Hoffmann, Ernst Theodor Amadeus (ĕrnst tāˈōdōr ämädāˈŏs hôfˈmän) [key], 1776–1822, German romantic novelist and composer, a lawyer. At one time an opera composer and musical director at Bamberg and a gifted music critic, he is most famous as a master of the gothic tale. His stories of madness, grotesquerie, horror, and the supernatural include Fantasiestücke in Callots Manier (1814–15), Die Serapionsbrüder (1819–21, tr. The Serapion Brethren, 1886–92), Die Elixiere des Teufels (1815–16, tr. The Devil's Elixir, 1824–26), and Lebensansichten des Katers Murr (1820–22, tr. Kater Murr, the Educated Cat, 1892). Tchaikovsky's ballet The Nutcracker (1892) and Offenbach's opera Les Contes d'Hoffmann (1881) [the Tales of Hoffmann] are based on his stories. His writings greatly influenced the composer Schumann.
See his Selected Writings (1969); studies by K. Negus (1965), H. W. Hewett-Thayer (1948, repr. 1971), H. S. Daemmrich (1973), and J. M. McGlathery (4 vol., 1981).
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