Ernst Theodor Wilhelm Hoffmann – the great genius

Ernst Theodor Wilhelm Hoffmann was born on January 24, 1776 in Konigsberg in Prussia (nowadays the city of Kaliningrad, Russia). He later changed his third name from Wilhelm to Amadeus in honor of the composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. His father was a lawyer. After divorce of his parents, he lives with mother and grandmother, and attended to the reformatory school in Koningsberg. He learned the music basics from organist Christian Podbelsky. In 1795 he finished the university, where he learned the law. After a short practice in the court of the city of Glogow, Hoffmann in Berlin successfully passed the exam for the rank of assessor and received an appointment in Poznan.

In 1802, after a scandal caused by his caricature of a representative of the upper class, Hoffmann was transferred to the Polish town of Płock, which in 1793 was transferred to Prussia.

In 1804, Hoffmann moved to Warsaw, where he devoted all his leisure time to music, and several of his musical and stage works were stopped at the theater. Through Hoffmann's efforts, the Philharmonic Society and the Symphony Orchestra were organized.

In 1808-1813, he served as kapellmeister at the theater in Bamberg (Bavaria). During the same period, he worked as a part-time singing teacher for the daughters of the local nobility. Here he wrote the operas "Aurora" and "The Duet of Tina", which he dedicated to the student Julia Mark. In addition to operas, Hoffmann was the author of symphonies, choirs, and chamber works.His first articles were published in the pages of the Universal Musical Newspaper; of which he had been an employee since 1809. Hoffmann imagined music as a special world, capable of revealing to a person the meaning of his feelings and passions, as well as comprehending the nature of everything mysterious and inexpressible. A vivid expression of Hoffmann's musical and aesthetic views were his short stories "The Cavalier Gluck" (1809), "The Musical Sufferings of Johann Kreisler, Kapellmeister" (1810), "Don Juan" (1813), and the dialogue "The Poet and the Composer" (1813). Hoffmann's stories were later combined in the collection "Fantasies in the spirit of Callot" (1814-1815).

In 1816, Hoffmann returned to public service as an adviser to the Berlin Court of Appeal, where he served until the end of his life.

In 1816, Hoffmann's most famous opera, "Undine", was staged, but a fire that destroyed all the scenery put an end to its great success. 

After that, in addition to the service, he devoted himself to literary work. The collection "The Serapion Brothers" (1819-1821), the novel "The Everyday views of the cat Murr" (1820-1822) won Hoffmann worldwide fame. The famous fairy tale "The Golden Pot" (1814), the novel "The Elixir of the Devil" (1815-1816), the story in the spirit of the fairy tale "Little Tsakhes nicknamed Zinnober" (1819).

Hoffmann's novel "Master Flea" (1822) led to a conflict with the Prussian government, the incriminating parts of the novel were withdrawn and published only in 1906.

Since 1818, the writer developed a spinal cord disease, which for several years led to paralysis.

On June 25, 1822, Hoffmann died. He was buried in the third cemetery of the Temple of John of Jerusalem.

Hoffmann was married to the daughter of a Posen clerk, Michalina Rohrer. Their only daughter, Cecilia, died at the age of two.

In the German city of Bamberg, in the house where Hoffmann and his wife lived on the second floor, a museum of the writer has been opened. In Bamberg, there is a monument to the writer holding the cat called Murr.

                                     Nazira Artykbayeva, librarian of the International Book Department