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Weird Tales - Volume 2

E. T. A. Hoffmann

Book Overview: 

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

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .For the life of me, I can't understand what the old gentleman meant by his talk, and why he should have got testy about it at last." "My good friend Master Martin," began Paumgartner, "you are a good and honest man; and a man has verily a right to set store by the handiwork he loves and which brings him wealth and honour; but he ought not to show it in boastful pride, that's against all right Christian feeling. And in our guild- meeting to-day you did not act altogether right in putting yourself before all the other masters. It may true that you understand more about your craft than all the rest; but that you go and cast it in their teeth can only provoke ill-humour and black looks. And then you must go and do it again this evening! You could not surely be so infatuated as to look for anything else in Spangenberg's talk beyond a jesting attempt to see to what lengths you would go in your obstinate pride. No wonder the worthy gentleman felt greatly anno. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Good stories but the narration is pretty boring

The Doge and Dogess - ***
Master Martin the Cooper - ***
Mademoiselle de Scudéri - **** (Predictable now, but when published it must have been unexpected)
Gambler's Luck - ***
Master Johannes Wacht - ***

Some of Hoffman's tales nest like Russian dolls--a tale within a tale within a tale, often with the same theme rung on different bells. His excitement, verve, simple love of storytelling, interest in the convoluted mechanisms of the human mind, and sympathy for the human condition work wonderfully t

I enjoyed reading these short stories. They weren't actually scary, but some of them were twisted enough for me to like them. :)