Bard Events Calendar

Hannah Arendt Center Presents

Monday, September 11, 2017
(Postponed) Hannah Arendt Center Associate Fellow, Alexander Soros Lecture: Goethe’s Ambivalent Double: Heinrich Heine as Jewish Dionysus
Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium
6:00 pm
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is widely recognized as the greatest German poet and is lionized as the embodiment of noble German culture. Many consider Heinrich Heine to be Goethe’s rival as lyric poet, yet his extraordinarily provocative texts are less well known. Partly because he was of Jewish ancestry, Heine has also been seen as a betrayer of Germany and a negative anti-type to Goethe, or at best as, in Theodor Adorno’s phrase, a “wound” for German culture. Heine himself was deeply ambivalent about Goethe, as both a model and a rival.
Heine recognized himself as Goethe’s Doppelgänger, an uncanny double, and in seeking to overcome this predicament Heine shaped his own vision. A singularly explicit and self-conscious instance of what Harold Bloom called “the anxiety of influence,” Heine presented himself as a parodic inversion of his towering predecessor, “the great pagan,” in his own words: “the great pagan no. 2.” This doubling relation allows us to reconsider Goethe’s own ambivalence, largely omitted in heroically idealized presentations of the poet; and it points to Heine’s primary contribution to Western art, his imagination of himself as a “Jewish Dionysus.” By attending to Heine's doubling relationship with Goethe, we can also begin to understand his profound impact on the thought of Friedrich Nietzsche. 

Alexander Soros is a doctoral candidate in the history department of the University of California at Berkeley. In 2012, he established the Alexander Soros Foundation, which supports human rights, social justice, and educational causes. He also created the Alexander Soros Foundation award for Extraordinary Achievement in Environmental and Human Rights Activism. The inaugural award went to Liberian activist Silas Siakor. Soros is the founding chair of the board of directors of Bend the Arc Jewish Action, a leading progressive Jewish domestic lobby in the United States. He also serves on the board of the Soros Economic Development Fund and on the advisory board of Global Witness. 

Free & Open to the Public

For more information, call 845-758-6822.

Time: 6:00 pm

Location: Reem-Kayden Center Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Auditorium