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Magnificent Houses in Twentieth Century European Literature

Series:

Hugo G. Walter

Magnificent Houses in Twentieth Century European Literature is a collection of great and imaginative essays that explore the theme of magnificent and aesthetically interesting houses in twentieth century European literature. It focuses especially on important works by Thomas Mann, Evelyn Waugh, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Siegfried Lenz, while also discussing other significant houses in modern European literature.

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Introduction 1

Extract

1 Through a consistent devotion to the light, to nurturing and appreciating sanctuar- ies of light, and through a vital dedication to love, to the preservation of their love despite the temptations and vicissitudes of everyday mortality, both Anselmus and the Taugenichts attain a vital sense of happiness and mortal bliss. E. T. A. Hoffmann’s Nußknacker und Mausekönig,The Nutcracker and the King of Mice (completed in November, 1816 and published in the autumn of 1816 in a col- lection of fairy tales by Fouqué, Hoffmann, and Contessa, and then published in Die Serapionsbrüder, Volume 1), is another narrative with interesting and important architectural spaces. At the beginning of Hoffmann’s Nußknacker und Mausekönig it is Christmas eve at the home of the Stahlbaum family. The children of the family are not allowed to enter certain drawing-rooms in the house because of the festive preparations which are occurring there. In addition to the family members, Dr. Stahlbaum, his wife, and three children (Marie, Fritz, and Louise), Godpapa Drosselmeier is present for the holiday celebration. One of the first references in the narrative to a special place of light and natural beauty is Marie’s statement on page 2 that Godpapa Drosselmeier told her about such a place. Marie says that he described “a beautiful garden with a great lake in it, and beautiful swans swimming about with great gold collars, singing lovely music” (72). There is also a lovely little girl in the scene who walks through...

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