The storyteller Hoffman: biography and creativity
Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann, with a brief biography of which the interested reader can find on the pages of the site, is a prominent representative of German romanticism. Diversified gifted, Hoffman is known as a musician, and as an artist, and, of course, as a writer. The works of Hoffmann, mostly misunderstood by his contemporaries, after his death inspired such great writers as Balzac, Po, Kafka, Dostoevsky, and many others.
Hoffmann was born in Konigsberg (East Prussia) in 1776 in the family of a lawyer. When he was baptized, the boy was named Ernst Theodor Wilhelm, but later, in 1805, he changed the name William to Amadeus - in honor of his musical idol Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. After the parents divorced, three-year-old Ernst was brought up in his maternal grandmother’s house. A great influence on the development of the boy’s worldview, which is clearly manifested in the further milestones of Hoffmann’s biography and creativity, was exerted by his uncle.Like Ernst's father, he was a lawyer by profession, a talented and intelligent man, prone to mysticism, however, according to Ernst himself, limited and overly pedantic. Despite difficult relationships, it was Uncle who helped Hoffmann to reveal his musical and artistic talents, and contributed to his education in these areas of art.
Youthful years: study at university
Following the example of his uncle and father, Hoffman decided to engage in jurisprudence, but his commitment to the family business played a cruel joke with him. After graduating brilliantly from the University of Königsberg, the young man left his hometown and served for several years as a judicial official in Glogau, Poznan, Plock, Warsaw. However, like many talented people, Hoffmann constantly felt dissatisfaction with the quiet middle-class life, trying to escape from the addictive routine and start earning a living from music and painting. From 1807 to 1808, living in Berlin, Hoffmann made a living by private music lessons.
First love of E. Hoffmann
While studying at the university, Ernst Hoffman made a living by teaching music. His student was Dora (Cora) Hutt - a charming young woman of 25 years old, the wife of a wine merchant and the mother of five children.Hoffman sees in her a soul mate, who understands his desire to escape from the gray monotonous everyday life. After several years of relationships in the city, gossip began to spread, and after the birth of Dora's sixth child, Ernst’s relatives decided to send him from Konigsberg to Glogau, where another of his uncles lived. Periodically, he returns to see his beloved. Their last meeting took place in 1797, after which their paths parted forever - Hoffmann, with the approval of relatives, concluded an engagement with his cousin from Glogau, and Dora the Hutt, divorcing her husband, married again, this time for a school teacher.
Beginning of the creative path: musical career
During this period, Hoffmann began his career as a composer. Ernst Amadeus Hoffmann, whose biography serves as proof of the statement that “a talented person is talented in everything,” wrote under the pseudonym of Johann Kreisler. Among his most famous works are the many sonatas for piano (1805–1808), the operas Aurora (1812) and Ondine (1816), and the harlequin Harlequin (1808). In 1808, Hoffmann took the post of theatrical conductor in Bamberg, in the following years he served as a conductor in the theaters of Dresden and Leipzig, but in 1814 he had to return to public service.
Hoffmann also showed himself as a music critic, and his contemporaries, in particular, Beethoven, and composers of past centuries were interested in him. As mentioned above, Hoffmann deeply revered the work of Mozart. He also signed his articles with the pseudonym: “Johann Kreisler, bandmaster”. In honor of one of his literary heroes.
The Marriage of Hoffmann
Considering the biography of Ernst Hoffman, one cannot help but pay attention to his family life. In 1800, after passing the third state exam, he was transferred to Poznan as an assessor in the Supreme Court. Here a young man meets his future wife, Michael Rohrer-Tzhchinska. In 1802, Hoffmann breaks off the engagement with his cousin, Mine Derffer, and, after adopting Catholicism, marries Michaeline. The writer later never regretted his decision. This woman, whom he affectionately calls Misha, until the end of his life supported Hoffmann in everything, was his reliable life partner in difficult times, which were many in their lives. It can be said that it became his quiet haven, which was so necessary to the tormented soul of a talented person.
