His Life, His Dreams….
E.T.A. Hoffmann, often also called the “Ghost Hoffmann”, was one of the important writers and artist of the romantic era in Europe. He was a genius, who had the ability to write, compose and draw with his own characteristics and to catch the attention of many other artists and thinkers from his life time until present date.
This man, who was going to be the poet of the uncanny, was born on January 24th 1776 in Konigsberg, Germany. Before his mother Luise Albertine Dorffer already had given birth to two other childs, but lost the first one in his early age. Hoffmann was baptized as Ernst Theodor Wilhelm and he later on in 1804 changed his name Wilhelm to Amadeus, because he became a passionate admirer of the great musician Amadeus Mozart.
His family, originating from old traditional polish nobility, had a strong background in the profession of law and therefore his father was a lawyer at the court in Konigsberg.
As a young child, E.T.A. Hoffmann had inherited some negative genes from his parents. His father was a highly talented, impulsive and moody character and tended to be a notorious alcohol addict. His mother on the other side was a hysteric person, who was often falling in deep depressions and had a fanatical drive towards tidiness and properness in the family home. In addition she was very careful about the family image in society and always tried to avoid bad rumors about her and her family in the neighborhood.Because of the tensions between Hoffmann’s parents, his father took the chance of a new job offer in a different city and left his hysterical wife together with the two sons back in Koenigsberg. He filed for a divorce and became the custody over the older son Karl. In the young age of four Ernst had lost all contacts to his father and his older brother and stayed under the custody of his psychotic mother.After the divorce Luise and Ernst moved to her mother’s house, a spacious and gray building located at the Poststrasse. Luise’s psychological problems started to get worse and she often fall into hysterical attacks and complained continuously about her life and her destiny. His uncle Doerffer, who was a typical Prussian character and a strict and bigot lawyer, was basically educating the young Hoffman with severe and strict rules, which left not much space for breathing and fun in his childhood.