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Tournier, Michel

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Le Point - France | 21/02/2006

Heine, the poet of exile

The French writer Michel Tournier pays tribute to the German poet Henri [Heinrich] Heine, who died in Paris on February 17, 1856. "Through his life and his work, Henri Heine illustrates the fundamental problem with the relationship that Jews have with Germany - without doubt the European country where Jews took root most strongly and where they magnificently blossomed. ... Exile is also the key to Henri Heine's life." Tournier cites his writings from 1831, at the moment when the poet moves to Paris and takes up a post as correspondent for Die Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper: "I was leading a life without satisfaction in Hamburg, I no longer felt secure there and, from that point, it did not take much to convince me that a giant friendly hand was beckoning me to come. Clearly, fleeing would be easy if one was not always dragging his homeland in tow." According to Tournier, "Germany remains Heine's great obsession." 

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