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Germany: A Winter's Tale

Published by Smokestack Books

ISBN: 9780954869137

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Admired by Marx, quoted by August Bebel in the Reichstag, published by Rosa Luxemburg on the eve of the Spartakist uprising, banned by the Nazis, re-written by Brecht and by Wolf Biermann, Heinrich Heine's Germany: A Winter's Tale is one of the most political poems in European history. It is also one of the most entertaining, sometimes called "the wittiest feuilleton in world literature". Published four years before the revolutions of 1848, it reflects the extent of Heine's friendship with Marx, and takes beautifully-judged satiric swipes at Prussian expansionism, German Romanticism, liberal complacency and a swarm of Heine's fellow writers.

A work of sly wit, magical realism and epicurean relish, polemic and fantasy, the poem looks forward prophetically to the German future. Heine's chief concerns - exile, war and revolution, art and propaganda, political repression and cultural identity, the threat of hyper-power hegemony - are as relevant today as they were one hundred and sixty years ago.

”This poem is broad and high-minded. It sneers at time-serving in a way most of our modern poets, in search of a ready audience, a market, daren't. Imagination, it says, is all that can save us. Behind all its clever, sharp, funny vitriol is a quiet plea: let power cede to imagination and insight and we may make a world worth living in.” — Penniless Press
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