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ERNST THEODOR WILHELM HOFFMANN (1776-...

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Originally appearing in Volume V13, Page 563 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ERNST THEODOR WILHELM HOFFMANN (1776-1822), German romance-writer, was born at Konigsberg on the 24th of January 1776. For the name Wilhelm he himself substituted Amadeus in homage to Mozart. His parents lived unhappily together, and when the child was only three they separated. His bringing up was left to an uncle who had neither understanding nor sympathy for his dreamy and wayward temperament. Hoffmann showed more talent for music and drawing than for books. In 1792, when little over sixteen years old, he entered the university of Konigsberg, with a view to preparing himself ' for a legal career. The chief features of interest in his student years were an intimate friendship for Theodor Gottlieb von Hippel (1775–1843), a nephew of the novelist Hippel, and an unhappy passion for a lady to whom he gave music lessons; the latter found its outlet, not merely in music, but also, in two novels, neither of which he was able to have published. In the summer of 1795 he began his practical career as a jurist in Konigsberg, but his mother's death and the complications in which his love-affair threatened to involve him made him decide to leave his native town and continue his legal apprenticeship in Glogau. In the autumn of 1798 he was transferred to Berlin, ansichten des Katers Murr, nebst fragmentarischer Biographie des where the beginnings of the new Romantic movement were in Kapellmeisters Johannes Kreisler (1821-1822). the air. Music, however, had still the first place in his heart, Hoffmann is one of the master novelists of the Romantic and the Berlin opera house was the chief centre of his interests. movement in Germany. He combined with a humour that In 'Soo further promotion brought him to Posen, where he reminds us of Jean Paul the warm sympathy for the artist's gave himself up entirely to the pleasures of the hour. Unfortun- standpoint towards life, which was enunciated by early Romantic ately, however, his brilliant powers of caricature brought him leaders like Tieck and Wackenroder; but he was superior to into ill odour, and instead of receiving the hoped-for preferment all in the almost clairvoyant powers of his imagination. His in Posen itself, he found himself virtually banished to the little works abound in grotesque and gruesome scenes—in this respect town of Plozk on the Vistula. Before leaving Posen he married, they mark a descent from the high ideals of the Romantic school; and his domestic happiness alleviated to some extent the but the gruesome was only one outlet for Hoffmann's genius, monotony of the two years' exile. His leisure was spent in and even here the secret of his power lay not in his choice of literary studies and musical composition. In 1804 he was subjects, but in the wonderfully vivid and realistic presentation transferred to Warsaw, where, through J. E. Hitzig (1780-1849), of them. Every line he wrote leaves the impression behind it he was introduced to Zacharias Werner, and began to take that it expresses something felt or experienced; every scene, an interest in the later Romantic literature; now, for the first vision or character he described seems to have been real and time, he discovered how writers like Novalis, Tieck, and especially living to him. It is this realism, in the best sense of the word, Wackenroder, had spoken out of his own heart. But in spite that made him the great artist he was, and gave him so extra-of this literary stimulus, his leisure in Warsaw was mainly ordinary a power over his contemporaries. occupied by composition; he wrote music to Brentano's Lustige The first collected edition of Hoffmann's works appeared in ten Musikanten and Werner's Kreuz an der Ostsee, and also an opera addedefi eAvolum sltinS11839te(including8th)e 3rd edition hiof J. E. Liebe and Eifersucht, based on Calderon's drama La Banda Hitzig's Aus Hoffmanns Leben and Nachlass, 1823). Other editions y la Flor. of his works appeared in 1844-1845, 1871-1873, 1879-1883, and, The arrival of the French in Warsaw and the consequent most complete of all, Samtliche Werke, edited by E. Grisebach, in 15 political changes put an end to Hoffmann's congenial life there vols. (1900). There are many editions of selections, as well as cheap and a time of tribulation followed. A position which he obtained reprints of the more popular stories. All Hoffmann's important a works—except Klein Zaches and Kater Murr—have been translated in 1808 as musical director of a new theatre in Bamberg availed into English: The Devil's Elixir (1824), The Golden Pot by Carlyle him little, as within a very short time the theatre was bankrupt (in German Romance, 1827), The Serapion Brethren by A. Ewing and Hoffmann again reduced to destitution. But these mis (1886-1892), &c. In France Hoffmann was even more popular than fortunes induced him to turn to literature in order to eke out in England. Cp. G. Thurau, Hoffmanns Erzahlungen in Frankreich (1896). An edition of his Euvres completes appeared in 12 vols. in the miserable livelihood he earned by composing and giving Paris in 183e. The best monograph on Hoffmann is by G. Ellinger, music lessons. The editor of the Allgemeine musikalisclze E. T. A. Hoffmann (1894) ; see also O. Klinke, Hoffmanns Leben and Zeibung expressed his willingness to accept contributions from Werke vom Stand punkte eines Irrenarztes (1903); and the exhaustive Hoffmann, and here bibliography in Goedeke's Grundriss zur Geschichte der deutschen appeared for the first time some of the Dichtung, 2nd ed., vol. viii. pp. 468 if. (1905). (J. G. R.) musical sketches which ultimately passed over into the Phantasie- HOFFMANN, FRANCCOIS BENOIT (1760–1828), French sliicke in Callots Manier. This work appeared in four volumes in dramatist and critic, was born at Nancy on the 11th of July 1814 and laid the foundation of his fame as a writer. Meanwhile, 1760. He studied law at the university of Strassburg, but a Hoffmann had again been for some time attached, in the capacity slight hesitation in his