E.T.A. Hoffmann is possibly the darkest of the German Romantics, as famous for his fantastic stories of uncanny doubles as notorious for the myth of manic passion and permanent drunkenness surrounding his private life. Primarily a jurist and a composer who came to literature rather late in life, Hoffmann combined in his own works a keen sense for the grotesque and absurd in bourgeois society with the popular fashion for Gothic novels and fairy tales. His focus on the dream-like and inexplicable, and an intuition for what we now call the unconscious side of human nature influenced some of the most important nineteenth-century writers and later attracted Freud's attention.
Born in Königsberg (now Russian Kaliningrad) in 1776, …
Rau, Petra. "E. T. A. Hoffmann". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 11 August 2004
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