E.T.A. Hoffmann
Overview
 
Ernst Theodor Wilhelm Hoffmann (24 January 1776 – 25 June 1822), better known by his pen name
Pen name
A pen name, nom de plume, or literary double, is a pseudonym adopted by an author. A pen name may be used to make the author's name more distinctive, to disguise his or her gender, to distance an author from some or all of his or her works, to protect the author from retribution for his or her...

 E.T.A. Hoffmann (Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann), was a German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 Romantic
Romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

 author
Author
An author is broadly defined as "the person who originates or gives existence to anything" and that authorship determines responsibility for what is created. Narrowly defined, an author is the originator of any written work.-Legal significance:...

 of fantasy
Fantasy
Fantasy is a genre of fiction that commonly uses magic and other supernatural phenomena as a primary element of plot, theme, or setting. Many works within the genre take place in imaginary worlds where magic is common...

 and horror
Horror fiction
Horror fiction also Horror fantasy is a philosophy of literature, which is intended to, or has the capacity to frighten its readers, inducing feelings of horror and terror. It creates an eerie atmosphere. Horror can be either supernatural or non-supernatural...

, a jurist
Jurist
A jurist or jurisconsult is a professional who studies, develops, applies, or otherwise deals with the law. The term is widely used in American English, but in the United Kingdom and many Commonwealth countries it has only historical and specialist usage...

, composer
Composer
A composer is a person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition, for interpretation and performance, or through direct manipulation of sonic material through electronic media...

, music critic, draftsman
Drawing
Drawing is a form of visual art that makes use of any number of drawing instruments to mark a two-dimensional medium. Common instruments include graphite pencils, pen and ink, inked brushes, wax color pencils, crayons, charcoal, chalk, pastels, markers, styluses, and various metals .An artist who...

 and caricaturist
Caricature
A caricature is a portrait that exaggerates or distorts the essence of a person or thing to create an easily identifiable visual likeness. In literature, a caricature is a description of a person using exaggeration of some characteristics and oversimplification of others.Caricatures can be...

. He is the subject and hero of Jacques Offenbach
Jacques Offenbach
Jacques Offenbach was a Prussian-born French composer, cellist and impresario. He is remembered for his nearly 100 operettas of the 1850s–1870s and his uncompleted opera The Tales of Hoffmann. He was a powerful influence on later composers of the operetta genre, particularly Johann Strauss, Jr....

's famous but fictional opera The Tales of Hoffmann, and the author of the novelette The Nutcracker and the Mouse King
The Nutcracker and the Mouse King
The Nutcracker and the Mouse King is a story written in 1816 by E. T. A. Hoffmann in which young Marie Stahlbaum's favorite Christmas toy, the Nutcracker, comes alive and, after defeating the evil Mouse King in battle, whisks her away to a magical kingdom populated by dolls...

, on which the famous ballet The Nutcracker
The Nutcracker
The Nutcracker is a two-act ballet, originally choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov with a score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The libretto is adapted from E.T.A. Hoffmann's story "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King". It was given its première at the Mariinsky Theatre in St...

is based.
Encyclopedia
Ernst Theodor Wilhelm Hoffmann (24 January 1776 – 25 June 1822), better known by his pen name
Pen name
A pen name, nom de plume, or literary double, is a pseudonym adopted by an author. A pen name may be used to make the author's name more distinctive, to disguise his or her gender, to distance an author from some or all of his or her works, to protect the author from retribution for his or her...

 E.T.A. Hoffmann (Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann), was a German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 Romantic
Romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

 author
Author
An author is broadly defined as "the person who originates or gives existence to anything" and that authorship determines responsibility for what is created. Narrowly defined, an author is the originator of any written work.-Legal significance:...

 of fantasy
Fantasy
Fantasy is a genre of fiction that commonly uses magic and other supernatural phenomena as a primary element of plot, theme, or setting. Many works within the genre take place in imaginary worlds where magic is common...

 and horror
Horror fiction
Horror fiction also Horror fantasy is a philosophy of literature, which is intended to, or has the capacity to frighten its readers, inducing feelings of horror and terror. It creates an eerie atmosphere. Horror can be either supernatural or non-supernatural...

, a jurist
Jurist
A jurist or jurisconsult is a professional who studies, develops, applies, or otherwise deals with the law. The term is widely used in American English, but in the United Kingdom and many Commonwealth countries it has only historical and specialist usage...

, composer
Composer
A composer is a person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition, for interpretation and performance, or through direct manipulation of sonic material through electronic media...

, music critic, draftsman
Drawing
Drawing is a form of visual art that makes use of any number of drawing instruments to mark a two-dimensional medium. Common instruments include graphite pencils, pen and ink, inked brushes, wax color pencils, crayons, charcoal, chalk, pastels, markers, styluses, and various metals .An artist who...

 and caricaturist
Caricature
A caricature is a portrait that exaggerates or distorts the essence of a person or thing to create an easily identifiable visual likeness. In literature, a caricature is a description of a person using exaggeration of some characteristics and oversimplification of others.Caricatures can be...

. He is the subject and hero of Jacques Offenbach
Jacques Offenbach
Jacques Offenbach was a Prussian-born French composer, cellist and impresario. He is remembered for his nearly 100 operettas of the 1850s–1870s and his uncompleted opera The Tales of Hoffmann. He was a powerful influence on later composers of the operetta genre, particularly Johann Strauss, Jr....

's famous but fictional opera The Tales of Hoffmann, and the author of the novelette The Nutcracker and the Mouse King
The Nutcracker and the Mouse King
The Nutcracker and the Mouse King is a story written in 1816 by E. T. A. Hoffmann in which young Marie Stahlbaum's favorite Christmas toy, the Nutcracker, comes alive and, after defeating the evil Mouse King in battle, whisks her away to a magical kingdom populated by dolls...

, on which the famous ballet The Nutcracker
The Nutcracker
The Nutcracker is a two-act ballet, originally choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov with a score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The libretto is adapted from E.T.A. Hoffmann's story "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King". It was given its première at the Mariinsky Theatre in St...

is based. The ballet Coppelia
Coppélia
Coppélia is a sentimental comic ballet with original choreography by Arthur Saint-Léon to a ballet libretto by Saint-Léon and Charles Nuitter and music by Léo Delibes. It was based upon two macabre stories by E. T. A. Hoffmann, Der Sandmann , and Die Puppe...

is based on two other stories that Hoffmann wrote. Also Schumann
Robert Schumann
Robert Schumann, sometimes known as Robert Alexander Schumann, was a German composer, aesthete and influential music critic. He is regarded as one of the greatest and most representative composers of the Romantic era....

