Heinrich Heine on Spinoza and Our Lenses

Nothing is more absurd than ownership claimed for ideas. Hegel did, to be sure, use many of Schelling's ideas for his philosophy, but Mr. Schelling would never have known what to do with these ideas anyway. He always just philosophized, but was never able to produce a philosophy. And besides, one could certainly maintain that Mr. Schelling borrowed more from Spinoza than Hegel borrowed from Schelling. If Spinoza is some day liberated from his rigid, antiquated Cartesian, mathematical form and made accessible to a large public, we shall perhaps see that he, more than any other, might complain about the theft of ideas. All our present‑day philosophers, possibly without knowing it, look through glasses that Baruch Spinoza ground.


SOURCE: Heine, Heinrich. "The Romantic School," translated by Helen Mustard, in: The Romantic School and Other Essays, edited by Jost Hermand and Robert C. Holub (New York: Continuum, 1985) [The German Library; no. 33],. p. 70 (sans footnotes).

Note: This notable remark on Spinoza appears in the midst of a lengthy and highly entertaining diatribe against Schelling.


Heinrich Heine on German Romantic Orientalism

Heinrich Heine on Leibniz & Spinoza

"Spinoza" poem by Jorge Luis Borges

"Baruch Spinoza" poem by Jorge Luis Borges

"Zu Spinozas Ethik" (On Spinoza's Ethics) — poem by Albert Einstein

"Spinoza, the First Secular Jew?" by Yirmiyahu Yovel

Spinoza’s World-View by A. M. Deborin

Spinoza's Attributes by Constantin Brunner

Heinrich Heine: “Ein Fichtenbaum steht einsam” (The Lonely Fir Tree), with links

“Ein Fichtenbaum steht einsam” by Heinrich Heine with English translations

Heinrich Heine: Selected Bibliography

The Young Hegelians: Selected Bibliography


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