Wilhelm Heinse

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Johann Jakob Wilhelm Heinse, painting by Johann Friedrich Eich , 1779 ( Gleimhaus , Halberstadt)

Johann Jakob Wilhelm Heinse , actually Heintze , (born February 15, 1746 in Langewiesen , Schwarzburg-Sondershausen , † June 22, 1803 in Aschaffenburg ) was a German writer , scholar and librarian .


Heinses birthplace in Langewiesen, now a museum
Heins memorial in Langewiesen

Johann Jakob Wilhelm Heinse was the son of the town clerk in Langewiesen, Johann Nikolaus Heintze and his wife Barbara Katharina Jahn. The Heinses (actually Heintzes) were largely related to the Thuringian artist family Heinsius . After attending school in Langewiesen, Heinse switched to grammar school in Arnstadt , and later to that of Schleusingen . In 1766 he enrolled at the University of Jena for law studies. But from the beginning he neglected this study in favor of his literary interests. Two years later he followed his teacher Friedrich Justus Riedel to the University of Erfurt . Riedel supported Heinse during his studies, but also benefited from his help in writing his pamphlets .

Heinse made the acquaintance of Christoph Martin Wieland through Riedel . Through the advocacy of Wieland, Johann Wilhelm Ludwig Gleim accepted him into his Halberstädter poet circle through correspondence . After completing his studies, in the late summer of 1771 he accompanied two former officers on their journey through southern Germany. One of the two was the pamphleteer Count Hermann Woldemar von Schmettau . In September 1772 Heinse came to Gleim in Halberstadt .

Through his mediation, Heinse got a job with the von Massow family as court master from September of the same year . He held this office until his departure in 1774. In April 1774, Heinse was hired by the Jacobi brothers, the poet Johann Georg Jacobi and the philosopher Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi , to edit their women's magazine "Iris" in Düsseldorf. As an employee, he also got to know Minister Johann Wolfgang von Goethe , whom he admired very much. He was also friends with Friedrich Maximilian Klinger and appreciated his play Sturm und Drang . From 1776 to 1777 Heinse published his letters on some paintings in the Düsseldorf gallery in the Teutscher Merkur and thus achieved his literary breakthrough. With these letters , Heinse turned away from Johann Joachim Winckelmann and his views on art.

From July 1780 he went on a trip to Italy. The brothers Jacobi and Papa Gleim played a key role in their financing . Heinse made this trip, which took him through Switzerland to southern France, mostly on foot. In Emmendingen , Baden-Württemberg , he visited Goethe's brother-in-law, the Oberamtmann Johann Georg Schlosser . Later he came via Avignon and Nice , mostly along the coast, to the Gulf of Naples . Heinse only stayed longer in Venice , Florence and Rome .

In Rome he met Friedrich Müller, known as the painter Müller , who introduced him to the art and history of the city. Heinse processes his impressions in his novel Ardinghello , which he published in 1786. With this work, 30 years before the publication of Goethe's Italian Journey , he gave German readers a new perspective on Italy: The Renaissance was equated with Roman antiquity .

Heinse returned to Germany in September 1783. According to an idea by painter Müller, a cultural magazine was to be created there under his direction, in which Joseph Anton Siegmund von Beroldingen , a canon from Speyer , was to participate. As the project could not be realized for cost reasons, Heinse went to Düsseldorf . In Mainz he got a job in 1786 as a reader of the Archbishop of Mainz, Elector Friedrich Karl Joseph von Erthal . Later he advanced to the position of archbishop librarian.

Grave site in the Aschaffenburg old town cemetery

The elector awarded Heinse the title of court counselor and promoted him to professor. Erthal's successor, Baron Karl Theodor von Dalberg , had his private library managed by Heinse. Years of close cooperation with these church princes led to the false claim that Heinse had converted . As a librarian, Heinse was Georg Forster's colleague for several years . Heinse did not get along with this, since Forster was an ardent supporter of the French Revolution , while he himself vehemently rejected it. In his Mainz years, Heinse cultivated the friendship with the physician Samuel Thomas Soemmerring and also met with Goethe on the occasion of some excursions to the Lower Rhine.

In 1792 Mainz was occupied by the French army. During the siege of Mainz in the following year, the electoral court fled to Aschaffenburg . The archbishop's private library was also brought there to safety under Heines's direction. Heinse then worked as a librarian at the Aschaffenburg court library until the end of his life . In the summer of 1796 Heinse spent some time in Kassel and Bad Driburg , together with Friedrich Hölderlin and Susette Gontard .

Johann Jakob Wilhelm Heinse died on June 22, 1803 in Aschaffenburg at the age of 57. His grave is there in the old town cemetery. With a bust, begun by Johann Nepomuk Haller and completed by Ernst Mayer , he is honored as a German poet in the Walhalla (near Donaustauf in the district of Regensburg ).


Plaque at the Heinsedenkmal Langewiesen

With his novel Laidion , Heinse stepped out of Gleim's literary shadow. He reached his linguistically high form almost 15 years later with his letter novel Ardinghello (1787). This work, as Heinses best known, had a direct influence on Romanticism , even if the reception at the time was apparently low.