's Kreisleriana
Kreisleriana
Kreisleriana, Op. 16, is a composition in eight movements by Robert Schumann for solo piano, subtitled , written in April 1838. Dedicated to Frédéric Chopin, it is a very dramatic work and is considered to be one of Schumann's finest compositions....

is based on one of Hoffmann's characters.

Hoffmann's stories were very influential during the 19th century, and he is one of the major authors of the Romantic movement
Romanticism
Romanticism was an artistic, literary and intellectual movement that originated in the second half of the 18th century in Europe, and gained strength in reaction to the Industrial Revolution...

.

Youth

Hoffmann's ancestors, both maternal and paternal, were jurist
Jurist
A jurist or jurisconsult is a professional who studies, develops, applies, or otherwise deals with the law. The term is widely used in American English, but in the United Kingdom and many Commonwealth countries it has only historical and specialist usage...

s.
His father, Christoph Ludwig Hoffmann (1736–97) was a barrister
Barrister
A barrister is a member of one of the two classes of lawyer found in many common law jurisdictions with split legal professions. Barristers specialise in courtroom advocacy, drafting legal pleadings and giving expert legal opinions...

 in Königsberg
Königsberg
Königsberg was the capital of East Prussia from the Late Middle Ages until 1945 as well as the northernmost and easternmost German city with 286,666 inhabitants . Due to the multicultural society in and around the city, there are several local names for it...

, Prussia
Kingdom of Prussia
The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom from 1701 to 1918. Until the defeat of Germany in World War I, it comprised almost two-thirds of the area of the German Empire...

, and also a poet and amateur musician who played the viola da gamba. During 1767 he married his cousin Lovisa Albertina Doerffer (1748–96). Ernst Theodor Wilhelm, born on 24 January 1776, was the youngest of three children, of whom the second died in infancy.

His parents separated in 1778, the father going to Insterburg (now Chernyakhovsk) with his elder son, Johann Ludwig Hoffmann (1768–after 1822), while Ernst's mother stayed in Königsberg with her relatives: two aunts, Johanna Sophie Doerffer (1745–1803) and Charlotte Wilhelmine Doerffer (c. 1754–79) and their brother, Otto Wilhelm Doerffer (1741–1811), who were all unmarried. This trio educated the youngster.

The household, dominated by the uncle (whom Ernst nicknamed O Weh or "Oh dear" in a play on his initials), was pious and uncongenial. Hoffmann was to regret his estrangement from his father. Nevertheless,
he remembered his aunts with great affection, especially the younger, Charlotte, whom he nicknamed Tante Füßchen ("Aunt Littlefeet"). Although she died when he was only three years old, he treasured her memory (e.g. see Kater Murr) and embroidered stories about her to such an extent that later biographers sometimes assumed her to be imaginary, until proofs of her existence were found after World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

.

Between 1781 and 1792 he attended the Lutheran school or Burgschule, where he made good progress in classics. He was taught drawing by one Saemann, and counterpoint by a Polish organist named Podbileski, who was to be the prototype of Abraham Liscot in Kater Murr. Ernst showed great talent for piano-playing, and busied himself with writing and drawing. The provincial setting was not, however, conducive to technical progress, and despite his many-sided talents he remained relatively ignorant, both of classical forms and of the new artistic ideas that were then developing in Germany. He had however read Schiller, Goethe, Swift
Jonathan Swift
Jonathan Swift was an Irish satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer , poet and cleric who became Dean of St...

, Sterne
Laurence Sterne
Laurence Sterne was an Irish novelist and an Anglican clergyman. He is best known for his novels The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, and A Sentimental Journey Through France and Italy; but he also published many sermons, wrote memoirs, and was involved in local politics...

, Rousseau, and Jean Paul
Jean Paul
Jean Paul , born Johann Paul Friedrich Richter, was a German Romantic writer, best known for his humorous novels and stories.-Life and work:...

, and wrote part of a novel called Der Geheimnisvolle.

Around 1787 he became friends with Theodor Gottlieb von Hippel the Younger
Theodor Gottlieb von Hippel the Younger
Theodor Gottlieb Hippel, from 1790 von Hippel was a Prussian statesman, the friend of E. T. A. Hoffmann, and the author of Frederick William III's proclamation An Mein Volk...

 (1775–1843), the son of a pastor, and nephew of Theodor Gottlieb von Hippel the Elder, the well-known writer friend of Immanuel Kant
Immanuel Kant
Immanuel Kant was a German philosopher from Königsberg , researching, lecturing and writing on philosophy and anthropology at the end of the 18th Century Enlightenment....

. During 1792, both attended some of Kant's lectures at the University of Königsberg
University of Königsberg
The University of Königsberg was the university of Königsberg in East Prussia. It was founded in 1544 as second Protestant academy by Duke Albert of Prussia, and was commonly known as the Albertina....

. Their friendship, although often tested by an increasing social difference, was to be life-long.

In 1794, Hoffmann became enamored of Dora Hatt, a married woman to whom he had given music lessons. She was ten years older, and during 1795 gave birth to her sixth child. In February 1796, her family protested against his attentions, and, with his faltering consent, they asked another of his uncles to arrange employment for him in Glogau (Głogów), Prussian Silesia.

The provinces

From 1796 Hoffmann obtained employment as a clerk for his uncle, Johann Ludwig Doerffer, who lived in Glogau with his daughter Minna. After passing further examinations he visited Dresden
Dresden
Dresden is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the Czech border. The Dresden conurbation is part of the Saxon Triangle metropolitan area....

, where he was amazed by the paintings in the gallery, particularly those of Correggio and Raphael
Raphael
Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino , better known simply as Raphael, was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance. His work is admired for its clarity of form and ease of composition and for its visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur...

. During the summer of 1798 his uncle was promoted to a court in Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

, and the three of them moved there in August—Hoffmann's first residence in a large city. It was there that Hoffmann first attempted to promote himself as a composer, writing an operetta called Die Maske and sending a copy to Queen Luise of Prussia
Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
Duchess Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was Queen consort of Prussia as the wife of King Frederick William III...

