Night Thoughts 2
ACommentary on Heinrich Heine`s Nachtgedanken/ Night thoughts
Introduction In‘Nachtgedanken’ (nights of thoughts) the Heinrich it trying tocome to terms with his mothers silence and about their Jewishidentity. The first two lines,’’ thinking of Germany at night,Just puts all thought of sleep to flight’’ (Rudman 1996), clearly indicates the authors concern about the lack of space forartist especially in the literature world. It is evident that theauthor migrated out of Germany because of lack of a conduciveenvironment to exploit his ideas using poetry (Buhler2010). NightThoughts in Historical Context from 1789 to 1848 Thepolitical development in Europe in 1789 most notably the chains ofshort wars between the invincible Napoleon army and France, and thatconsequently led to the defeat of Germany, had major repercussion onforeigners living in Germany (Hobsbawm2007).The 1848 German revolution had completely altered the prospects ofscholars and liberals (Goethe & Whaley 1998). Though therevolution was meant to wage a protest against the risingexploitation of Germans through taxes, and political intimidation andcensorship the result was the unity of all German speaking peoplewhich significantly increased feeling of patriotism and nationalism. Many scholars and artist such as Heinrich were committed to liberaltheory, and when the conservatives took charge of the governmentafter the revolution all liberals were coerced into exile, andHeinrich moved to France (Andrew1978Grimm 2010).It is from France that he ponders about Germany and the suppressionof foreign culture by the political elite (Buhler2010). Theauthor is seeking consolation for a dreadful German reality and thedeficient culture. It is the suppression of foreigners and theirculture that prompts the author to point that German shall endure,because it is clear that it the leading elite that has made itinhospitable for factual artist. To Heinrich a better Germanyhitherto can only exist in literature, but there is hope that maybeone day the political and social climate may change and German shallappreciate the different cultures of foreigners. Atthe moment the only thing that attaches Heinrich with Germany is thefact that his mother still lives in Germany. The passionate memoryand incessant longing for his mother speaks volumes about how hefeels. In this poem Heinrich highlights the amazing resourcefulnessof the Jewish intellectuals as they continued to re-examine Judaismwith the tools of a German theoretical tradition. It emphasizes theseditious facets of German-Jews in the face of a Germany that wasbecoming more hostile to foreign influence (Buhler2010). Heinrichbrings into light the ambivalence and intricacy that mirrors theJewish identity and politics within a German tradition that haddevoted incredible faith in the political efficiency of philosophicalthought. In his youth Heinrich had travelled widely to many Europeannations and was all too aware of the people who had paved the way forthe Germany revolution (Konings2006).In this poem, Heinrich emotionally evokes the spirit and images ofromanticism, with both despondent and humorous verses that allude toGermany reality. Heinrich also seems astonished by the complacencyand idiocy of the 19thGermany (Rose 2014). For example he appears to wonder how his motherhas endured debilitating social environment for the 12 years he hasbeen in France. To him, Germany is like a dead log that is completelyunconscious to the welfare of the Jews. ThoughHeinrich suffered tremendously under the censor restriction, his firmbelieves in revolutionary ideas of equality and freedom for allpeople is rather clear. In the poem he states that ‘’Germany willfor evermore Endure she’s healthy to the core’’ (Rudman 1996).It is clear he has observed all the events taking place in Germany,for example the demise of his friends and still has chosen to hold onto the German language. Heinrich believes he has lost Germany foreverand the loss remains very painful, he writes "Should I think ofGermany at night/it puts all thought of sleep to flight" (Rudman1996). The poem reflects his inner conflict between deep distress andpolitical psychoanalysis. It is all too evident that a permanentfondness for Germany fumes in his heart.ReferenceList
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