“Everything I do is related to my travels. I travel, therefore I am. Gone.
Out of excitement, I write the beginning of the story with much affection. Before reading about the subject. Before the journey. Before the encounter. Before the all so satisfying passion.
Having barely arrived, the landscapes of Cairo and New York can be seen in the distance, while I walk around in the highlands, wait for a bus in the lowlands, or linger around a port in anticipation of the next steamship.
In the middle of a book, my eyes dash through the rest of the pages; they want to be somewhere else.
I disappear, depart, and then I come back. Now I’m here. Now I’m there."
Anthropologist, writer, publisher. Hans-Jürgen Heinrichs was born in 1945. He has studied philosophy, ethnology, theater, linguistics, and psychology at universities in Cologne, Rome, and Bremen.
In 1975, Heinrichs began his publishing career with a re-issue of Johann Jakob Bachofen’s 1861 book Das Mutterrecht (Mother Right). This was followed by various re-publications of the works of Michel Leiris (1977, et seqq.), Victor Segalens (1982 et seqq.), and Fritz Morgenthaler (1984 et seqq.), among others. Five years later, in 1980, he founded the Qumran Verlag für Ethnologie und Kunst (Qumran Publishing House for Anthropology and Art), based in Frankfurt and Paris.
Apart from his publishing activities, Heinrichs has written numerous travel books in the German language, (Annährung an Afrika. Reiseerfahrungen in Marroko, 1980; Der Reisende und sein Schatten, 1990; Die geheimen Wunder des Reisens, 1993; Das Feuerland-Projekt. Über das Reisen, 1997), several books on anthropology and psychology (Ein Leben als Künstler und Ethnologe. Über Michel Leiris, 1981; Sprachkörper. Zu Claude Lévi-Strauss and Jacques Lacan, 1983; Wilde Künstler. Primitivismus, art brut und die Trugbilder der Identität, 1995) and various critiques of modernity (Die katastrophale Moderne, 1984; Fenster zur Welt. Positionen der Moderne, 1989; Grenzgänger der Moderne, 1994). He has also published two collections of conversations: Die Geschichte ist nicht zuende. Gespräche über die Zukunft des Menschen with Peter Sloterdijk), 1999, and Die Sonne und der Tod. Dialogische Untersuchungen, 2001 (Sun and Death. A Dialogical Study). His books have been translated into English, French, Spanish and Dutch.
Heinrichs regularly publishes columns in various German newspapers and magazines such as Frankfurter Rundschau, Die Zeit, Lettre International, and Azkente. He is also a collaborator for Deutschlandfunk for the radio program Büchermarkt (Book Market). He speaks English, French and Spanish.
In 2002, Heinrichs received the Denkbar Prize for Dialogical Thinking. He is a frequent lecturer at diverse institutes and universities in Germany and abroad. His latest book, Die gekränkte Supermacht. Amerika auf der Couch, was published in 2003.
Hans-Jürgen Heinrichs lives in Frankfurt and in Spain.