Tag: HOFFMANN E.T.A.

Plozk

Yeah. Plozk.
But why?
Because of E. T. W. HOFFMANN (1776-1822) (Ger., Eng., society, texts in English too). You may know him as E. T. A. HOFFMANN, with “A” for Amadeus, but he was born as Ernst Theodor Wilhelm into a Prussian family of jurists and officials. Some say that he himself changed the name to Amadeus for his love to Amadeus MOZART, but I read somewhere that his name simply was mis-written on a manuscript he had sent around, and that he liked it and did not want to correct this mishap.
HOFFMANN dutifully followed his ancestors in their footsteps and became a jurist, a pretty successful even, but on the other hand he had a love for the arts. He was multitalented as writer, composer, painter and caricaturist. He very often kept his wit under control, but sometime … and one of this occasions brought him to Plotzk (Ger., Eng. web).
From 1800 until 1802 the young Assessor was serving in Posen (Ger., Eng. web). After the second dividing of Poland (Ger., Eng.) in 1793 some areas found themselves as parts of the Prussian state, something called (since 1795) Neuostpreußen (Ger., Eng.). As his lifelong friend HITZIG  (Ger., Eng.) writes in HOFFMANN’s biography*, the positions in the new provinces were a bit dangerous for young officials: Hard work, but good pay and a lot of easy living. HOFFMANN was pretty much in the midst of the action, hanging around with all these dangerous artist types. And he was a talented caricaturist.
The high society of Posen held a masquerade and amidst them a italienischer Bilderkrämer (Italian picture-peddler ?) showed up and happily gave away nice coloured paintings. A huge success, until those caricatured recognized what kind of paper sheets were handed out for the general and public amusement. HOFFMANN was not the masked person, but it was clear that he had drawn the images. 
Unfortunately at this time in Berlin the papers were ready for the promotion of the Assessoren, a little mistake was made, and HOFFMANN was sent to Plozk.
He was two years on this post, in spring 1804 he’s allowed to came to Warschau (Ger., Eng., web).
His life can be called colourful. The last station was Berlin from 1814 until his early and terrible death. And even his dying was overshadowed by a “scandal” he triggered, because he did not control his wit, or maybe his frustration needed an outlet. More on this later, I’m tired.

* HITZIG, Julius Eduard: E.T.A. Hoffmanns Leben und Nachlaß, zuerst Berlin 1823. I used the shortened Insel-Edition: Mit Anmerkungen zum Text und einem Nachwort von Wolfgang Held, Frankfurt am Main 1.Aufl. 1986.