ZIMMER, Heinrich Robert

ZIMMER, Heinrich Robert. Greifswald 6.12.1890 — New Rochelle, N.Y. 20.3.1943. German Indologist in the U.S.A. Professor in Heidelberg and New York. Son of —> Heinrich Z. the elder. Matriculated in Berlin in 1909, then studied Hebrew, Germanistics, art history and soon Indology (Lüders) at Berlin. Ph.D. 1914 Berlin. He was taken to the army in the beginning of the war and could only continue his studies after it. PD 1920 Greifswald. In 1919-22 Assistant in Berlin working on Central Asian fragments. In 1922 he went to Heidelberg to replace Liebich, from 1926 eo. Professor there. Dismissed from his chair by the Nazis in 1938 (because his wife’s mother was Jewish) he went to Oxford (taught at Balliol College) and in May 1940 to the U.S.A., with his family. Died of an acute pneumonia little before he should have began teaching as Visiting Professor at Columbia University in New York. Married in 1928 Christiane von Hofmannsthal (1902-1987), daughter of the poet Hugo von H., himself familiar with many authors (e.g. Hermann Hesse and Thomas Mann). From his marriage he had four sons and with Mila Esslinger (née Rauch, 1886–1972) two sons and one daughter.

Zimmer started as a philologist, but was soon widening his interests. Influenced by J. Woodroffe and C. G. Jung (whom he knew personally) he concentrated on the interpretation of myths. He never visited India and his vision of ancient India has been criticized as too personal and remote to facts. His most famous books were published posthumously, mainly edited by J. Campbell.

Publications: Diss. Studien zur Geschichte der Gotras. 50 p. B. 1914; unpublished hab.diss. on Buddhist Turfan fragments. 1920 (not in Janert!).

Translated: Karman. Eine buddhistische Legendenkranze, übers. aus dem Divyāva­dāna. 224 p. Munich 1925; Spiel um den Elephanten. Ein Buch von indischer Natur. 188 p. 10 ill. Munich & B. 1929 (with transl. of the Mātaṅgalīlā); Anbetung Mir. Indische Offenbarungs­worte. Aus dem Sanskrit. 56 p. Munich 1929 (transl. of the Aṣṭāvakragītā).

Kunstform und Yoga im indischen Kultbild. 191+13 p. B. 1926.

– “Der König der dunklen Kammer. In 3 Verwandlungen vom Ṛgveda bis Tagore”, ZDMG 83, 1929, 187-212; other articles.

Ewiges Indien. Leitmotive indischen Daseins. 172 p. Das Weltbild 14. Potsdam & Zürich 1930; Maya, der indische Mythos. 506 p. 12 pl. St. 1936; Indische Sphären. Schriften der Corona 12. Munich – B. Zürich 1935 (articles); Weisheit Indiens. Märchen und Sinnbilder. 102 p. Darmstadt 1938.

Hindu Medicine. Ed. by L. Edelstein. 72+201 p. Baltimore 1940.

Der Weg zum Selbst. Lehre und Leben des Shri Ramana Maharshi. Hrsg. von C. G. Jung. 262 p. Zürich 1944.

Myths and Symbols in Indian Art and Civilization. Ed. by J. Campbell. 1-2. 248 p. 70 ill. Bollingen Series 6. N.Y. 1946, German tr. Zürich 1951.

Translated: The King and the Corpse. Tales of the soul’s conquest of evil. Ed. by J. Campbell. 9+316 p. Bollingen series 11. N.Y. 1948, German transl. 1961 (anthology).

Philosophies of India. Ed. by J. Campbell. 17+687 p. Princeton 1951; German transl. by L. Heyer-Grote. 595 p.

“Notizen zu einem Lebenslauf”, Merkur 7 (59), 1953, 1-54.

Gesammelte Werke. 1-5. Zürich & St. 1951-63.

The Art of Indian Asia, Its Mythology and Transformation. Ed. by J. Campbell. 1-2. 465 p. 108+614 ill. Bollingen Series 39. N.Y. 1955.

Many articles in Corona, Eranos Jb., ZDMG, etc.

Die indische Weltmutter. Aufsätze. Hrsg. von F. Wilhelm. 260 p. Frankfurt 1980.

Heinrich Zimmer: Coming into His Own. Ed. by M. H. Case. 156 p. Princeton NJ 199? (9 essays).

Sources: D. Drüll, Heidelberger Gelehrtenlexikon 1803–1932. 1986; H. v. Glasenapp, ZDMG 100, 1950, 49-51 with photo (the same in Rau 121, another in Sardesai); B. Roy, “Pragmatism paves the way? A scholar’s adventurous exit from Nazi Germany”, Jahrbuch für Universitätsgeschichte 22, 2019, 11-29; Stache-Rosen 1990, 216-218; briefly D.B.E. 10, 1999, 664; Wikipedia with photo (some further details in German version).

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