An Holistic Study of Structural Issues in Heine’s Romanzero
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
An holistic approach to Romanzero explores both the interconnectedness of individual parts and the significance of arrangement at the level of the single poem. Working primarily with the grain of this dialectic structure, it acknowledges the potential integrity of the collection as a whole, yet recognises the interdependence of its parts. Chapter One posits an overall structure of continuity, innovation and enigma. Within these parameters the suitability of structural approaches adopted by recent Heine scholars is debated, ranging from Zyklen, Tryptichon and Sequenzen. Cultural crisis, artistic and historical rootlessness are seen as a continuum in ‘Historien’. In ‘Lamentazionen’ these are traced as a personal Jewish lament, having formal and thematic roots in Heine’s past poetry. ‘Hebräische Melodien’ is considered as a potential resolution to be weighed against its ambivalent conclusion and the fragmentary status of ‘Jehuda ben Halevy’. Chapter Two considers the way in which the Ballade, Romanze and Zeitgedicht feed into the structure of Romanzero. Although it is necessary to account for Heine’s exploration of these sub-genres before their absorption into Romanzero, the focus is on the innovative generic structures which evolved as he confronted formal and thematic issues generated by the post 1848 context. Particular issues are the emergence of generic hybrids and the importance of the Romanzenton. Chapter Three grapples with abstract structure posed by ‘Jehuda ben Halevy’: structure of Jewish memory, coalescence into collective identity, and the restructuring of the poetic persona. Heine’s presentation of Halevy is discussed against the background of his Jewish project and the importance of canonical texts to the nineteenth century Jewish writer of Gedächtniskunst. A potential agenda within Heine’s sources also receives attention. Of importance to the overarching structural debate is the weight to be given to the rediscovery of Poesie in the context of disparities emerging in Section Four of ‘Jehuda ben Halevy’.
This is the final version of a thesis which was completed as part of a degree of M.Res. in European Languages and Cultures at the University of Exeter. The thesis was submitted in August 2013.