Bilingual Edition in English and German. Translated by Jacob Rabinowitz.
In 1835, the German principalities and cities banned the works of German-Jewish poet Heinrich Heine. The censors banned not only the works Heine had already published, but also prohibited, in advance, any work the writer might produce in the future. When Heine sneaked across the border from his Paris exile in 1843, the result was the poem-cycle Deutschland: Ein Wintermärchen (Germany: A Winter’s Tale). The Hamburg publisher Julius Campe published this book, and kept all of Heine’s work available “under the counter,” so that the banned poet was read even more widely than ever. Heine’s satires against German arrogance and militarism would continue in the 1840s, when the poet and Karl Marx worked together on the revolutionary newspaper Vorwärts. Heine’s books would be banned again by the Nazis, who made a point of burning his books, and erasing his name from published song lyrics. Even the most famous of all German Lieder, “The Lorelei,” was now said to have lyrics by “Author Unknown.”
Jacob Rabinowitz’s adaptation of the 27-poem cycle renders Heine’s verses into rapid-fire lines, almost as though Lenny Bruce were channeling his 19th century forebear. And instead of peppering the text with explanatory footnotes on the context of German culture and history in the poems, Rabinowitz incorporates helpful elucidations into the flow of the poems. For those who want to read the original German for themselves, this edition includes the complete 1844 German text on facing pages. With a Foreword by Brett Rutherford.