. The official reply advised to him to write to the director of the Royal Theatre, a man named Iffland. By the time the latter responded, Hoffmann had passed his third round of examinations and had already left for Posen (Poznań)
Poznan
Poznań is a city on the Warta river in west-central Poland, with a population of 556,022 in June 2009. It is among the oldest cities in Poland, and was one of the most important centres in the early Polish state, whose first rulers were buried at Poznań's cathedral. It is sometimes claimed to be...

 in South Prussia
South Prussia
South Prussia was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia from 1793 to 1807. It was created out of territory annexed in the Second Partition of Poland and included in 1793*the Poznań, Kalisz and Gniezno Voivodeships of Greater Poland;...

 in the company of his old friend Hippel, with a brief stop in Dresden to show him the gallery.

From June 1800 to 1803 he worked in Prussian provinces in the area of Greater Poland
Greater Poland
Greater Poland or Great Poland, often known by its Polish name Wielkopolska is a historical region of west-central Poland. Its chief city is Poznań.The boundaries of Greater Poland have varied somewhat throughout history...

 and Masovia. This was the first time he had lived without supervision by members of his family, and he started to become "what school principals, parsons, uncles, and aunts call dissolute."
His first job, at Posen, was endangered after Carnival on Shrove Tuesday
Shrove Tuesday
Shrove Tuesday is a term used in English-speaking countries, especially in Ireland, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Philippines, Germany, and parts of the United States for the day preceding Ash Wednesday, the first day of the season of fasting and prayer called Lent.The...

 1802, when caricatures of military officers were distributed at a ball. It was immediately deduced who had drawn them, and complaints were made to authorities in Berlin, who were reluctant to punish the promising young official. The problem was solved by "promoting" Hoffmann to Płock in New East Prussia
New East Prussia
New East Prussia was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia from 1795 to 1807. It was created out of territory annexed in the Third Partition of Poland and included parts of Masovia and Podlaskie...

, the former capital of Poland (1079–1138) where administrative offices were relocated from Thorn (Toruń)
Torun
Toruń is an ancient city in northern Poland, on the Vistula River. Its population is more than 205,934 as of June 2009. Toruń is one of the oldest cities in Poland. The medieval old town of Toruń is the birthplace of the astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus....

. He visited the place to arrange lodging, before returning to Posen where he married "Mischa" (Maria, or Marianna Tekla Michalina Rorer, whose Polish
Polish language
Polish is a language of the Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages, used throughout Poland and by Polish minorities in other countries...

 surname was Trzcińska). They moved to Płock in August 1802.

Hoffmann despaired because of his exile, and drew caricatures of himself drowning in mud alongside ragged villagers. One of his tasks was to devise surnames for Jews. He found some poetic ones like Goldbaum and Apfelbaum. He did make use, however, of his isolation, by writing and composing. He started a diary on 1 October 1803. An essay on the theatre was published in Kotzebue
Kotzebue
Kotzebue is the name of the following people:*August von Kotzebue, dramatist*Otto von Kotzebue, navigatorKotzebue is also the name of a place:*Kotzebue, Alaska*Kotzebue Sound...

's periodical, Die Freimüthige, and he entered a competition in the same magazine to write a play. Hoffmann's was called Der Preis ("The Prize"), and was itself about a competition to write a play. There were fourteen entries, but none was judged worthy of the award: 100 Friedrichs d'or
Friedrich d'or
The Friedrich d'or was a Prussian gold coin nominally worth 5 silver Prussian Reichsthalers. It was used from 1741 to 1855 and since it was a silver standard regular issue coin and trade coin at this time, it had a different purpose to domestic silver coinage or Kurantgeld, the so-called window...

. Nevertheless, his entry was singled out for praise. This was one of the few good times of a sad period of his life, which saw the deaths of his uncle J. L. Hoffmann in Berlin, his Aunt Sophie, and Dora Hatt in Königsberg.

At the beginning of 1804 he obtained a post at Warsaw
Warsaw
Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. It is located on the Vistula River, roughly from the Baltic Sea and from the Carpathian Mountains. Its population in 2010 was estimated at 1,716,855 residents with a greater metropolitan area of 2,631,902 residents, making Warsaw the 10th most...

. On his way there, he passed through his hometown and met one of Dora Hatt's daughters. He was never to return to Königsberg.

Warsaw

Hoffmann assimilated well with Polish society; the years spent in Prussian Poland he recognized as the happiest of his life. In Warsaw he found the same atmosphere he had enjoyed in Berlin, renewing his friendship with Zacharias Werner, and meeting his future biographer, a neighbour and fellow jurist called Julius Eduard Itzig
Julius Eduard Hitzig
Julius Eduard Hitzig was a German author and civil servant.Born into the wealthy and influential Jewish Itzig family, he was between 1799 and 1806 a Prussian civil servant, became Criminal Counsel at the Berlin Supreme Court in 1815 and its director in 1825...

 (who changed his name to Hitzig after his baptism). Itzig had been a member of the Berlin literary group called the Nordstern, and he gave Hoffmann the works of Novalis
Novalis
Novalis was the pseudonym of Georg Philipp Friedrich Freiherr von Hardenberg , an author and philosopher of early German Romanticism.-Biography:...

, Ludwig Tieck
Ludwig Tieck
Johann Ludwig Tieck was a German poet, translator, editor, novelist, writer of Novellen, and critic, who was one of the founding fathers of the Romantic movement of the late 18th and early 19th centuries.-Early life:...

, Achim von Arnim, Clemens Brentano
Clemens Brentano
Clemens Brentano, or Klemens Brentano was a German poet and novelist.-Overview:He was born in Ehrenbreitstein, near Koblenz, Germany. His sister was Bettina von Arnim, Goethe's correspondent. His father's family was of Italian descent. He studied in Halle and Jena, afterwards residing at...

, Gotthilf Heinrich von Schubert
Gotthilf Heinrich von Schubert
Gotthilf Heinrich von Schubert was a German physician and naturalist....

, Carlo Gozzi
Carlo Gozzi
Carlo, Count Gozzi was an Italian playwright.Born in Venice, he came from an old Venetian family from the Republic of Ragusa...

, and Calderon. These relatively late introductions marked his work profoundly.

He moved in the circles of August Wilhelm Schlegel, Adelbert von Chamisso
Adelbert von Chamisso
Adelbert von Chamisso was a German poet and botanist.- Life :He was born Louis Charles Adélaïde de Chamissot at the château of Boncourt at Ante, in Champagne, France, the ancestral seat of his family...

, Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué
Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué
Friedrich Heinrich Karl de la Motte, Baron Fouqué was a German writer of the romantic style.-Biography:He was born at Brandenburg an der Havel, of a family of French Huguenot origin, as evidenced in his family name...

