Artist: Heinrich Heine
Confronting Bodies: The Bundestag (the governing body of the German Confederation) and the Vatican
Date of Action: 1836
Specific Location: Germany
Description of Artwork: Heine wrote poems set to music (lieder). Many of these mock social and political issues. Sometimes he used religion to illustrate social concerns using Jesus Christ to convey revolutionary messages. His writing satirized political individuals as well as concepts like bourgeois materialism. He never fought censors, but instead often developed his own specialized style of writing in order to avoid their notice.
At the same time, papal authorities put his works on trial and judged them in secret. In late 1836, the pope announced that many of Heine's works were now banned, forbidding all faithful Catholics to read his texts. No reason was given for this ban other than the fact that it was God's word, so reasons were unneeded. It is now understood that the Vatican was also influenced by an Austrian chancellor, Clemens Metternich, who brought Hein to their attention because of his own fear of Heine's social messages and popularity with the public.
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