In his two-volume novel Anastasia und das Schachspiel (1803) Heinse used the analyzes of the Italian chess master Giambattista Lolli . According to his own statements, this work was very dear to him because, as a good chess player, he was able to express his views on the game of chess with it. Even today, Heinses novel Hildegard von Hohenthal is important for the history of music, as it contains a history of Italian opera . For chess and music, Heinse was also an admirer of François-André Danican Philidor .

Writings and editions of works

  • Events of the Enkolp. Translated from the Satyricon of Petron . Two volumes. Rome 1773 (first German translation of the Satyricon ; online ).
  • Aphorisms. From Düsseldorf 1774–1780. From the Italian voyage 1780–1803. From Düsseldorf 1783–1786. From Mainz 1786–1792. From Düsseldorf 1792–1793 (published for the first time in all works , vol. 8,1–3, 1924–1925).
  • Ardinghello and the blissful islands. A Sixteenth Century Italian Story. Meyer, Lemgo 1787 ( Vol. 1 , Vol. 2 , each digitized and full text in the German Text Archive ; Vol. 1http: //vorlage_digitalisat.test/1%3D~GB%3DeZg6AAAAcAAJ~IA%3D~MDZ%3D%0A~SZ%3D~ double-sided%3D~LT%3DBd.%201~PUR%3D ) and Vol. 2http: //vorlage_digitalisat.test/1%3D~GB%3DWpo6AAAAcAAJ~IA%3D~MDZ%3D%0A~SZ%3D~doppelseiten%3D~LT%3DBd.%202~PUR%3D at Google Books ; New edition: Manesse, Zurich 2000, ISBN 3-7175-1958-1 ).
  • Hildegard von Hohenthal. In the Vossische Buchhandlung, Berlin 1795 (new edition: Olms, Hildesheim 2002, ISBN 3-487-11606-5 ).
  • Laidion or the Eleusinian Mysteries. First part (second not published). Published by Meyerschen Buchhandlung, Lemgo 1774 ( digitizedhttp: //vorlage_digitalisat.test/1%3D~GB%3D1scTAAAAQAAJ~IA%3D~MDZ%3D%0A~SZ%3D~doppelseiten%3D~LT%3D~PUR%3D from Google Books).
  • About some paintings from the Düsseldorf gallery. From letters to Gleim . Published in the Teutsche Merkur 1776–1777 ( digitized version ).
  • Fiormona or letters from Italy. Nauck, Berlin 1794 ( digitizedhttp: //vorlage_digitalisat.test/1%3D~GB%3D5n46AAAAcAAJ~IA%3D~MDZ%3D%0A~SZ%3D~doppelseiten%3D~LT%3D~PUR%3D from Google Books).
  • Anastasia and the game of chess. Letters from Italy from the author of the Ardinghello . Varrentrapp and Wenner, Frankfurt am Main 1803 (new edition: Jens-Erik Rudolph Verlag, Hamburg 2010, ISBN 978-3-941670-13-6 ).
  • All writings. Second edition. Graul, Leipzig 1857.
    • Volume 1: Ardinghello and the Blissful Islands ( archive.org ).
    • Volume 2: Hildegard von Hohenthal ( archive.org ).
    • Volume 3: Laidion or the Eleusinian Mysteries. Anastasia and the game of chess ( archive.org ).
    • Volume 4: Poems and Mixed Writings ( archive.org ).
    • Volume 5: Letters ( archive.org ).
  • All works , edited by Carl Schüddekopf . Ten volumes. Insel, Leipzig 1902–1925.
    • Vol. 1 (1902): Poems. Youth publications ( archive.org , 1913 edition).
    • Vol. 2 (1903): Events of the Enkolp. The cherries. Stories ( archive.org ).
    • Vol. 3.1 (1906): Laidion. Small fonts I ( archive.org ).
    • Vol. 3,2 (1906): Kleine Schriften II ( archive.org ).
    • Vol. 4 (1902): Ardinghello and the happy islands ( archive.org ).
    • Vol. 5 (1903): Hildegard von Hohenthal. First and second part ( archive.org ).
    • Vol. 6 (1903): Hildegard von Hohenthal III. Anastasia and the game of chess ( archive.org ).
    • Vol. 7 (1909): Diaries 1780–1800 ( archive.org ).
    • Vol. 8,1 (1924): Aphorisms: From Düsseldorf 1774-1780. From the Italian journey 1780–1783 , edited by Albert Leitzmann.
    • Vol. 8.2 (1925): Aphorisms: From the Italian journey 1780–1783 (conclusion). From Düsseldorf 1783–1786. From Mainz 1786–1792. From Düsseldorf 1792–1793 , edited by Albert Leitzmann.
    • Vol. 8,3 (1925): Aphorisms: From Mainz and Aschaffenburg 1793-1803. Critical appendix , edited by Albert Leitzmann.
    • Vol. 9 (1904): Letters. First volume. Until the Italian trip ( archive.org ).
    • Vol. 10 (1910): Letters. Second volume. From the Italian Journey to Death ( archive.org ).
  • Diary of a trip to Italy , edited by Christoph Schwandt . Insel, Frankfurt am Main 2002, ISBN 3-458-34569-8 .
  • The records. Frankfurt estate , edited by Markus Bernauer, Antje Wittstock, Hans Bungarten, Dürten Hartmann, Thomas Hilsheimer, Almut Hüfler, Gisela Bungarten, Martin Dönike, Anne Eusterschulte, Gernot Frankhäuser, Andrea Hübener, Margret Jestremski, Thomas Markwart, with a foreword by Norbert Miller . Hanser, Munich 2003–2005.
    • Volume I: Notes from 1768–1783, from Heinse's beginnings in Erfurt, Halberstadt and Düsseldorf, through his trip to Italy and his second stay in Düsseldorf. 2003, 1408 pp.
    • Volume II: Notes 1784–1803, supplemented by letters from and to Heinse as well as three so-called collective notebooks with scattered, posthumously summarized notes from different epochs of his life. 2003, 1488 pp.
    • Volume III: review of Volume I . 2005, 1680 pp.
    • Volume IV: Commentary on Volume II . 2005, 1256 pp.
    • Volume V: documents, bibliography, epilogues, tables, registers . 2005, 928 pp.


