The Last Mock Epic? Heine's <i>Atta Troll</i>

Ritchie Robertson

in Mock-Epic Poetry from Pope to Heine

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780199571581
Published online February 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191722356 | DOI:
The Last Mock Epic? Heine's Atta Troll

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Heine's Atta Troll (1847) was partly inspired by his friend Immermann's Tulifäntchen (1830). Both present epic heroism, mockingly but wistfully, as an anachronism doomed by the progress of modern technical and commercial civilization. Heine balances an Enlightenment scepticism against a nostalgia for Romanticism which makes him call his poem the last Romantic poem, due to be superseded by functional verse harnessed to political ends. He conjures up past epics—Ariosto and the Chanson de Roland—to create a world of the imagination in which he can explore especially a range of profound and disturbing sexual fantasies, which find expression in the ‘Wild Hunt’ episode of Atta Troll.

Keywords: Heine; Atta Troll; Immermann; Tulifäntchen; Chanson de Roland; Romanticism; Wild Hunt

Chapter.  21995 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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