A boy loves a girl

Marcel Reich-Ranicki

A telegram from Heinrich Heine? Marcel Reich-Ranicki reads such a poem „ A boy loves a girl“ and also finds „ a discount“. In the coming weeks, in this section we will publish selected articles from the pen of Marcel Reich-Ranicki (Frankfurt Allgemeine Zeitung).

Heine, the lustful shepherd loved by later generations is said to be the most hysterical poet, in fact the most incompetent. As such, we know as much as we do not know about the erotic experiences that underlie his verses. The poem “A boy loves a girl” from the collection “Love Songs” (1) belongs to those few exceptions.

Things have long since been cleared up: Young Heine is in love with his cousin Amalie who lives in Hamburg, who doesn’t want to know anything about him, because she has a crush on another boy, and that guy. affection for another woman, causing Amalie to become frustrated and hastily marry a man named John Friedländer of East Prussia. Heine broke up and was disappointed and bitter empty-handed, how one can think of it. Many times Heine confided about this in letters to friends, although not very specific, but not completely wrong about this incident.

A telegram poem

The poem is about an event. But the presentation is unfamiliar. Because there is no description or presentation here, only the announcements are placed side by side, here only a summary. Couldn’t be shorter and more realistic: For a love scandal involving five people, Heine only needed two stanzas with a total of eight short verses. Poetic vocabulary, which he used to fully exploit in 1822, was avoided. We see no moonlight, no glorious night sky, no sunrise, and not only are there no forests, but there are no fields, no lovely flowers and shining trees. We don’t know anything about her eyes, cheeks, and small hands.

Only the most common words are used, which are words of the dry everyday. Coldly and indifferently the author reports, yet so strikingly cold and so emphatically real that one immediately guesses that the author wants to hide something. The brief assertions suggest a style that would later come to be known as the telegraph style. As for the results, German gives us no words (an interesting situation). We have to use a strange word to support ourselves: Understatement. That summary result only makes it more clear: In the two messenger stanzas, we have to involve a screaming “reduction”.

This story is old and trivial, yet at the same time very new for anyone to experience. Because pain repels all other emotions. And realizing that millions of people have suffered and are suffering at the same time because of the same thing, that fact is no consolation either. Whom it sows, rather than on whom it hits, that person’s heart is broken in two (so far there is a poetic image as a concluding harmony. Closely followed by very masculine hard rhymes, (erwählt – vermählt, Mann – dran), like a donkey bringing out order, is just a freight in the third stanza.If Heine had paid attention to that, he would have found a rhyme that would simply harmonize with „ neu“ (pure.) But here he wanted a rhyme that was not purely phonological, that is, a rhyme of harmony. This word is against harmony.

However, the first verse in the last stanza is a self-quote: In a letter to a friend written about Amalie, he described her as a ‘cliff that blew my mind to pieces. “. And then added: It’s an old story“. Shattered? Yes, it is because love „ looks with the heart, not with the eyes. And its heart is something that should never be used to make judgments.” This comes from that man, whose work Heine called the ‘Gospel on earth’: it was Shakespeare (2).

Among the many composers of Heine’s poetry, Robert Schumann (3) is the one who deserves the high throne. However, he misinterpreted the very poem “A boy loves a girl” (how bad is this only poem). He couldn’t determine the tempo for the poem, so the song was always sung in a jaunty and boisterous way – and the song wouldn’t allow any other singing. We rarely hear the sound background behind the gloom, alarm as well as the screams of the lover. Schumann overlooked the hidden drama between the lines. That’s why even the rhythmic part of Ritardando (4) in the sentence “You have to sow to everyone” could not be saved.

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