Heinrich Zimmer

CriticismCommentary


Life
1851-1910; b. Castellaun, Mozel, Germany; Professor of Sanskrit at Greifswald, 1881; Keltische Studien, vol. 1 (1881) and the text of the Werzburg Glosses (1881); Ueber die Bedeutung des irischen Elements fur die mittelalterliche Cultur (1887) translated as The Irish Element in Mediaeval Culture (1891) praised liberally the Irish influence on Europe; Berlin Chair of Celtic Studies created for him, 1901; professed that there had been no historical St. Patrick, 1902; died by suicide; bibliography of his works in Journal of the Welsh Bibliographical Society (February 1911); his library was donated to UCD. OCIL

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Works
The Irish Element in Medieval Culture ([?Paris] 1891); Hibernicae e codicibus Wirziburgensi Carolisruhensibus Aliis … (Berlin, apud Weidmannos 1881), 288pp.; ‘Uber den compilatorischen Charakter der irischen Sagentexte im Sogonannten Lebar na hUidre’, in Zeitschrift fur vergleichende Sprachforschung, xxviii (1883-86).

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References
Library of Herbert Bel
l holds The Irish Element in Medieval Culture ([?Paris] 1891). See also Irish Book Lover, vol. 2.

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Notes
G. A. Little, Dublin Before the Vikings (Dublin: M. H. Gill 1957): Bibl. cites Zimmer, The Celtic Church, and gleans the follow from his works: ‘From Jonas, biographer of St Columbanus, we learn of direct regular trading between Nantes and Ireland in 609’ (Zimmer, [ed.,] Vita Columbani, Sitzungberichte, p.366.) Further: ‘Zimmer instances loan-words connected with wine in Old Irish. Zimmer writes, “In earlier times intercourse between the Britons in the South-west and Irish in South Ireland must have been easier and safer than intercourse with such of their fellow-countrymen as lived inland at an equal distance.”’ (Celtique Church, p.16; Little, op. cit. [p.87]).

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James Joyce: Joyce wrote to Louis Gillet, in response to the former’s off-hand mention of a paper ‘on some subject or other of Scandanavian mythology’: ‘The paper about which you tell me is a summary of the theories of Heinrich Zimmer, made for me by his son, on the Scandanavian origin of the legend of Finn MacCool, Arthur and King Mark of the first Irish epic [...]’ (Quoted in Richard Ellmann, James Joyce [1959], 1965, p.735, citing Gillet, Claybook, p.21.) Ellmann remarks, ‘it was, in fact, a confirmation of Joyce’s book, which gave Finn and his modern avatar, Earwicker, a Scandanavian origin’ (Idem.) See also brief reference to Heinrich Zimmer, ‘the son of the Celtic expert’, in Jacques Mercanton, ‘The Hours of James Joyce’, in Willard Potts, Portraits of the Artist in Exile: Recollection of James Joyce by Europeans (Washington UP 1979), p.245, ftn. 41.

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