By: E. T. A. Hoffmann (1776-1822)
This recording includes both volumes of E. T. A. Hoffmann's Weird Tales, a collection of gothic novellas set in Germany, Italy, and some of the wilder parts of Europe. What there is of the supernatural in these tales is introduced with great subtlety if at all; most of the stories draw their "weirdness" from extraordinary characters, circumstances, or coincidences rather than from the paranormal, working out dark passions in dark settings. There are two themes dominating almost every one of these stories: not only the passion of young tragic love, but also a passion for Art in its every manifestation. With an almost religious fervor, Hoffmann builds each of his stories on a veneration for poetry, painting, craftsmanship, music. It is perhaps this passion for Art for Art's sake that made the stories of Hoffmann so profoundly influential on later writers, from the Bronte sisters of England to the Serapion Brethren and Marina Tsvetaeva of revolutionary Russia.