  • Juliane Blank: "A real voluptuous pig". Eroticization and self-censorship in Wilhelm Heinses Italian art descriptions . In: Lenz-Jahrbuch 17 (2010), pp. 45–73.
  • Manfred Dick: Wilhelm Heinse in Düsseldorf . In: Gerhard Kurz (Hrsg.): Düsseldorf in the German intellectual history . Schwann-Bagel Verlag, Düsseldorf 1984, ISBN 3-590-30244-5 , p. 179.
  • Gernot Frankhäuser, Johannes Hilgart, Thomas Hilsheimer (Hrsg.): Wilhelm Heinse and his libraries . Verlag Philipp von Zabern, Mainz 2003, ISBN 3-8053-3233-5 .
  • Charis Goer: unequal siblings. Literature and the arts with Wilhelm Heinse. Fink, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-7705-4144-8 ( digitized version ).
  • Erich Hock:  Heinse, Johann Jakob Wilhelm. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 8, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1969, ISBN 3-428-00189-3 , pp. 438-440 ( digitized version ).
  • Almut Hüfler: Wilhelm Heinse (1746–1803). A biographical essay . In: Wilhelm Heinse: Diary of a trip to Italy , edited by Christoph Schwandt . Insel, Frankfurt am Main 2002, ISBN 3-458-34569-8 , pp. 9-87.
  • Karl Detlev Jessen: Heinse's position on the fine arts and its aesthetics . Verlag Mayer & Müller, Berlin 1901 ( Textarchiv - Internet Archive ).
  • Emil Kneschke:  Heinse, Johann Jakob Wilhelm . In: Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB). Volume 11, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig 1880, pp. 651-653.
  • Hans Nehrkorn: Wilhelm Heinse and his influence on romanticism . Lattmann, Goslar 1904 (also dissertation Göttingen 1903; digitized version ).
  • Helmut Pfotenhauer : The types of description art in the 18th century or the birth of modern art history . In: Gottfried Boehm, Helmut Pfotenhauer (ed.): Descriptive art - description of art. Ekphrasis from ancient times to the present . Wilhelm Fink, Munich 1995, pp. 313-330 ( digitized version ).
  • Carl Schüddekopf (ed.): Correspondence between Gleim and Heinse . Weimar 1894; v-kleist.com (PDF).
  • Arthur Schurig : The young Heinse. With a pedigree folded several times . Georg Müller, Munich and Leipzig 1912 (also dissertation 1910).
  • Hans-Bernd Spies: Hein (t) ze - Rost - Juvenal - Patriarch - Heinse. Contributions to Wilhelm Heinse (1746–1803) (= messages from the Aschaffenburg City and Abbey Archives , Supplement 2). Aschaffenburg 2005, ISBN 3-922355-26-9 .
  • Gert Theile (Ed.): Das Maß des Bacchanten. Wilhelm Heinses Über-Lebenskunst . Wilhelm Fink, Munich 1998, ISBN 3-7705-3249-X (contributions to a symposium of the Klassik Stiftung Weimar on the 250th birthday of Heinses 1996; digitized version ).
  • Ira Wilhelm: Wilhelm Heinse and his "Düsseldorfer Gemäldebriefe" . Dissertation Berlin 2013 ( digitized version ).
  • Lively Rhineland-Palatinate . Special issue on Wilhelm Heinse. Book I-II, Mainz 2003; Full text ( memento of September 28, 2007 in the Internet Archive ; PDF).

Web links

Wikisource: Wilhelm Heinse  - sources and full texts
Commons : Wilhelm Heinse  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Wolfgang Balzer: Mainz - personalities of the city history. Volume II: Persons of religious life, persons of political life, persons of general cultural life, scientists, writers, artists, musicians. Printer and publishing house Gebr. Kügler, Mainz 1989, ISBN 3-924124-03-9 , p. 212.