E. T. A. Hoffmann on richardknight.com

Tales of E. T. A. Hoffmann
Edited and Translated by Leonard J. Kent and Elizabeth C. Knight
ISBN 0226347893

Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann was a German writer who influenced Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allan Poe.  Dostoevsky considered Hoffman "immeasurably greater" than Poe.  He is the author of The Nutcracker (not included in this translation), the story on which Tchaikovsky based his ballet Nutcracker Suite. This paperback version contains seven short stories translated into English and an introduction by the translators which put the work into context. Published by the University of Chicago Press and illustrated by Jacob Landau.

Unfortunately the two-volume hard cover edition Selected Writings of  E. T. A. Hoffmann, which included the novel The Life and Opinions of Kater Murr, is out of print. (You can still find it used.)

The paperback Tales of E. T. A. Hoffmann is still available. To order from amazon.com, click here. 

The stories in this book are:

Ritter Gluck
The Golden Pot
The Sandman
Councillor Krespel
The Mines of Falun
Mademoiselle de Scudéri
The Doubles

From the back of the book:

"The Editors have made an excellent selection, and the result is a book of great distinction" Denis Donoghue, New York Review of Books

"The translators have proved fully equal to all the challenges of Hoffmann's romantic irony and his richly allusive prose, giving us an accurate and idiomatic rendering that also retains much of the original flavor."  Harry Zohn, Saturday Review

Enter the secret, enchanted world of E. T. A. Hoffmann

These seven tales create an intensely rich fictional world.  Sometimes sinister and terrifying, it is often animated by brilliant humor and satire.  Here Hoffmann paints his complex vision of humanity  of men engaged in an unending struggle to establish his identity in a hostile, absurd, and surprisingly contemporary world.  Fascination with abnormal psychological states, with doubles and the nature of duality, with alienated man, with dreams and the subconscious drives they represent, with co-existent realities  all these anticipate twentieth-century concerns.

The stories included in this edition range from macabre fantasies to fairy tales and stories of crime.  Leonard Kent and Elizabeth Knight have based their selection not only upon the literary merit of the works, but also upon the themes and motifs relevant to Hoffmann's development and his influence on literature of the past 150 years.

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