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    By: Peter Branscombe, Heinrich Heine

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    'One of the first men of this century' is how Heine described himself when he claimed to have been born in the early hours of 1800. It was typical of Heine to create this humorous doubt - he was in fact born in 1797. He was a restless and homeless poet, a Jew among Germans, a German in Paris, a rebel among the bourgeoisie and always, as his famous doppelgänger poems show, a man divided against himself. This selection, with the German originals accompanied by English prose translations, provides the perfect introduction to Heine. He can be magnificent as an acute, irreverent commentator on politics and current events, though his genius most often strikes home in the poems filled with despair, or sensuality, or sweetness, or self-mockery, in which he draws out the whole gamut of emotions provoked by love and immanent death.

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