, Rahel Levin, and David Ferdinand Koreff
David Ferdinand Koreff
David Ferdinand Koreff was a German physician who was a personal doctor of Staatskanzler Karl August von Hardenberg and occupied one of the two chairs for animal magnetism created in 1817 at the University of Berlin. A personal friend of E.T.A...

.

Unfortunately, his fortunate position was not to last: on 28 November 1806 during the War of the Fourth Coalition
War of the Fourth Coalition
The Fourth Coalition against Napoleon's French Empire was defeated in a war spanning 1806–1807. Coalition partners included Prussia, Russia, Saxony, Sweden, and the United Kingdom....

, Napoleon Bonaparte
Napoleon I of France
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

's troops captured Warsaw, and the Prussian bureaucrats lost their jobs. They divided the contents of the treasury between them and fled. In January 1807 his wife and two-year-old daughter Cäcilia returned to Posen, while he pondered whether to move to Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

 or go back to Berlin. A delay of six months was caused by severe illness. Eventually the French authorities demanded that all former officials swear allegiance or leave the country. As they refused to grant him a passport to Vienna, he was forced to return to Berlin.
He visited his family in Posen before arriving in Berlin on 18 June 1807, hoping to further his career there as an artist and writer.

Berlin and Bamberg

The next fifteen months were some of the worst in Hoffmann's life.
The city of Berlin was also occupied by Napoleon's troops. Obtaining only meagre allowances, he had frequent recourse to his friends, constantly borrowing money and still going hungry for days at a time; he learned that his daughter had died. Nevertheless, he managed to compose his Six Canticles for a cappella choir: one of his best compositions, which he would later attribute to Kreisler in Lebensansichten des Katers Murr.

On 1 September 1808 he arrived with his wife in Bamberg
Bamberg
Bamberg is a city in Bavaria, Germany. It is located in Upper Franconia on the river Regnitz, close to its confluence with the river Main. Bamberg is one of the few cities in Germany that was not destroyed by World War II bombings because of a nearby Artillery Factory that prevented planes from...

, where he began a job as theatre manager. The director, Count Soden, left almost immediately for Würzburg, leaving a man named Heinrich Cuno in charge. Hoffmann was unable to improve standards of performance, and his efforts caused intrigues against him which resulted in him losing his job to Cuno. He began work as music critic for the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung
Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung
The Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung was a German-language periodical published in the 19th century. Comini has called it "the foremost German-language musical periodical of its time"...

, a newspaper in Leipzig
Leipzig
Leipzig Leipzig has always been a trade city, situated during the time of the Holy Roman Empire at the intersection of the Via Regia and Via Imperii, two important trade routes. At one time, Leipzig was one of the major European centres of learning and culture in fields such as music and publishing...

, and his articles on Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music, he remains one of the most famous and influential composers of all time.Born in Bonn, then the capital of the Electorate of Cologne and part of...

 were especially well received, and highly regarded by the composer himself. It was in its pages that the "Kapellmeister
Kapellmeister
Kapellmeister is a German word designating a person in charge of music-making. The word is a compound, consisting of the roots Kapelle and Meister . The words Kapelle and Meister derive from the Latin: capella and magister...

 Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler
Johannes Kreisler is the name of a character in three novels by E.T.A. Hoffmann: Kreisleriana , Johannes Kreisler, des Kapellmeisters Musikalische Leiden , Lebensansichten des Katers Murr nebst Fragmentarischer Biographie des Kapellmeisters Johannes Kreisler in Zufälligen Makulaturblättern...

" character made his first appearance.

Hoffmann's breakthrough came in 1809, with the publication of Ritter Gluck, a story about a man who meets, or believes he has met, the composer Christoph Willibald Gluck
Christoph Willibald Gluck
Christoph Willibald Ritter von Gluck was an opera composer of the early classical period. After many years at the Habsburg court at Vienna, Gluck brought about the practical reform of opera's dramaturgical practices that many intellectuals had been campaigning for over the years...

 (1714–87) more than twenty years after the latter's death. The theme alludes to the work of Jean Paul
Jean Paul
Jean Paul , born Johann Paul Friedrich Richter, was a German Romantic writer, best known for his humorous novels and stories.-Life and work:...

, who invented the term Doppelgänger
Doppelgänger
In fiction and folklore, a doppelgänger is a paranormal double of a living person, typically representing evil or misfortune...

 the previous decade, and continued to exact a powerful influence over Hoffmann, becoming one of his earliest admirers. With this publication, Hoffmann began to use the pseudonym E. T. A. Hoffmann, telling people that the "A" stood for Amadeus, in homage to the composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , baptismal name Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart , was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. He composed over 600 works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music...

 (1756–91). However, he continued to use Wilhelm in official documents throughout his life, and the initials E. T. W. also appear on his gravestone.

The next year, he was employed at the Bamberg Theatre as stagehand, decorator, and playwright, while also giving private music lessons.
He became so enamored of a young singing student, Julia Marc, that his feelings were obvious whenever they were together, and Julia's mother quickly found her a more suitable match. When Joseph Seconda offered Hoffmann a position as musical director for his opera company (then performing in Dresden), he accepted, leaving on 21 April 1813.

Dresden and Leipzig

Prussia had declared war against France on 16 March during the War of the Sixth Coalition
War of the Sixth Coalition
In the War of the Sixth Coalition , a coalition of Austria, Prussia, Russia, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Sweden, Spain and a number of German States finally defeated France and drove Napoleon Bonaparte into exile on Elba. After Napoleon's disastrous invasion of Russia, the continental powers...

, and their journey was fraught with difficulties. They arrived on the 25th, only to find that Seconda was in Leipzig; on the 26th, they sent a letter pleading for temporary funds. That same day Hoffmann was surprised to meet Hippel, whom he had not seen for nine years.

The situation deteriorated, and in early May Hoffmann tried in vain to find transport to Leipzig. On 8 May, the bridges were destroyed, and his family were marooned in the city. During the day, Hoffmann would roam, watching the fighting with curiosity. Finally, on 20 May, they left for Leipzig, only to be involved in an accident which killed one of the passengers in their coach and injured his wife.

