CALL FOR PAPERS MONOGRAPHIC ISSUE (2022)

In 2022 we are going to celebrate the 200 years since the death of the German Romantic writer E. T. A. Hoffmann (1776-1822), whose name is very often connected to the fantastic and supernatural stories. His work and legacy, however, go far beyond that. Hoffmann was extremely versatile and resourceful, having created gothic texts as well as literary fairytales, uncanny stories as well as science fiction, music criticism and compositions as well as satiric depictions of society. Hoffmann’s writings were very influential in many ways and gave the impulse to later literature in so far as he became known and translated abroad. His footprints can be traced ahead to writers like Heine and Kafka, Gogol and Dostoevsky, Gautier and Maupassant, Hawthorne and Poe, Álvares de Azevedo and Machado de Assis. Hoffmann and his literary creations are also featured in works by Offenbach, Schumann, Tchaikovsky. When it comes to German Expressionist cinema, movies like The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari or Nosferatu can be traced back to many of his characters and stories. And of course, we cannot but mention Freud, whose concept of “unheimlich” is mainly built upon child impressions in “The Sandman”. Hoffmann’s novels and short-stories explore a myriad of aesthetic themes and possibilities such as the double (or “Doppelgänger”) and artificial beings (dolls and automatons), which point out how science may be used in a way that puts in danger human values and individuality, a question largely explored by later authors (Mary Shelley, for instance). Moving toward another direction Hoffmann also engages in a “realistic” stream when he gives razor-sharp descriptions of the simple man working among the crowd on the market square (“My Cousin’s Corner Window”). At the heart of his historical novella “Mademoiselle de Scudéri” is the character Cardillac, a goldsmith that at the same time is an artistic genius and a cold murderer, a combination that pops up again in Postmodernity (Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, by Süskind). Another of his remarkable characters is the eccentric musician Kreisler, whose extreme genius is on the verge of madness. As his incessant search for artistic perfection gradually cuts off his ability to deal with the practical aspects of life, Kreisler embodies the Romantic ideal of “life in art” while he also serves as a warning against the traps placed by Romantic highlights of feelings that can lead us to lose ourselves in the inner world. Antithesis to Kreisler is the good-natured tomcat who writes his good-humored autobiography in the novel The Life and Opinions of Tomcat Murr, a book Thomas Mann kept at his bedside at the time he was working at his Doctor Faustus. Murr's memoirs are an example of Hoffmann's satirical and ironic disposition, directed against the stiffness of social conventions and the of futility of standard behavior. Because of that many of his main characters are young men and women with artistic talent and sensitivity, who are victims of the mockery by the in-crowd. These protagonists can either be seduced by diabolical creatures (as in “The Adventures of New Year's Eve” and The Devil's Elixirs) or they can receive help from fairies and magicians (“Little Zaches”, “The Golden Pot”). Regardless of whether their endings are tragic or cheery, what really matters for Hoffmann is that the reader comes to realize that reality (or truth) is not a single one but can have a big span: the author understands “reality” as a construction of meanings and, as such, varies depending on how we look at the world. Hoffmann's writings open up the reader’s points of view by confronting him with unexpected perspectives and questioning his convictions in social, psychological, aesthetic and other matters. And thereby he invites us to renew our look, to listen to our deepest intuition and to surrender to the enjoyment of art in all its possibilities and variations. This dossier will publish papers dealing with Hoffmann's writings in their social-historical context, their interactions with other writers, their intertextual relations and long-term reception. You can send in textual analysis, translations and another surveys, considering approaches of genre, of comparative studies, intersemiotic, post-colonial and other studies.