speech precluded success at the bar, and of musical director, to a theatrical company, whose headquarters he entered a regiment on service in Corsica. He served, however, were at Dresden. In 1814 he gladly embraced the opportunity for a very short time, and, returning to Nancy, he wrote some that was offered him of resuming his legal profession in Berlin, poems which brought him into notice at the little court of and two years later he was appointed councillor of the Court Luneville over which the marquise de Boufflers then presided. of Appeal (Kammergericht). Hoffmann had the reputation of In 1784 he went to Paris, and two years later produced the opera being an excellent jurist and a conscientious official; he had Phedre. His opera Adrien (1792) was objected to by the govern-leisure for literary pursuits and was on the best of terms with ment on political grounds, and Hoffmann, who refused to the circle of Romantic poets and novelists who gathered round make the changes proposed to him, ran considerable risk under Fouque, Chamisso and his old friend Hitzig. Unfortunately, the revolutionary government. His later operas, which were however, the habits of intemperance which, in earlier years, numerous, were produced at the Opera Comique. In 1807 he had thrown a shadow over his life, grew upon him, and his was invited by Etienne to contribute to the Journal de l'Empire health was speedily undermined by the nights he spent in the (afterwards the Journal des debats). Hoffmann's wide reading wine-house, in company unworthy of him. He was struck down qualified him to write on all sorts of subjects, and he turned, by locomotor ataxy, and died on the 24th of July 1822. apparently with no difficulty, from reviewing books on medicine The Phantasiestucke, which had been published with a to violent attacks on the Jesuits. His severe criticism of Chateau-commendatory preface by Jean Paul, were followed in 1816 briand's Martyrs led the author to make some changes in a later by the gruesome novel—to some extent inspired by Lewis's edition. He had the reputation of being an absolutely con-Monk—Die Elixiere des Teufels, and the even more gruesome scientious and incorruptible critic and thus exercised wide . and grotesque stories which make up the Nachtstiicke (1817, influence. Hoffmann died in Paris on the 25th of April 1828. 2 vols.). The full range of Hoffmann's powers is first clearly Among his numerous plays should be mentioned an excellent displayed in the collection of stories (4 vols., 1819–1821) Die one-act comedy, Le Roman d'une heure (1803), and an amusing Serapionsbruder, this being the name of a small club of Hoffmann's one-act opera Les Rendez-vous bourgeois. more intimate literary friends. Die Serapionsbruder includes not See Sainte-Beuve, " M. de Feletz et la critique litteraire sous merely stories in which Hoffmann's love for the mysterious l'Empire " in Causeries du lundi, vol. i. and the supernatural is to be seen, but novels in which he draws HOFFMANN, FRIEDRICH (1660–1742), German physician, on his own early reminiscences (Rat Krespel, Fermate), finely a member of a family that had been connected with medicine outlined pictures of old German life (Der Artushof, Meister for 200 years before him, was born at Halle on the 19th of Martin der Kiifner and seine Gesellen), and vivid and picturesque February 1660. At the gymnasium of his native town he incidents from Italian and French history (Doge and Dogaressa, acquired that taste for and skill in mathematics to which he the story of Marino Faliero, and Das Fr¢ulein von Scuderi). attributed much of his after success. At the age of eighteen The last-mentioned story is usually regarded as Hoffmann's he went to study medicine at Jena, whence in 168o he passed masterpiece. Two longer works also belong to Hoffmann's to Erfurt, in order to attend Kasper Cramer's lectures on later years and display to advantage his powers as a humorist; chemistry. Next year, returning to Jena, he received his these are Klein Zaches, genannt Zinnober (1819), and Lebens- doctor's diploma, and, after publishing a thesis, was permitted to teach. Constant study then began to tell on his health, and in 1682, leaving his already numerous pupils, he proceeded to Minden in Westphalia to recruit himself, at the request of a relative who held a high position in that town. After practising at Minden for two years, Hoffmann made a journey to Holland and England, where he formed the acquaintance of many illustrious chemists and physicians. Towards the end of 1684 he returned to Minden, and during the next three years he received many flattering appointments. In 1688 he removed to the more promising sphere of Halberstadt, with the title of physician to the principality of Halberstadt; and on the founding of Halle university in 1693, his reputation, which had been steadily increasing, procured for him the primarius chair of medicine, while at the same time he was charged with the responsible duty of framing the statutes for the new medical faculty. He filled also the chair of natural philosophy. With the exception of four years (1708-1712), which he passed at Berlin in the capacity of royal physician, Hoffmann spent the rest of his life at Halle in instruction, practice and study, interrupted now and again by visits to different courts of Germany, where his services procured him honours and rewards. His fame became European. He was enrolled a member of many learned societies in different foreign countries, while in his own he became privy councillor. He died at Halle on the 12th of November 1742. Of his numerous writings a catalogue is to be found in Hailer's Bibliotheca medicinae practicae. The chief is Medicina rationalis systematics, undertaken at the age of sixty, and published in 1730. It was translated into French in 1739, under the title of Maclaine raisonnee d'Hoffmann. A complete edition of Hoffmann's works, with a life of the author, was published at Geneva in 1740, to which supplements were added in 1753 and 176o. Editions appeared also at Venice in 1745 and at Naples in 1753 and 1793. (See also MEDICINE.)
End of Article: ERNST THEODOR WILHELM HOFFMANN (1776-1822)
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