A Study of the Major Novellas of E.T.A. Hoffmann (Studies in by Birgit Röder

By Birgit Röder

The German Romantic author and composer E. T. A. Hoffmann (1776-1822) -- might be most sensible identified to the English-speaking international via his Nutcracker and during Jacques Offenbach's opera Tales of Hoffmann -- struggled to persuade his predominantly bourgeois public of the benefits of paintings and literature. now not strangely, lots of his most vital novellas are certain up with the dilemmas of paintings and the demanding situations confronted by way of the Romantic artist, and it truly is those Künstlernovellen which are the point of interest of this examine. Birgit Röderargues that Hoffmann's artists will not be easily people who create artworks, yet relatively figures via whom the writer explores the concern of these who reject the normal international of bourgeois truth and search to claim the claims of the mind's eye in a global ruled through prosaic rationalism. opposite to earlier students even if, Röder demonstrates that Hoffmann's novellas sincerely warn opposed to a view of paintings as an self reliant aesthetic realm bring to an end from the area of fact. this can be relatively obvious in Röder's research of gender kinfolk in Hoffmann's oeuvre -- specifically the connection among (male) artist and (female) muse -- which underlines the level to which paintings, literature, and the mind's eye are inseparably certain up with the existing social truth. The novellas which are given vast attention are Das Fräulein von Scuderi, Der Sandmann, Die Jesuiterkirche in G., Die Fermate, Der Artushof, Don Juan, Das Sanctus, and Rat Krespel.

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Extra info for A Study of the Major Novellas of E.T.A. Hoffmann (Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture)

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In his exploration of the ways in which human beings are inspired by their quest for the Ideal, it is perhaps only natural that Hoffmann should turn his attention to the realm of love. In his treatment of art, justice, and love, he is always asking the same fundamental question: how — and to what extent — can this ideal of perfection be realized in any one area of human activity? Art and Love Even the most cursory glance at Hoffmann’s life reveals that he was no stranger to love and experienced many different kinds of passion.

1, 119. Indeed in Peter Härtling’s recent novel Hoffmann oder die vielfältige Liebe, Mischa is presented as a very strong and reliable character. See Peter Härtling, Hoffmann oder die vielfältige Liebe (Cologne: Kiepenheuer & Witsch, 2001). ” See Tagebücher, 152 (27 April 1812). 51 On this, see Birgit Wägenbaur, Die Pathologie der Liebe: Literarische Weiblichkeitsentwürfe um 1800 (Berlin: Erich Schmidt, 1996). 52 See Paul Kluckhohn, Das Ideengut der deutschen Romantik (Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1966), 71.

To see Hoffmann in such terms is to see him as either a hypocrite or as an incurable cynic, neither of which is borne out by the facts of his life. If we assume that Hoffmann’s works are about more than simply highlighting the impossibility of constructing a coherent vision of the world, we are left with the question of how to interpret the multiplicity of often contradictory narrative standpoints in his works. The answer lies, I believe, in his desire to encourage the reader to adopt an active — and critical — attitude to what has been narrated.

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