Quotes by E.T.A. Hoffmann

"Why should not a writer be permitted to make use of the levers of fear, terror and horror because some feeble soul here and there finds it more than it can bear? Shall there be no strong meat at table because there happen to be some guests there whose stomachs are weak, or who have spoiled their own digestions?"

"Let me ask you outright, gentle reader, if there have not been hours, indeed whole days and weeks of your life, during which all your usual activities were painfully repugnant, and everything you believed in and valued seemed foolish and worthless?"

"There are... otherwise quite decent people who are so dull of nature that they believe that they must attribute the swift flight of fancy to some illness of the psyche, and thus it happens that this or that writer is said to create not other than while imbibing intoxicating drink or that his fantasies are the result of overexcited nerves and resulting fever. But who can fail to know that, while a state of psychical excitement caused by the one or other stimulant may indeed generate some lucky and brilliant ideas, it can never produce a well-founded, substantial work of art that requires the utmost presence of mind."

"I may be permitted, kind reader, to doubt whether you have ever been enclosed in a glass bottle, unless some vivid dream has teased you with such magical mishaps."

"Perhaps, too, you will then believe that nothing is more wonderful, nothing more fantastic than real life, and that all that a writer can do is to present it as "in a glass, darkly"."


Books by E.T.A. Hoffmann

  • Der Sandmann
  • 11,718 ratings
  • 1986 by Insel Verlag

    (first published January 19th 1816)

  • The Devil's Elixirs
  • 2,083 ratings
  • June 1st 2007 by Grosvenor House Publishing Limited

    (first published 1815)

  • Nachtstücke
  • 472 ratings
  • July 1st 1990 by Reclam

    (first published 1816)

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E.T.A. Hoffmann
  • E.T.A. Hoffmann

  • Date of birth: January 24, 1776
  • Died: June 25, 1822
  • Born: in Königsberg (Prussia), Germany.

  • Description: Ernst Theodor Wilhelm Hoffmann, better known by his pen name E. T. A. Hoffmann (Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann), was a German Romantic author of fantasy and horror, a jurist, composer, music critic, draftsman and caricaturist. His stories form the basis of Jacques Offenbach's famous opera The Tales of Hoffmann, in which Hoffman appears (heavily fictionalized) as the hero. He is also the author of the novella The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, on which the famous ballet The Nutcracker is based. The ballet Coppélia is based on two other stories that Hoffmann wrote, while Schumann's Kreisleriana is based on Hoffmann's character Johannes Kreisler.

    Hoffmann's stories were very influential during the 19th century, and he is one of the major authors of the Romantic movement.