Re: Tomcat Murr (non-spoiler)
Posted by Sterling on 13/7/2011, 9:57:08, in reply to "Re: Tomcat Murr (non-spoiler)"
I just thought I'd mention that I did go back and finish The Tomcat Murr. I thank you, Steven, for proposing it. Although I'd heard of Hoffmann, of course, I had never actually read a word. And I had thought of him as a short story writer like Poe. I had never heard of Murr at all. It was an enjoyable book. It belongs in the company of Sterne and Diderot, although it does not seem as bizarre or unusual. It has the one trick (which is certainly a good one), and then is relatively conventional. Murr's story seems to be in the grand German fairy tale tradition (although it perhaps most recalls the French Puss in Boots), although it is fun to have it set in such a naturalistic setting. Kreisler, on the other hand, seems to me to be both an example of and a parody of the grand German Romantic school. Anyway, it was enjoyable and entertaining. I may now seek out some of Hoffmann's short stories. |
: I hadn't had time to discuss the Tomcat Murr, but now
: that I can, I would like to say that I enjoyed it very
: much. It was like a gush of fresh air in between books
: -some of them masterpieces, no doubt- very pessimistic
: and full of pathetic, violent, and depressing
: situations. Think of "Auto-da-Fe", or
: "Berlin Alexanderplatz", or "The
: Idiot", or "Norwegian Wood", with
: suicides, sordid situations, etc.
: Now, although Tomcat Murr has at least a depressing
: story, i.e. Master Abraham's loss of his beloved girl,
: the whole book is written in a tone so farcical, so
: fairy-tale, that it's just cute instead of feeling
: like a real tragedy.
: Murr is pathetically lovable, and a great satire on
: academic pomposity and pretention; Kreisler is perfect
: as a representation of the artist; Master Abraham is a
: true sensei or Magister Ludi; and the girls are so
: funny, especially Princess Hedwiga.
: By the way, it must be a preversion of mine, but I
: love this kind of books with lots of footnotes on
: obscure cultural allusions, like Tristram Shandy, one
: of my favorite books. A funny fairy-tale once in a
: while, in the middle of this Valley of Tears, is