Der Sandmann [The Sandman] was written in 1815 and first published in 1816 as the opening piece of the first volume of E. T. A. Hoffmann's Nachtstücke [Nightpieces]. The volume is dated 1817. The text, in spite of its linear chronology, is informed by rapid changes of perspective; this reflects on a structural level the centrality of the motifs of the eye and of instruments to improve one's eyesight. Contemporary reviewers commented on the various disturbing aspects of the story, in particular on the protagonist's (rather one-sided) affair with a woman who turns out to be an automaton, and on the very graphic depictions of violence.
Fricker, Christophe. "Der Sandmann". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 25 February 2007
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=16363, accessed 21 September 2014.]