Letter One is from Nathanael to Lothar. Nathanael recounts in detail a traumatic event in his childhood, brought to memory by a recent interaction with a mechanic named Coppola while away at university. Nathanael says that he knows Lothar and Clara may find him childish or crazily superstitious, but that he must tell the story. Nathanael tells Lothar that though he saw little of his father, he and his brothers and sisters would gather around him after dinner; on some nights his father would tell stories and on some nights he would just sit silently, while his mother would stew in melancholy and send the children to bed early, saying that the Sandman was coming.
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In he married his cousin, Lovisa Albertina Doerffer — Ernst Theodor Wilhelm, born on 24 January , was the youngest of three children, of whom the second died in infancy. The trio raised the youngster. The household, dominated by the uncle whom Ernst nicknamed O Weh—"Oh dear! Hoffmann was to regret his estrangement from his father.
Although she died when he was only three years old, he treasured her memory e. He was taught drawing by one Saemann, and counterpoint by a Polish organist named Podbileski, who was to be the prototype of Abraham Liscot in Kater Murr. Ernst showed great talent for piano-playing, and busied himself with writing and drawing.
The provincial setting was not, however, conducive to technical progress, and despite his many-sided talents he remained rather ignorant of both classical forms and of the new artistic ideas that were developing in Germany.
Around he became friends with Theodor Gottlieb von Hippel the Younger — , the son of a pastor, and nephew of Theodor Gottlieb von Hippel the Elder , the well-known writer friend of Immanuel Kant. Their friendship, although often tested by an increasing social difference, was to be lifelong.
In , Hoffmann became enamored of Dora Hatt, a married woman to whom he had given music lessons. She was ten years older, and gave birth to her sixth child in After passing further examinations he visited Dresden , where he was amazed by the paintings in the gallery, particularly those of Correggio and Raphael. It was there that Hoffmann first attempted to promote himself as a composer, writing an operetta called Die Maske and sending a copy to Queen Luise of Prussia.
The official reply advised to him to write to the director of the Royal Theatre, a man named Iffland. This was the first time he had lived without supervision by members of his family, and he started to become "what school principals, parsons, uncles, and aunts call dissolute.
It was immediately deduced who had drawn them, and complaints were made to authorities in Berlin, who were reluctant to punish the promising young official. Hoffmann despaired because of his exile, and drew caricatures of himself drowning in mud alongside ragged villagers. He did make use, however, of his isolation, by writing and composing.
He started a diary on 1 October Nevertheless, his entry was singled out for praise. At the beginning of he obtained a post at Warsaw. Warsaw[ edit ] Hoffmann assimilated well with Polish society; the years spent in Prussian Poland he recognized as the happiest of his life.
In Warsaw he found the same atmosphere he had enjoyed in Berlin, renewing his friendship with Zacharias Werner , and meeting his future biographer, a neighbour and fellow jurist called Julius Eduard Itzig who changed his name to Hitzig after his baptism. These relatively late introductions marked his work profoundly. The names Hoffmann doled out would apparently depend on the day of the week—Monday the names of flowers, Friday the names of fish, or hung-over after drinking with a Prussian army officer military names like Festung, Fojer, Pistolet, and Trompeter.
They divided the contents of the treasury between them and fled. A delay of six months was caused by severe illness. Eventually the French authorities demanded that all former officials swear allegiance or leave the country. As they refused to grant Hoffmann a passport to Vienna, he was forced to return to Berlin. He visited his family in Posen before arriving in Berlin on 18 June , hoping to further his career there as an artist and writer.
Obtaining only meagre allowances, he had frequent recourse to his friends, constantly borrowing money and still going hungry for days at a time; he learned that his daughter had died. Nevertheless, he managed to compose his Six Canticles for a cappella choir: one of his best compositions, which he would later attribute to Kreisler in Lebensansichten des Katers Murr.