They arrived on 23 May, and Hoffmann started work with Seconda's orchestra, which he found to be of the best quality. On 4 June an armistice began, which allowed the company to return to Dresden. But on 22 August, after the end of the armistice, the family was forced to relocate from their pleasant house in the suburbs into the town, and during the next few days the Battle of Dresden
Battle of Dresden
The Battle of Dresden was fought on 26–27 August 1813 around Dresden, Germany, resulting in a French victory under Napoleon I against forces of the Sixth Coalition of Austrians, Russians and Prussians under Field Marshal Schwartzenberg. However, Napoleon's victory was not as complete as it could...

 raged. The city was bombarded; many people were killed by bombs directly in front of him. After the main battle was over, he visited the gory battlefield. His account can be found in Vision auf dem Schlachtfeld bei Dresden. After a long period of continued disturbance the town surrendered on 11 November, and on 9 December the company travelled to Leipzig.

On 25 February Hoffmann quarrelled with Seconda, and the next day he was given notice of twelve weeks. When asked to accompany them on their journey to Dresden in April, he refused, and they left without him. But during July his friend Hippel visited, and soon he found himself being guided back into his old career as a jurist.

Berlin

At the end of September 1814, in the wake of Napoleon's defeat, Hoffmann returned to Berlin and succeeded in regaining a job at the Kammergericht, the chamber court. His opera Undine
Undine (Hoffmann)
Undine is an opera in three acts by the German composer and author E.T.A. Hoffmann. The libretto, by Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué, is based on his own story Undine. It received its premiere at the Königliches Schauspielhaus, Berlin on 3 August, 1816. Undine was Hoffmann's greatest operatic success...

was performed by the Berlin Theatre. Its successful run came to an end only after a fire on the night of the 25th performance. Magazines clamoured for his contributions, and after a while his standards started to decline. Nevertheless, many masterpieces date from this time.

During the period from 1819 Hoffmann involved with legal disputes, while fighting ill health. Alcohol abuse and syphilis eventually caused weakening of his limbs during 1821, and paralysis from the beginning of 1822. His last works were dictated to his wife or to a secretary.

Prince Klemens Wenzel von Metternich's anti-liberal crusades began to put Hoffmann in situations that tested his conscience. Thousands of people were accused of treason for having certain political opinions,
and university professors were monitored during their lectures.

King Frederick William III of Prussia
Frederick William III of Prussia
Frederick William III was king of Prussia from 1797 to 1840. He was in personal union the sovereign prince of the Principality of Neuchâtel .-Early life:...

 appointed an Immediate Commission for the investigation of political dissidence; when he found its observance of the rule of law too frustrating, he established a Ministerial Commission to interfere with its processes. The latter was greatly influenced by Commissioner Kamptz. During the trial of "Turnvater" Jahn
Friedrich Ludwig Jahn
Friedrich Ludwig Jahn was a German gymnastics educator and nationalist. He is commonly known as Turnvater Jahn, roughly meaning "father of gymnastics" Jahn.- Life :...

, the founder of the gymnastics association movement, Hoffmann found himself annoying Kamptz, and became a political target. When Hoffmann caricatured Kamptz in a story (Meister Floh), Kamptz began legal proceedings. These ended when Hoffmann's illness was found to be life-threatening. The King asked for a reprimand only, but no action was ever taken. Eventually Meister Floh was published with the offending passages removed.

Hoffmann died in Berlin on 25 June 1822 at the age of 46. His grave is preserved in the Protestant Friedhof III der Jerusalems- und Neuen Kirchengemeinde (Cemetery No. III of the congregations of Jerusalem's Church
Jerusalem's Church
Jerusalem's Church is one of the churches of the Evangelical Congregation in the Friedrichstadt , a member of the Protestant umbrella organisation Evangelical Church of Berlin-Brandenburg-Silesian Upper Lusatia. The present church building is located in Berlin, borough Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, in...

 and New Church
Deutscher Dom
Deutscher Dom is the colloquial naming for the New Church located in Berlin on the Gendarmenmarkt across from Französischer Dom . Its parish comprised the northern part of the then new quarter of Friedrichstadt, which until then belonged to the parish of the congregations of Jerusalem's Church...

) in Berlin-Kreuzberg
Kreuzberg
Kreuzberg, a part of the combined Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg borough located south of Mitte since 2001, is one of the best-known areas of Berlin...

, south of Hallesches Tor
Hallesches Tor (Berlin U-Bahn)
The underground station Hallesches Tor is part of the Berlin U-Bahn network at the intersection of the east-west bound U1 and the north-south bound U6 in the Kreuzberg district.-Overview:...

.

Literary

  • Fantasiestücke in Callots Manier (collection of previously published stories, 1814)
    • "Ritter Gluck", "Kreisleriana", "Don Juan", "Nachricht von den neuesten Schicksalen des Hundes Berganza"
    • "Der Magnetiseur", "Der goldene Topf"
      The Golden Pot
      The Golden Pot: A Modern Fairytale is a novella by E. T. A. Hoffmann, first published in 1814...

       (revised in 1819), "Die Abenteuer der Silvesternacht"
  • Die Elixiere des Teufels (1815)
  • Nachtstücke (1817)
    • "Der Sandmann
      Der Sandmann
      The Sandman is a short story written in German by E.T.A. Hoffmann. It was the first in an 1817 book of stories titled Die Nachtstücke .-Plot summary:...

      ", "Das Gelübde", "Ignaz Denner", "Die Jesuiterkirche in G."
    • "Das Majorat", "Das öde Haus", "Das Sanctus", "Das steinerne Herz"
  • Seltsame Leiden eines Theater-Direktors (1819)
  • Klein Zaches, genannt Zinnober (1819)
  • Die Serapionsbrüder (1819)
    • "Der Einsiedler Serapion", "Rat Krespel", "Die Fermate", "Der Dichter und der Komponist"
    • "Ein Fragment aus dem Leben dreier Freunde", "Der Artushof", "Die Bergwerke zu Falun", "Nußknacker und Mausekönig"
      The Nutcracker and the Mouse King
      The Nutcracker and the Mouse King is a story written in 1816 by E. T. A. Hoffmann in which young Marie Stahlbaum's favorite Christmas toy, the Nutcracker, comes alive and, after defeating the evil Mouse King in battle, whisks her away to a magical kingdom populated by dolls...

       (1816)
    • "Der Kampf der Sänger", "Eine Spukgeschichte", "Die Automate", "Doge und Dogaresse"
    • "Alte und neue Kirchenmusik", "Meister Martin der Küfner und seine Gesellen", "Das fremde Kind"
    • "Nachricht aus dem Leben eines bekannten Mannes", "Die Brautwahl", "Der unheimliche Gast"
    • "Das Fräulein von Scuderi
      Mademoiselle de Scuderi
      E. T. A. Hoffmann's novella, Mademoiselle de Scudéri. A Tale from the Times of Louis XIV [Das Fräulein von Scuderi. Erzählung aus dem Zeitalter Ludwig des Vierzehnten], was first published in 1819 in Yearbook for 1820. Dedicated to Love and Friendship [Taschenbuch für das Jahr 1820. Der Liebe und...

