By Birgit Röder

The German Romantic author and composer E. T. A. Hoffmann (1776-1822) -- might be most sensible recognized 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. no longer unusually, a lot of his most crucial novellas are sure up with the dilemmas of artwork and the demanding situations confronted by means of the Romantic artist, and it truly is those Künstlernovellen which are the point of interest of this learn. Birgit Röderargues that Hoffmann's artists will not be easily people who create artistic endeavors, yet particularly figures via whom the writer explores the main issue of these who reject the traditional global of bourgeois truth and search to say the claims of the mind's eye in an international ruled by way of prosaic rationalism. opposite to earlier students in spite of the fact that, Röder demonstrates that Hoffmann's novellas sincerely warn opposed to a view of paintings as an self sustaining aesthetic realm bring to a halt from the realm of truth. this can be rather obvious in Röder's research of gender relatives in Hoffmann's oeuvre -- in particular the connection among (male) artist and (female) muse -- which underlines the level to which artwork, literature, and the mind's eye are inseparably sure up with the present social fact. The novellas which are given broad 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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A. Hoffmann: Das Leben eines skeptischen Phantasten (Frankfurt: Fischer, 1987), 29. ” See HansGeorg Werner, Text und Dichtung (Berlin, Weimar: Aufbau, 1984), 212. 39 As Gerhard Kaiser notes: “H. ” See Gerhard R. Kaiser, E. T. A. Hoffmann (Stuttgart: Metzler, 1988), 111. 40 See, for example, Sergio Givone, “Hoffmanns moderne Ästhetik,” MHG 30 (1984): 59–68 (59). 41 Briefwechsel I, 194 (26 September 1805). ” See Safranski, 28. , E. T. A. Hoffmann in Aufzeichnungen seiner Freunde und Bekannten. Eine Sammlung von Friedrich Schnapp (Munich: Winkler, 1974), 459.

As one might expect, this attitude was bound to bring Hoffmann into conflict with contemporary legal procedure, and throughout his life he took a skeptical view of the much boasted infallibility of the legal system he served. Often Hoffmann saw the cases he presided over as complex socio-psychological situations involving real human beings and HOFFMANN AND THE ROMANTIC DILEMMA E 25 45 not as instances of abstract legalistic argument. This was to expose him to the charge of treasonable activities that constituted a threat to others, a charge against which he mounted a spirited defense even though his 46 health was failing him and his days were numbered.

It is the artist’s fate, as a human being, to remain subject to the constraints of the temporal world while his imagination makes him yearn for the higher realm of the Ideal. ” Although the experience of this paradox may be (and indeed often is) a catastrophic revelation for the individual or artist, it can also provide him with the necessary detachment. By adopting an ironic attitude towards himself and to the Ideal, it becomes easier for him to accept the impasse that confronts him. Accordingly the artist attempts to inhabit a standpoint outside of himself from which the discrepancy between the world of the imagination and the world of reality might be transcended in an aesthetic world of appearance (“Schein”).

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