Romanticist Hoffmann Discussed – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Romanticist Hoffmann Discussed

In every culture, there are key literary and artistic figures whose contributions are significant enough that they need to be comprehended in order to understand and appreciate the culture itself. In German culture, such a figure is Ernst Theodor Wilhelm Hoffmann (known widely as E.T.A.). A German author of the Romantic movement, he wrote in both fantasy and horror genres, was a jurist, composer, music critic, draftsman and caricaturist and was highly influential in the 19th century.

Len Cagle, assistant professor of German at Lycoming College, will visit campus to share his thoughts and insights into Hoffmann’s texts on Wednesday, Sept. 10.

“Hoffmann plays a large role in the cultural and literary history of German-speaking Europe,” says HWS professor of German-Area Studies Erik Klaus.
“Understanding and appreciating the scope and impact of Hoffmann’s texts is important for understanding and appreciating the interests of the field.”

In his lecture “Two Windows in Hoffmann,” Cagle argues that windows feature prominently in several of Hoffmann’s texts. In looking through windows with Hoffmann’s young narrators, he contends we also learn something about the limitations of perspective and the need to “truly see” to properly observe what appears before our eyes. Cagle will deliver this lecture at 7 p.m. in Stern 203.

“Students will get a glimpse into the life of this important figure in European cultural history” said Klaus, who is excited about this opportunity to increase the profile of the German-Area Studies program on campus. He continued, “It will give them a view into Romanticism in Germany; it will provide them with an opportunity to listen to an interpretation of Hoffmann by an expert in the field.”

Before beginning at Lycoming College, Cagle completed his Ph.D. at Brown University and has studied and conducted research in Germany. A passionate teacher and rigorous scholar, Cagle has focused on Hoffmann and the uncanny in film and literature.