      ", "Spielerglück" (1819), "Der Baron von B."
    • "Signor Formica", "Zacharias Werner", "Erscheinungen"
    • "Der Zusammenhang der Dinge", "Vampirismus", "Die ästhetische Teegesellschaft", "Die Königsbraut"
  • Prinzessin Brambilla (1820)
  • Lebensansichten des Katers Murr
    Lebensansichten des Katers Murr
    The Life And Opinions Of the Tomcat Murr together with a fragmentary Biography of Kappelmeister Johannes Kreisler on Random Sheets of Waste Paper is a complex satirical novel by Prussian Romantic-era author E.T.A. Hoffmann...

    (1820)
  • "Die Irrungen" (1820)
  • "Die Geheimnisse" (1821)
  • "Die Doppeltgänger" (1821)
  • Meister Floh (1822)
  • "Des Vetters Eckfenster" (1822)
  • Letzte Erzählungen (1825)

Vocal Music

  • Messa d-moll (1805)
  • Trois Canzonettes à 2 et à 3 voix (1807)
  • 6 Canzoni per 4 voci alla capella (1808)
  • Miserere b-moll (1809)
  • In des Irtisch weiße Fluten (Kotzebue), Lied (1811)
  • Recitativo ed Aria „Prendi l’acciar ti rendo“ (1812)
  • Tre Canzonette italiane (1812); 6 Duettini italiani (1812)
  • Nachtgesang, Türkische Musik, Jägerlied, Katzburschenlied für Männerchor (1819–21)

Works for stage

  • Die Maske (Libretto: E. T. A. Hoffmann), Singspiel (1799)
  • Die lustigen Musikanten (Libretto: Clemens Brentano), Singspiel (1804)
  • Bühnenmusik zu Zacharias Werners Trauerspiel „Das Kreuz an der Ostsee“ (1805)
  • Liebe und Eifersucht (Calderón and August Wilhelm Schlegel) (1807)
  • Arlequin, Ballettmusik (1808)
  • Der Trank der Unsterblichkeit (Libretto: Julius von Soden), romantische Oper (1808)
  • Wiedersehn! (Libretto: E. T. A. Hoffmann), Prolog (1809)
  • Dirna (Libretto: Julius von Soden), Melodram (1809)
  • Bühnenmusik zu Julius von Sodens Drama „Julius Sabinus“ (1810)
  • Saul, König von Israel (Libretto: Joseph von Seyfried), Melodram (1811)
  • Aurora (Libretto: Franz von Holbein) heroische Oper (1812)
  • Undine
    Undine (Hoffmann)
    Undine is an opera in three acts by the German composer and author E.T.A. Hoffmann. The libretto, by Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué, is based on his own story Undine. It received its premiere at the Königliches Schauspielhaus, Berlin on 3 August, 1816. Undine was Hoffmann's greatest operatic success...

     (Libretto: Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué), Zauberoper (1816)
  • Der Liebhaber nach dem Tode (beginning only)

Instrumental

  • Rondo für Klavier (1794/95)
  • Ouvertura. Musica per la chiesa d-moll (1801)
  • Klaviersonaten: A-Dur, f-moll, F-Dur, f-moll, cis-moll (1805–1808)
  • Große Fantasie für Klavier (1806)
  • Sinfonie Es-Dur (1806)
  • Harfenquintett c-moll (1807)
  • Grand Trio E-Dur (1809)
  • Walzer zum Karolinentag (1812)
  • Teutschlands Triumph in der Schlacht bei Leipzig, (by "Arnulph Vollweiler", 1814; lost)
  • Serapions-Walzer (1818–1821)

Nutcracker

Hoffmann's most familiar story is Nussknacker und Mausekönig ("The Nutcracker and the Mouse King
The Nutcracker and the Mouse King
The Nutcracker and the Mouse King is a story written in 1816 by E. T. A. Hoffmann in which young Marie Stahlbaum's favorite Christmas toy, the Nutcracker, comes alive and, after defeating the evil Mouse King in battle, whisks her away to a magical kingdom populated by dolls...

", 1816), which inspired Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Russian: Пётр Ильи́ч Чайко́вский ; often "Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky" in English. His names are also transliterated "Piotr" or "Petr"; "Ilitsch", "Il'ich" or "Illyich"; and "Tschaikowski", "Tschaikowsky", "Chajkovskij"...

's ballet The Nutcracker
The Nutcracker
The Nutcracker is a two-act ballet, originally choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov with a score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The libretto is adapted from E.T.A. Hoffmann's story "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King". It was given its première at the Mariinsky Theatre in St...

(1892). His story Der Sandmann
Der Sandmann
The Sandman is a short story written in German by E.T.A. Hoffmann. It was the first in an 1817 book of stories titled Die Nachtstücke .-Plot summary:...

("The Sandman", 1816) similarly inspired Léo Delibes
Léo Delibes
Clément Philibert Léo Delibes was a French composer of ballets, operas, and other works for the stage...

's ballet Coppélia
Coppélia
Coppélia is a sentimental comic ballet with original choreography by Arthur Saint-Léon to a ballet libretto by Saint-Léon and Charles Nuitter and music by Léo Delibes. It was based upon two macabre stories by E. T. A. Hoffmann, Der Sandmann , and Die Puppe...

(1870).

Among the characters in the story are Marie (Clara in most versions of the ballet), Fritz, her brother, godfather Drosselmayer, the evil Mouse King and the Nutcracker, who is really an enchanted Prince who eventually marries Marie. Many versions of the story have been published as children's books. Performances of the ballet have become a yearly feature in many cities around Christmas. Yet Hoffmann's stories, as with the majority of his literary work, also have philosophical themes. It is through stories that Hoffmann expresses his aesthetic, ethical and political concerns. Moreover, the original Hoffmann stories (including The Nutcracker) often have dark themes.
According to one theory, Nutcracker is a coded story where Napoleon is the nutcracker while the seven cabinet members are represented as the seven headed mouse king.

Assessment

Hoffmann is one of the best-known representatives of German Romanticism
German Romanticism
For the general context, see Romanticism.In the philosophy, art, and culture of German-speaking countries, German Romanticism was the dominant movement of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. German Romanticism developed relatively late compared to its English counterpart, coinciding in its...