The first literary work of Ernst Hoffmann - the short story “The Cavalier Gluck” - was published in 1809 in the Leipzig Universal Musical Newspaper. This was followed by novels and essays, united by the main character and bearing the common name "Kreisleriana", which were later included in the collection "Fantasies in the manner of Kallo" (1814-1815).
The period of 1814–1822, marked by the writer's return to jurisprudence, is known as its heyday as a writer. During these years, such works as the novel “The Elixirs of Satan” (1815), the collection “Night Etudes” (1817), the fairy tale “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” (1816), “Little Tzhehes titled Zinnober (1819), Princess Brambilla (1820), collection of short stories Serapion Brothers and the novel Life Beliefs of the Cat Murra (1819–1821), novel The Lord of Fleas (1822) ).
Illness and death of the writer
In 1818, the well-being of the great German storyteller Hoffmann, whose biography is replete with ups and downs, begins to deteriorate. Daytime work in court, requiring considerable mental strain, followed by evening meetings with like-minded people in the wine cellar and night vigils, during which Hoffmann sought to write down all the thoughts that came to mind during the day, all fantasies,generated by the brain heated by wine pairs - such a lifestyle has significantly undermined the health of the writer. In the spring of 1818, he developed a disease of the spinal cord.
At the same time, the relationship of the writer with the authorities is complicated. In his later works, Ernst Hoffman ridicules police brutality, spies and scammers, whose activities were so encouraged by the Prussian government. Hoffman even seeks the resignation of the police chief Kampz, which turned the whole police department against himself. In addition, Hoffman protects some Democrats, who are obliged to prosecute.
In January 1822, the writer's state of health deteriorates dramatically. The disease reaches crisis. Hoffmann develops paralysis. A few days later, the police confiscated the manuscript of his story, The Flea Lord, in which Kampz is the prototype of one of the characters. The writer is accused of disclosing judicial secrets. Thanks to the intercession of friends, the trial was postponed for several months, and on March 23, already bedridden Hoffmann, dictates a speech in defense of himself. The investigation was terminated under the conditions of editing the story in accordance with the requirements of censorship. The “Lord of the Fleas” is issued this spring.
Writer's paralysis progresses rapidly and reaches the neck on June 24. E.T.A. died. Hoffman in Berlin on June 25, 1822, leaving no inheritance for his wife, except for debts and manuscripts.
The main features of the work of E.TAHoffman
The period of literary creativity Hoffmann falls on the heyday of German romanticism. In the writer's works, one can trace the main features of the Jena school of romanticism: the realization of the idea of romantic irony, the recognition of the integrity and versatility of art, the embodiment of the image of an ideal artist. E. Hoffmann also shows the conflict between the romantic utopia and the real world, however, unlike the Jena romantics, his hero is gradually absorbed by the material world. The writer makes fun of his romantic characters, seeking to find freedom in art.
Hoffmann's musical novels
All researchers agree that the biography of Hoffmann and his literary work are inseparable from music. This topic can be most clearly traced in the novels of the writer "Cavalier Gluck" and "Kreislerian."
The protagonist of the "Gluck Cavalier" is a virtuoso musician, contemporary of the author, an admirer of the composer Gluck.The hero creates around himself an atmosphere that surrounded “that very” Gluck, in an attempt to get rid of the hustle and bustle of the modern city and ordinary people, among whom it is fashionable to be considered a “connoisseur of music”. Trying to preserve the musical treasures created by the great composer, an unknown Berlin musician himself seems to be becoming his incarnation. One of the main themes of the story is the tragic loneliness of a creative person.
"Kreisleriana" - a series of essays on various topics, united by a common hero, conductor Johannes Kreisler. Among them are both satirical and romantic, but the theme of the musician and his place in society slides as a common thread through each. Sometimes these thoughts are expressed by the character, and sometimes - directly by the author. Johann Kreisler is Hoffmann's recognized literary counterpart, his incarnation in the musical world.
In conclusion, it should be noted that Ernst Theodor Hoffman, whose biography and summary of some of the works presented in this article, is a vivid example of an extraordinary man, always ready to go against the tide and fight life's adversities for the sake of a higher goal.For him, this goal was art, whole and inseparable.