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Heinrich Heine – how to convey proscribed psychological truths

June 6, 2014

“Mine is a most peaceable disposition. My wishes are: a humble cottage with a thatched roof, but a good bed, good food, the freshest milk and butter, flowers before my window, and a few fine trees before my door; and if God wants to make my happiness complete, he will grant me the joy of seeing some six or seven of my enemies hanging from those trees. Before their death I shall, moved in my heart, forgive them all the wrong they did me in their lifetime. One must, it is true, forgive one’s enemies – but not before they have been hanged.”

(From Gedanken und Einfälle, quoted – with barely suppressed amusement – in Freud’s Civilization and its Discontents)

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