This bilingual chapbook offers a selection from Heinrich Heine’s sequence of poems Die Nordsee (The North Sea) which formed part of his Buch der Lieder (Book of Songs). Published in 1827 when Heine was in his late 20s, the Book of Songs launched his career, which over the following thirty years made him the major figure in German literature in the generation following Goethe and Schiller.
The North Sea sequence is expressive of Heine’s complicated relation to Romanticism, of which he was both an exponent and an ironic observer. Written in free verse rather than the rhymed quatrains he usually used, these poems explore the intersections between myth and everyday life in vivid scenes which mirror the fluid motions and moods of the sea.
For publication October 2021