, and a pioneer of the fantasy
Fantasy
Fantasy is a genre of fiction that commonly uses magic and other supernatural phenomena as a primary element of plot, theme, or setting. Many works within the genre take place in imaginary worlds where magic is common...

 genre, with a taste for the macabre
Macabre
In works of art, macabre is the quality of having a grim or ghastly atmosphere. Macabre works emphasize the details and symbols of death....

 combined with realism
Realism (arts)
Realism in the visual arts and literature refers to the general attempt to depict subjects "in accordance with secular, empirical rules", as they are considered to exist in third person objective reality, without embellishment or interpretation...

 that influenced such authors as Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe was an American author, poet, editor and literary critic, considered part of the American Romantic Movement. Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is considered the inventor of the detective...

 (1809–1849), Nikolai Gogol
Nikolai Gogol
Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol was a Ukrainian-born Russian dramatist and novelist.Considered by his contemporaries one of the preeminent figures of the natural school of Russian literary realism, later critics have found in Gogol's work a fundamentally romantic sensibility, with strains of Surrealism...

 (1809–1852), Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens
Charles John Huffam Dickens was an English novelist, generally considered the greatest of the Victorian period. Dickens enjoyed a wider popularity and fame than had any previous author during his lifetime, and he remains popular, having been responsible for some of English literature's most iconic...

 (1812–1870), Charles Baudelaire
Charles Baudelaire
Charles Baudelaire was a French poet who produced notable work as an essayist, art critic, and pioneering translator of Edgar Allan Poe. His most famous work, Les Fleurs du mal expresses the changing nature of beauty in modern, industrializing Paris during the nineteenth century...

 (1821–1867), George MacDonald
George MacDonald
George MacDonald was a Scottish author, poet, and Christian minister.Known particularly for his poignant fairy tales and fantasy novels, George MacDonald inspired many authors, such as W. H. Auden, J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, E. Nesbit and Madeleine L'Engle. It was C.S...

 (1824–1905), Fyodor Dostoevsky
Fyodor Dostoevsky
Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoyevsky was a Russian writer of novels, short stories and essays. He is best known for his novels Crime and Punishment, The Idiot and The Brothers Karamazov....

 (1821–1881), Franz Kafka
Franz Kafka
Franz Kafka was a culturally influential German-language author of short stories and novels. Contemporary critics and academics, including Vladimir Nabokov, regard Kafka as one of the best writers of the 20th century...

 (1883–1924) and Alfred Hitchcock
Alfred Hitchcock
Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, KBE was a British film director and producer. He pioneered many techniques in the suspense and psychological thriller genres. After a successful career in British cinema in both silent films and early talkies, Hitchcock moved to Hollywood...

  (1899–1980). Hoffmann's story Das Fräulein von Scuderi
Mademoiselle de Scuderi
E. T. A. Hoffmann's novella, Mademoiselle de Scudéri. A Tale from the Times of Louis XIV [Das Fräulein von Scuderi. Erzählung aus dem Zeitalter Ludwig des Vierzehnten], was first published in 1819 in Yearbook for 1820. Dedicated to Love and Friendship [Taschenbuch für das Jahr 1820. Der Liebe und...

is sometimes cited as the first detective story
Detective Story
Detective Story is a film noir which tells the story of one day in the lives of the various people who populate a police detective squad. It features Kirk Douglas, Eleanor Parker, William Bendix, Cathy O'Donnell, Lee Grant, among others. The movie was adapted by Robert Wyler and Philip Yordan...

 and a direct influence on Poe's "The Murders in the Rue Morgue
The Murders in the Rue Morgue
"The Murders in the Rue Morgue" is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe published in Graham's Magazine in 1841. It has been claimed as the first detective story; Poe referred to it as one of his "tales of ratiocination". Two works that share some similarities predate Poe's stories, including Das...

".

The twentieth-century Russian literary theorist Mikhail Bakhtin
Mikhail Bakhtin
Mikhail Mikhailovich Bakhtin was a Russian philosopher, literary critic, semiotician and scholar who worked on literary theory, ethics, and the philosophy of language...

 characterised Hoffmann's works as Menippea, essentially satirical and self-parodying in form, thus including him in a tradition that includes Cervantes
Cervantes
-People:*Alfonso J. Cervantes , mayor of St. Louis, Missouri*Francisco Cervantes de Salazar, 16th-century man of letters*Ignacio Cervantes, Cuban composer*Jorge Cervantes, a world-renowned expert on indoor, outdoor, and greenhouse cannabis cultivation...

, Diderot and Voltaire
Voltaire
François-Marie Arouet , better known by the pen name Voltaire , was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit and for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion, free trade and separation of church and state...

.

Robert Schumann
Robert Schumann
Robert Schumann, sometimes known as Robert Alexander Schumann, was a German composer, aesthete and influential music critic. He is regarded as one of the greatest and most representative composers of the Romantic era....

's piano suite Kreisleriana
Kreisleriana
Kreisleriana, Op. 16, is a composition in eight movements by Robert Schumann for solo piano, subtitled , written in April 1838. Dedicated to Frédéric Chopin, it is a very dramatic work and is considered to be one of Schumann's finest compositions....

 (1838) has its title from one of Hoffmann's books (and according to Charles Rosen
Charles Rosen
Charles Rosen is an American pianist and author on music.-Life and career:In his youth he studied piano with Moriz Rosenthal. Rosenthal, born in 1862, had been a student of Franz Liszt...

's The Romantic Generation, is possibly also inspired by "The Life and Opinions of Tomcat Murr", in which Kreisler appears). Jacques Offenbach
Jacques Offenbach
Jacques Offenbach was a Prussian-born French composer, cellist and impresario. He is remembered for his nearly 100 operettas of the 1850s–1870s and his uncompleted opera The Tales of Hoffmann. He was a powerful influence on later composers of the operetta genre, particularly Johann Strauss, Jr....

's masterwork, the opera Les contes d'Hoffmann ("The Tales of Hoffmann", 1881), is based on the stories Der Sandmann
Der Sandmann
The Sandman is a short story written in German by E.T.A. Hoffmann. It was the first in an 1817 book of stories titled Die Nachtstücke .-Plot summary:...

("The Sandman", 1816), Rat Krespel ("Councillor Krespel", 1818), and Das verlorene Spiegelbild ("The Lost Reflection") from Die Abenteuer der Silvester-Nacht ("The Adventures of New Year's Eve", 1814). Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Russian: Пётр Ильи́ч Чайко́вский ; often "Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky" in English. His names are also transliterated "Piotr" or "Petr"; "Ilitsch", "Il'ich" or "Illyich"; and "Tschaikowski", "Tschaikowsky", "Chajkovskij"...

