E. T. A. Hoffman

Easton Press E. T. A. Hoffman books

Tales - The Collector's Library of Famous Editions - 1992
Nutcracker - 1984

Franklin Library E. T. A. Hoffman books

Tales by E.T.A. Hoffman - Collected Stories of the World's Greatest Writers - 1983

E.T.A. Hoffman biography

E.T.A. Hoffmann, whose full name is Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann, was a German Romantic author and composer, born on January 24, 1776, in Königsberg, Prussia (now Kaliningrad, Russia). He is best known for his short stories and novels that often combine elements of fantasy, horror, and the supernatural. Hoffmann's early career was in law, and he worked as a jurist, but his true passion lay in the arts. He became a central figure in the German Romantic movement, which flourished in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Hoffmann was associated with literary figures such as Ludwig Tieck and Novalis, and he contributed to the Romantic ideal of exploring the mysterious and fantastic realms of human experience.

One of Hoffmann's most famous works is the collection of stories titled Fantasiestücke in Callots Manier (Fantasy Pieces in the Manner of Callot), published in 1814. This collection includes the well-known tales The Sandman, The Cremona Violin, and Princess Brambilla. The Sandman is particularly notable for its exploration of the theme of the uncanny and its influence on later writers, including Sigmund Freud.

In addition to his literary pursuits, Hoffmann was a talented musician and composer. He composed a number of operas, including Undine and The Mines of Falun, and he wrote music reviews and essays on music aesthetics. Hoffmann's dual interests in literature and music often intersected in his works, reflecting the Romantic emphasis on the interconnectedness of the arts.

E.T.A. Hoffmann died on June 25, 1822, in Berlin, at the age of 46. His legacy lives on through his contributions to German Romantic literature, and his works continue to be studied and appreciated for their imaginative and Gothic elements.

Tales by E.T.A. Hoffman

Ranging from macabre fantasies to fairy tales and tales of crime, these stories from the author of The Nutcracker create a rich fictional world. Hoffman paints a complex vision of humanity, where people struggle to establish identities in a hostile, absurd world. E. T. A. Hoffmann dwelt in the realm of "things that seem to not exist but live just the same." The truth of these words of Balzac's about Germany's greatest Romantic storyteller is confirmed by all five tales in this volume, each representing a different facet of Hoffmann's genius, yet bearing its unmistakable signature.

Ranging from macabre fantasies to fairy tales and tales of crime, these stories from the author of The Nutcracker create a rich fictional world. Hoffman paints a complex vision of humanity, where people struggle to establish identities in a hostile, absurd world.

The impact of these stories is all the more stunning because they are variations on a single theme: the pursuit of a man by a dark fate he nurtures within himself. Long before the advent of psychoanalysis, Hoffmann was aware of the threat of eruption from the unconscious. The weird lands he explores lie within ourselves.

Tales such as:
Gambler's Luck - A suggestion of Edgar Allan Poe and perhaps Robert Louis Stevenson, and is there a touch of O. Henry?

The Sandman - In which a victim of split personality baffles the police of 17th century France.

The King's Bride - Such delightful whimsy! Yet it does not spare us an encounter with the more dubious aspects of ourselves.

Datura Fastuosa - Of the awful consequences of repression and a mother fixation.


It wasn't until the 1950s that seeing The Nutcracker at Christmastime became an American tradition. But the story itself is much older and its original intent more complex.

The tale of Nutcracker, written by E.T.A. Hoffmann in 1816, has fascinated and inspired artists, composers, and audiences for almost two hundred years. It has retained its freshness because it appeals to the sense of wonder we all share.

On Christmas Eve, Fritz and Marie await the arrival of Godfather Drosselmeier and the marvellous gifts he brings for them every year. Among the presents Marie discovers a curious Nutcracker doll and is transported into a magical world of sugar-frosted castles and chocolate kings where her favourite toy battles the nefarious Mouse King in a battle that takes the reader on an adventure into a magical land of dolls & toys.

Each December, generations of children delight in the ballet version of the quintessential Christmas story The Nutcracker. But few have had the opportunity to revel in the richly detailed original tale. Now, in this glorious new edition, acclaimed children's book author and editor Janet Schulman returns to the source: E.T.A. Hoffmann's “The Nutcracker and the King of Mice.” Here we meet Marie, her Nutcracker, the Sugar Plum Fairy, and all the other delightful characters, and we discover the answers to questions left unanswered by the ballet, like why the Nutcracker and the King of Mice were enemies.

Since its publication, it has inspired hundreds of artists and adaptations, most notably the legendary ballet, scored by Russian composer Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Today, the story and its enchanting images of sugar plums and nutcrackers, mistletoe and the Kingdom of the Dolls - continues to cast its fantastical spell on readers of all ages.

It’s probably most famous for the ballet with music composed by Tchaikovsky which has now become a staple of theatres and concert halls all around the world at Christmas.

Maurice Sendak designed brilliant sets and costumes for the Pacific Northwest Ballet's Christmas production of Nutcracker and has created even more magnificent pictures especially for this book.

The world of Nutcracker is a world of pleasures. Maurice Sendak's art illuminates the delights of Hoffmann's story in this rich and tantalizing treasure.



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