Hoffmann was unable to improve standards of performance, and his efforts caused intrigues against him which resulted in him losing his job to Cuno. He began work as music critic for the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung , a newspaper in Leipzig , and his articles on Beethoven were especially well received, and highly regarded by the composer himself.
It was in its pages that the " Kapellmeister Johannes Kreisler " character made his first appearance. With this publication, Hoffmann began to use the pseudonym E. Hoffmann, telling people that the "A" stood for Amadeus, in homage to the composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart — However, he continued to use Wilhelm in official documents throughout his life, and the initials E.
The next year, he was employed at the Bamberg Theatre as stagehand, decorator, and playwright, while also giving private music lessons.
When Joseph Seconda offered Hoffmann a position as musical director for his opera company then performing in Dresden , he accepted, leaving on 21 April Dresden and Leipzig[ edit ] Prussia had declared war against France on 16 March during the War of the Sixth Coalition , and their journey was fraught with difficulties.
They arrived on the 25th, only to find that Seconda was in Leipzig; on the 26th, they sent a letter pleading for temporary funds. That same day Hoffmann was surprised to meet Hippel, whom he had not seen for nine years. The situation deteriorated, and in early May Hoffmann tried in vain to find transport to Leipzig. On 8 May, the bridges were destroyed, and his family were marooned in the city. During the day, Hoffmann would roam, watching the fighting with curiosity.
Finally, on 20 May, they left for Leipzig, only to be involved in an accident which killed one of the passengers in their coach and injured his wife.
On 4 June an armistice began, which allowed the company to return to Dresden. But on 22 August, after the end of the armistice, the family was forced to relocate from their pleasant house in the suburbs into the town, and during the next few days the Battle of Dresden raged. The city was bombarded; many people were killed by bombs directly in front of him. After the main battle was over, he visited the gory battlefield. His account can be found in Vision auf dem Schlachtfeld bei Dresden.
After a long period of continued disturbance, the town surrendered on 11 November, and on 9 December the company travelled to Leipzig. On 25 February Hoffmann quarrelled with Seconda, and the next day he was given notice of twelve weeks.
When asked to accompany them on their journey to Dresden in April, he refused, and they left without him. But during July his friend Hippel visited, and soon he found himself being guided back into his old career as a jurist. Berlin[ edit ] Grave of E. Translated, the inscription reads: E. His opera Undine was performed by the Berlin Theatre. Its successful run came to an end only after a fire on the night of the 25th performance. Magazines clamoured for his contributions, and after a while his standards started to decline.
Nevertheless, many masterpieces date from this time. During the period from Hoffmann was involved with legal disputes, while fighting ill health. Alcohol abuse and syphilis eventually caused weakening of his limbs during , and paralysis from the beginning of His last works were dictated to his wife or to a secretary.
Thousands of people were accused of treason for having certain political opinions, and university professors were monitored during their lectures. King Frederick William III of Prussia appointed an Immediate Commission for the investigation of political dissidence; when he found its observance of the rule of law too frustrating, he established a Ministerial Commission to interfere with its processes.
The latter was greatly influenced by Commissioner Kamptz. During the trial of "Turnvater" Jahn , the founder of the gymnastics association movement, Hoffmann found himself annoying Kamptz, and became a political target. The King asked for a reprimand only, but no action was ever taken. Eventually Meister Floh was published with the offending passages removed.
Hoffmann died of syphilis in Berlin on 25 June at the age of
The Sandman Summary
Plot summary[ edit ] The story is told by a narrator who claims to have known Lothar. It begins by quoting three letters: 1. Nathanael recalls his childhood terror of the legendary Sandman, who was said to steal the eyes of children who would not go to bed and feed them to his own children who lived in the moon. Nathanael came to associate the Sandman with a mysterious nightly visitor to his father.
The Sandman (short story)
In he married his cousin, Lovisa Albertina Doerffer — Ernst Theodor Wilhelm, born on 24 January , was the youngest of three children, of whom the second died in infancy. The trio raised the youngster. The household, dominated by the uncle whom Ernst nicknamed O Weh—"Oh dear!