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Between Real and Unreal

A Thematic Study of E. T. A. Hoffmann’s «Die Serapionsbrüder»


Stefan Bergström

Between Real and Unreal presents new insights into E. T. A. Hoffmann’s innovative use of the fantastic in his short fiction, as typified primarily by the collection «Die Serapionsbrüder». With Tzvetan Todorov’s structuralist theories of the fantastic as a major point of departure, Stefan Bergström explores the unusual nature and method of Hoffmann’s colorful depictions of a fantastic world between reality and imagination. The study is devoted to an analysis of several main themes represented in Hoffmann’s literary production, particularly «Die Serapionsbrüder». Dr. Bergström argues that there is a structural, thematic coherence in this short story collection that gives it a special character based on a conscious interaction between a realistic and imaginary world.