Alexander Soros


Founder of the Alexander Soros Foundation; Global Board Member, Open Society Foundations; Advisory Board Member, Global Witness; Board Member, Bend the Arc; Board Member, Central European University

(April – May 2016)


The Börne Identity

“The Börne Identity” addresses the central problem of identity in Heinrich Heine’s extraordinary yet little-known book on the political writer Ludwig Börne. Here Heine famously distinguished between himself as sensualist “pagan” Hellene and Börne as moralistic “Christian” Nazarene. Heine’s strategy was a humorous means of differentiating among competing dimensions of literature and politics as well as different agendas, sensibilities, and talents between two emancipated, assimilated, converted, ambivalent German Jews. He thereby deconstructed the dichotomies of identity at the heart of a nascent, virulent, Germanic anti-semitism. Re-examining Heine’s complex thought can transform our understanding of its profound impact on Friedrich Nietzsche.

Previous stays at the IWM:
November–December 2015, Guest