's ballet The Nutcracker
The Nutcracker
The Nutcracker is a two-act ballet, originally choreographed by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov with a score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The libretto is adapted from E.T.A. Hoffmann's story "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King". It was given its première at the Mariinsky Theatre in St...

(1892) is based on "Nutcracker and Mouse King".

Hoffmann also influenced 19th century musical opinion directly through his music criticism. His reviews of Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music, he remains one of the most famous and influential composers of all time.Born in Bonn, then the capital of the Electorate of Cologne and part of...

's Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67
Symphony No. 5 (Beethoven)
The Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67, was written by Ludwig van Beethoven in 1804–08. This symphony is one of the most popular and best-known compositions in all of classical music, and one of the most often played symphonies. It comprises four movements: an opening sonata, an andante, and a fast...

 (1808) and other important works set new literary standards for writing about music, and encouraged later writers to consider music as "the most Romantic of all the arts." Hoffmann's reviews were first collected for modern readers by Friedrich Schnapp, ed., in E.T.A. Hoffmann: Schriften zur Musik; Nachlese (1963) and have been made available in an English translation in E.T.A. Hoffmann's Writings on Music, Collected in a Single Volume (2004).

Hoffmann strove for artistic polymathy. He created far more in his works than mere political commentary achieved through satire. His masterpiece novel Lebensansichten des Katers Murr
Lebensansichten des Katers Murr
The Life And Opinions Of the Tomcat Murr together with a fragmentary Biography of Kappelmeister Johannes Kreisler on Random Sheets of Waste Paper is a complex satirical novel by Prussian Romantic-era author E.T.A. Hoffmann...

("The Life and Opinions of Tomcat Murr", 1819–1821) deals with such issues as the aesthetic status of 'true' artistry and the modes of self-transcendence that accompany any genuine endeavour to create. Hoffmann's portrayal of the character Kreisler (a genius musician) is wittily counterpointed with the character of the tomcat Murr — a virtuoso illustration of artistic pretentiousness that many of Hoffmann's contemporaries found offensive and subversive of Romantic ideals.

Hoffmann's literature indicates the failings of many so-called artists to differentiate between the superficial and the authentic aspects of such Romantic ideals. The self-conscious effort to impress must, according to Hoffmann, be divorced from the self-aware effort to create.
This essential duality in Kater Murr is conveyed structurally through a discursive 'splicing together' of two biographical narratives.

Legacy

  • Robertson Davies
    Robertson Davies
    William Robertson Davies, CC, OOnt, FRSC, FRSL was a Canadian novelist, playwright, critic, journalist, and professor. He was one of Canada's best-known and most popular authors, and one of its most distinguished "men of letters", a term Davies is variously said to have gladly accepted for himself...

     invokes Hoffmann as a character (with the pet name of 'ETAH') trapped in Limbo, within his novel The Lyre of Orpheus
    The Lyre of Orpheus (novel)
    The Lyre of Orpheus, first published by Macmillan of Canada in 1988, is the last of the three connected novels of the Cornish Trilogy by Canadian novelist Robertson Davies...

    (1988).
  • Andrew Crumey
    Andrew Crumey
    Andrew Crumey is a novelist and former literary editor of the Scotland on Sunday newspaper. He was born in Kirkintilloch, north of Glasgow, Scotland. He graduated with First Class Honours from the University of St Andrews and holds a PhD in theoretical physics from Imperial College, London. In...

    's novel Mobius Dick also mentions Hoffmann, and specifically The Life and Opinions of Tomcat Murr.
  • Angela Carter
    Angela Carter
    Angela Carter was an English novelist and journalist, known for her feminist, magical realism, and picaresque works...

     - The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman
    The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman
    The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman, published in the United States as The War of Dreams, is a 1972 novel by Angela Carter. This picaresque novel is heavily influenced by surrealism, Romanticism, critical theory, and other branches of Continental philosophy. Its style is an amalgam of...

     (1972)
  • Alexandre Dumas, père
    Alexandre Dumas, père
    Alexandre Dumas, , born Dumas Davy de la Pailleterie was a French writer, best known for his historical novels of high adventure which have made him one of the most widely read French authors in the world...

     referenced Hoffmann in The Count of Monte Cristo
    The Count of Monte Cristo
    The Count of Monte Cristo is an adventure novel by Alexandre Dumas. It is often considered to be, along with The Three Musketeers, Dumas's most popular work. He completed the work in 1844...

    ; he also translated The Nutcracker into French, which aided in making the tale popular and widespread.
  • The exotic and supernatural elements in the storyline of Ingmar Bergman
    Ingmar Bergman
    Ernst Ingmar Bergman was a Swedish director, writer and producer for film, stage and television. Described by Woody Allen as "probably the greatest film artist, all things considered, since the invention of the motion picture camera", he is recognized as one of the most accomplished and...

    's 1982 film Fanny and Alexander
    Fanny and Alexander
    Fanny and Alexander is a 1982 Swedish fantasy drama film written and directed by Ingmar Bergman. It was originally conceived as a four-part TV movie and cut in that version, spanning 312 minutes. A 188-minute version was created later for cinematic release, although this version was in fact the...

    derive largely from the stories of Hoffmann.
  • Andrei Tarkovsky
    Andrei Tarkovsky
    Andrei Arsenyevich Tarkovsky was a Soviet and Russian filmmaker, writer, film editor, film theorist, theatre and opera director, widely regarded as one of the finest filmmakers of the 20th century....

     wrote a script entitled Hoffmaniana in which the writer himself is the main protagonist. Unfortunately, due to Tarkovsky's premature death, the film was never made.
  • Freud gives an extensive psychoanalytic analysis of Hoffmann's Sandman in his 1919 essay Das Unheimliche.
  • Coppelius
    Coppelius
    Coppelius is a German band which plays metal on drums, double bass, cello and clarinet. Their name is taken from E.T.A. Hoffmann’s Der Sandmann...

     is a German classical metal band, the name taken from Hoffmann's Sandman.

See also

  • Gofmaniada
    Gofmaniada
    Hoffmaniada is a stop motion-animated feature film from Russian studio Soyuzmultfilm. The concept and all of the art design was done by Mikhail Shemyakin and it is being directed by Stanislav Sokolov....

    , an upcoming Russian puppet-animated feature film about Hoffmann and several of his stories.

External links

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