Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Nutcracker

A two for one hero day today. The fellow above in one E.T.A. Hoffman born this day 1776 in Konigsberg, East Prussia. He was the son of a jurist, and would follow in the family tradition. After a somewhat unhappy childhood, our boy Hoffman, at the tender age of 20, he got just a bit too "attached" to a married woman, and had six children. The family protested that Hoffman was a bit too close to their relation, and he was shipped off to an uncle in Silesia. His time with his uncle was spent passing exams in order to become a jurist, and attempting (unsuccessfully) to become a composer. From 1800 to 1803 he had moved on to the province of Greater Poland, this was his first time outside the supervision of his family, and he took advantage of it to live a "dissolute" life style. He got married during this time, but an indiscretion at his job led to him being promoted (which really meant exiled) to a post in New East Prussia. He despaired of his exile, but did take the time in exile to begin composing, and writing short stories. It was those short stories, and his critical reviews of music that were to make him famous. He wrote the story that the Christmas favourite "The Nutcracker" is based upon. He had some rough times during the Napoleonic Wars, and his family was involved in the Battle of Dresden. He eventually settled back in Berlin, and was reappointed his job as a jurist that he had previously lost. He even managed to get an opera performed successful on the Berlin stage, but alcohol abuse, and the effects of syphilis were taking their toll. He was paralyzed by 1822, and his last works were dictated to either his wife or his secretary. He died on (my birthday) June 25th, 1822 at the age of 46. However, for writing fiction that showed him a pioneer of the fantasy genre (being a major influence on Edgar Allan Poe), E.T.A. Hoffman (January 24th 1776-June 25th, 1822, at the age of 46) you are my (153rd) hero of the day.

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