He suffered the most terrible ennui. The stillness made him ill; the narrowness of everything galled him to the quick. He describes himself as one of those natures which cannot in the long run endure the "solo music" of existence.
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He was one of the people who feel themselves out of place in a box at the theatre, who sit from choice in the pit, in the middle of the crowd. It seemed to him as if in Germany the bullion of life were minted underground, in the silence of midnight, like counterfeiters' coin. Those who worked did not enjoy, and those who enjoyed, who in the light of day set the money in circulation that had been coined in fear and trembling in the darkness, did not work.
In France a man of health and spirit lived a life like that of a king's messenger, who is sent with despatches to foreign towns, never twice to the same place, and who on his long journeys sees and enjoys life in its most different developments; in Germany he lived like a postilion, who is always taking the same short journey back and forwards between two post-houses, receiving a miserable tip from fortune for his trouble. When the news reached him that Polignac's ministry had issued the famous ordinances, had violated the constitution, he cried, anticipating all the consequences of this step: "And God said, let there be light!
The news of the Revolution of July followed. Soon he felt unable to remain in Soden. He returned to Frankfort, and astonished, electrified his environment by his fire. All his old dreams seemed to have become realities, and everything in him that he had been forcibly keeping down sprang up again like a spring when pressure is removed. On the 7th of September he writes from Strasburg: "The first French cockade I saw was on the hat of a peasant who passed me in Kehl coming from Strasburg.
It seemed to me like a little rainbow after the flood of our time, a sign of peace from a reconciled God. But when the bright tri-coloured flag greeted my eyes—oh! My heart beat so violently that I was on the point of fainting The flag was on the middle of the bridge, its staff rooted in French ground, but part of the bunting waving in German air. Ask the first Secretary of Legation you meet if this is not a breach of international law. It was only the red stripe of the flag that fluttered over our native soil.
When James Watters says "Jump!"..
And this is the one colour of French liberty that will be ours. Red, blood, blood—and alas! The heroism shown by the French students, polytechnicians, and working men during les trois jours glorieux was admired as much as in France itself, and doubly admired as the proof of an energy which the German people appeared to have lost.
There was a universal inclination to drift into exaggerated contempt of their own want of political aptitude and insight, their own want of ability to act at the decisive moment. Let us complete the picture by observing their effect on the men of the reaction. Gentz, who had at first exulted over Charles X. Such weapons ought to be played with only by people who are sure of their strength and of the means at their disposal. To venture into such regions means ruin for men like Polignac and Peyronnet. As soon, however, as the first alarm had subsided, he and his spiritual kindred set to work to take advantage of every mistake made by the Liberals.
A Blessing in Disguise
Wisely turned to account, the after-effects of the Revolution of July in Germany, by the occasion they gave for ruthless repression and persecution, censorship, and imprisonment, might lame the German Liberal movement for many a day; might as Metternich said a few years later of the Hambach Festival make the anniversary of the Revolution a day of rejoicing for the good instead of for the bad. And only a year later, Gentz, who at times had seen the future in a very dark light, was able to write: "Away with all gloomy forebodings now!
We are not to die, Europe is not to die, and what we love is not to die. I am proud of never having despaired. Before the Revolution of July it was still possible to look upon Heine as essentially the poet of unhappy love and the poetical humorist, with a touch of blasphemy and frivolity. In the summer of Heinrich Heine was at Heligoland, dreaming on the shore, gazing out to sea, listening to the plash of the waves. He had given up all hope of better times. He occupied himself with reading the few books he had taken with him—Homer, the Bible, the history of the Lombards, and some old volumes on witches and witchcraft.
He could hardly himself believe that he had quite lately been the editor of the Politische Annalen in Munich. Two days after the Revolution of July had taken place, but before the news of it had reached Heligoland, he wrote, in one of his letters from that island, that he had now determined to let politics and philosophy alone, and to devote himself entirely to the observation of nature and to art; that all this torture and trouble was to no purpose; that however great sacrifices he might make in the general cause, they would be of little or no avail; the world, doubtless, did not stand still, but it moved in a circle, with no result whatever; when he was young and inexperienced, he had believed that even if the individual perished in the war of human liberation, the great cause would be victorious in the end; now he recognised the fact that humanity, like the ocean, moved according to fixed laws of ebb and flow.
