his works was published by Bruno Kaiser in the GDR (1956–1957).
Goethe saw one of the signs of the emerging world literature in the fact that German literature in his time confidently entered the European arena. It is not only about the increase in translations, personal contacts and correspondence (the activities of Germaine de Stael, Thomas Carlyle and many others), the process of creative perception of aesthetic ideas and artistic conquests of German writers is developing. The aesthetic ideas of Wackenroder, the Schlegel brothers, and Schelling resonated with Coleridge and Hugo, with the young Belinsky and V. Odoevsky. The Russian democrats of the 1860s referred to the authority of Heine, to his new best song.
However, the true scale of the contribution of German literature to European literature could not be fully comprehended by contemporaries and even the closest descendants. It took many more decades before the legacy of Hölderlin, Kleist, Hoffmann, Buchner, the poets of the revolution of 1848, was duly appreciated.
It is impossible to remain silent about the fact that the first half of the 19th century in Germany was marked by the flourishing of music. And finally, it was these decades that were marked by the rise of philosophical thought – from Fichte to Feuerbach – and in the 1840s Germany became the birthplace of Marxism.