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Hoffman Ernst Theodor Amadeus (E.T.A. Hoffman, 1776 - 1822) is a famous German romantic writer and composer. Born in Königsberg (now Kaliningrad) on January 24, 1776 in the family of a Polish noble family and the daughter of a royal lawyer. He penned the well-known "Nutcracker", the short stories "Little Tsakhes", "The Golden Pot", "Don Juan", "The Sand Man", the novel "Elixirs of Satan", the unfinished novel "Worldly Views of Murr the Cat", the opera "Ondine" and many others, both literary and musical works.
Hoffmann grew up almost an orphan. Three years after his birth, his parents divorced, and despite the fact that little Hoffmann stayed with his mother, the eternally sick woman practically did not take part in raising her son. This was done by Hoffmann's uncle - familyless lawyer Otto Derfer, who considered it his civic duty to instill in the child the basics of piety and strict morality. And again failure. The nephew and uncle were too different - the cheerful dreamer Hoffman and the dull pedant Derfer. There was a tense relationship between relatives, who lived side by side for 18 years, which, however, did not prevent Uncle Otto from introducing Ernst Theodor to music.
Hoffman received his law degree. After leaving school, influenced by family persuasion and the example of his best friend, Hoffmann began studying law at the University of Königsberg Albertina. During his studies, Hoffmann listened to the lectures of Immanuel Kant, which he often skipped, and in his free time imitated the manners of the famous philosopher. After graduating from university, Hoffmann worked as a forensic investigator at the Königsberg District Office, and later as a referendar at the Berlin Court of Appeal and after passing the Third Legal State Exam - as an assessor at the Supreme Court of Poznan, Poland.
Daily drinking was a habit for Hoffmann. After moving from metropolitan Berlin to quiet Poznan, Hoffmann, more acutely aware of the gap between romantic dreams and reality, happily plunged into everyday drinking, which accompanied him as an interesting, talented person and witty interlocutor in society. In the future, the love of alcohol also does not leave Hoffmann. He drinks especially a lot in Bamberg, burning from passions tearing his heart.
Hoffmann was plagued by setbacks in life. Well, this is partly true. Since childhood, spent without parental love and care, Hoffmann's life was not much like a stable burgher existence. Youth dedicated to boring law and love for a married woman, mother of 5 children, depressive moods due to the realization of how far the surrounding reality is from the romantic ideal that the artist's soul requires, going into a bottle and caustic satire towards the nobility, which led to the actual "exile" of an unwanted official to deeply provincial Plock - all this is difficult to regard as a calm existence, which, by the way, was not always well-fed. After the occupation of Warsaw by the French, Hoffman had a very hard time - he lost his apartment, and then his daughter, who died during a trip to his wife's relatives. Hoffmann's wife, who received a severe head wound, suffers, both mentally and physically, and by the beginning of 1807 the writer himself fell ill with a nervous fever. Several years later, Hoffmann comprehends a new misfortune - love for a young girl. And after that - again lack of money, and creativity, gloomy and sublime, creativity to match the life of the creator himself.
Hoffmann is considered to be the founder of music criticism in Germany. Having begun his literary career in 1803, Hoffmann is published not only as a master of words, but also as a successful music critic. After moving to Warsaw in the spring of 1804 as a state adviser to the Prussian Supreme Court, Hoffmann began to actively engage in music and even changed one of his names (Wilhelm) to the name of his favorite composer Mozart and became Amadeus. In Warsaw, he organizes an orchestra and he himself leads it in the performance of his musical compositions. During the Bamberg period, Hoffmann published 25 critical articles on the work of Beethoven, Oginsky and a number of other composers.
Hoffmann was not only a talented writer, but also a good musician. At the age of 12, he already owned an organ, violin, harp and guitar. Having found himself in Bamberg after a series of family misfortunes, Hoffmann devotes his whole life to music. He not only deals with local theater, but also writes his own musical works. During these years, Hoffmann created the singspiel "Ghost", the operas "Mermaid", "Aurora", "Undine" and many others.
There was tragic love in Hoffmann's life. She was a young student of the maestro - beautiful and talented, according to Hoffmann, Julia Mark. The writer at that time was already 30, he did not succeed much in either a legal or a creative career, he is poor, married, in poor health, has an addiction to alcohol and outwardly looks completely unattractive. What can connect him with a young girl, behind whose back a good position in society, youth, freedom and a good inheritance? .. Only music. But even she does not allow Hoffmann to forget. He goes crazy with love, he starts intrigues in order to forget Julia, and again runs to her, burning with passion, until, finally, he understands how the engagement of a beautiful lover with an ordinary German huckster, devoid of even banal behavior in society.
Hoffmann's work is autobiographical. This is especially noticeable in the literary works created by the writer after meeting with Julia Mark. Indicative in this regard is Hoffmann's latest novel, The Worldly Views of the Murr Cat, in which most of the heroes (including the main ones) have real prototypes from the Bamberg period in the life of the German romantic. Even the cat Murr - and he was copied from the pet of Hoffmann, who died shortly before the death of the writer himself.
Hoffmann's work was very popular in Russia. The works of E.T.A. Hoffmann, first translated into Russian in the year of the writer's death, have always been read in Russia. They influenced the work of many Russian writers, primarily the romantics of the 30s of the XIX century - An. Pogorelsky, V.F. Odoevsky, N.A. Polevoy, N.A. Melgunova, N.V. Kukolnik, V.N. Olin and others. Hoffman in the century before last, it seemed, was read by everyone - Zhukovsky and Pushkin, Gogol and Dostoevsky, Lermontov and Aksakov, A.K. Tolstoy and Turgenev. Romantics in the work of Hoffmann were attracted by romantic images and ideas, mystery and supernaturalness, inimitable irony and the dream of the inescapable, while realists were attracted by detailed descriptions of German everyday life, the everyday life of provincial people, realistic details of the described reality.