On the 6th of August he writes: "I was sitting reading Paul Warnefried's History of the Lombards, when the thick packet of newspapers, with the warm, glowing-hot news, arrived from the mainland. Each item was a sunbeam, wrapped in printed paper, and together they kindled my soul into a wild glow. I felt as if I could set the whole ocean, to the very North Pole, on fire, with the red heat of enthusiasm and mad joy that glowed within me. He felt as if he must go to Paris and see it for himself.
He writes with a passionate fervour, which he soon feels obliged to temper with a touch of self-contempt: "Lafayette, the tri-colour flag, the Marseillaise It intoxicates me. Bold, ardent hopes spring up, like trees with golden fruit and with branches that shoot up wildly, till their leaves touch the clouds My longing for rest is gone.
CONCERNING LAFCADIO HEARN
I know once more what I desire, what I ought to, what I must, do I am the son of the Revolution, and again I take into my hand the charmed weapons, over which my mother spoke the magic spell Flowers, flowers! And the lyre, too; give me the lyre! Words like flaming stars, that shoot down from the sky, set palaces on fire, and illuminate huts Words like burnished javelins, that whirr up into the seventh heaven and transfix the pious hypocrites who have insinuated themselves into the holy of holies I am all gladness and song, all sword and flame, and quite possibly mad.
Among other things, he tells how the fisherman who some days later rowed him out to the sandbank from which they bathed, told him the news smilingly, with the words: "The poor people have won the victory. And yet the exact opposite was the real state of matters; it was the rich people who in the end were and remained the victors. But an utterance such as the last quoted suffices to show the light in which German authors regarded the Revolution of July. It inspired in them the same religious emotion with which forty years previously the leading spirits of the Germany of that day had regarded the great Revolution.
It was not to them the result of the strength of the Liberal bourgeoisie, and of their ability to persuade the lower classes to work and shed their blood for them; it was the general signal for the political, economical, and religious emancipation of humanity. It was the great deed that with one blow freed all nations from the yoke, all minds from oppression.
Weird Fiction in Britain – | SpringerLink
In one of the foremost of the Radical writers of the Forties, Robert Prutz at the time of the Revolution only fourteen , gave an excellent reproduction of the impression it created. For fifteen years they had been building and cementing, holding congresses, forming alliances, spreading the net of police supervision over the whole of Europe, forging fetters, peopling prisons, erecting gallows—and three days had sufficed to overturn one throne, and make all the others tremble.
It was not true then, after all, what the sovereigns had boasted, what the court romanticists had said and sung. It seemed as if a new spring must be at hand in the political and intellectual life of the German people.
Emil Kuh: Biographie Fr. Hebbels , i. Soden, May 22, Mit solchen Waffen darf man nur spielen, wenn man seiner Kraft und seiner Mittel gewiss ist. Leute wie Polignac und Peyronnet, wenn sie sich in diese Regionen versteigen, gehen zu Grunde. Wir sterben nicht, Europa stirbt nicht, was wir liebe stirbt nicht. Wie viel bilde ich mir darauf ein, nie verzweifelt zu haben.
Weird Fiction in Britain 1880–1939
The classical literature of Germany in the end of the eighteenth and the early years of the nineteenth century was in subject or form imitative of the antique; the Romantic literature which followed swore allegiance to the Middle Ages; both stood aloof from surrounding actualities, from the Now, from existing political or social conditions; neither directly aimed at producing any change in these. The ideal floated in the deep blue ether of Greece or in the Catholic sky of the Middle Ages.
Now it was resolutely dragged down to earth. The modern ideal, an ideal which contains no mythic element, manifested itself to the dreamers and the workers. And with a haste, a violence, that too often made prose journalistic, poetry only lyric or quite fragmentary, the opposition poets and prose writers set to work to draw all modern life into the sphere of literature. From the fact of this inclusion, this appropriation, taking place when things were on a war footing, wit and satire became more prominent powers than they had ever been before in Germany; and the mood and inspiration of the "Sturm und Drang" period seemed to have revived, so far as aggressive defiance of the established was concerned.
But there was one great man who, foreigner though he was, influenced German intellectual life by his personality, writings, and actions more than any of the famous men of the past. This was Lord Byron.
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