By Birgit Röder
The German Romantic author and composer E. T. A. Hoffmann (1776-1822) -- might be top 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 advantages of artwork and literature. no longer strangely, a lot of his most vital novellas are certain up with the dilemmas of artwork and the demanding situations confronted by means of the Romantic artist, and it really is those Künstlernovellen which are the focal point of this research. Birgit Röderargues that Hoffmann's artists usually are not easily people who create artistic endeavors, yet fairly figures via whom the writer explores the situation of these who reject the normal global of bourgeois truth and search to say the claims of the mind's eye in a global ruled through prosaic rationalism. opposite to past students notwithstanding, Röder demonstrates that Hoffmann's novellas essentially warn opposed to a view of paintings as an self reliant aesthetic realm bring to a halt from the realm of fact. this is often relatively obvious in Röder's research of gender kin 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 certain up with the existing social fact. The novellas which are given large 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)
Once an artist has mastered this process of “Selbstschöpfung und 25 Selbstvernichtung,” which requires a supreme effort, he can gradually aspire to a more stable existence. Creation and destruction are part of an on-going cycle offering the possibility of a reconciliation between the two worlds. Thus, Romantic irony assumes a regulatory function, emphasizing the crucial importance of both worlds and particularly the aspect that at any one moment can disappear from view. Not only does Romantic irony enable the Romantic artist to acknowledge the threat posed by a metaphysical world, it also provides a critical perspective on the material, rational world, whose claim to be privileged above all else should be greeted with skepticism.
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. His commitment to a Kantian theory of ethics did not blind Hoffmann to the irrational aspects of the human psyche or the wider social and psychological dimension of the legal code.
Not only did he need his (bourgeois) audience for their financial support; he needed an interlocutor in the 22 E HOFFMANN AND THE ROMANTIC DILEMMA process of artistic communication. Although it might be argued that the aesthetics of Romanticism are such that the artist is involved in what is a solitary quest to imbue his work with meaning, the fact remains that no artist is an island, and the desire to involve others in the artistic process is an intrinsic part of his activity. As Isaiah Berlin puts it, “a work of art is the expression of somebody, it is always a voice speaking.
A Study of the Major Novellas of E.T.A. Hoffmann (Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture) by Birgit Röder