Sunday, October 14, 2018

The Protean Ursula K. Le Guin



Charles Vess: The Books of Earthsea (2018)

i.m. Ursula Kroeber Le Guin
(21 October 1929 - 22 January 2018)


It's hard to think of a time when I hadn't read Ursula Le Guin's work. I suppose I can date it fairly precisely if I think about it. A Wizard of Earthsea was lent to my sister Anne by her standard four teacher, a thin, dark-haired, intense young woman whose name escapes me now. And since Anne was only a year ahead of me at school, that would make it 1971, when the book (first published in 1968) was only a few years old. That means I've been reading Le Guin for roughly 47 years - amazing, really, when you think about it.



Ursula Le Guin: A Wizard of Earthsea (1968)


Already a fan of such writers as Alan Garner, C. S. Lewis, and J. R. R. Tolkien, I could see that this was something quite different: different, but equally valid.

The Tombs of Atuan (1971), which we all read next, was a very different kettle of fish: more layered, subjective and intensely personal. I didn't like it as much as the more objective, epic voice of A Wizard of Earthsea, but (once again), even at that age, I could see it was just as valid.



Ursula K. Le Guin: The Lathe of Heaven (1971)


The Farthest Shore (1972), when it came out the next year, seemed to combine the best features of the two styles.

By then I was hopelessly hooked, and - soon after - started my long, slow immersion in her early science fiction: first The Lathe of Heaven (which my father had in a scruffy little paperback edition: still possibly my favourite among all of her books), then the far more difficult Left Hand of Darkness - which still terrifies as much as it enthuses me - and finally her wonderful 'ambiguous Utopia', The Dispossessed.



Ursula K. Le Guin et al.: The Left Hand of Darkness (1969)


After those early books came a long period of disappointment for me. Her early work seemed to me to constitute a touchstone of excellence in speculative fiction that only the greatest could hope to equal. But what was I to make of The Eye of the Heron or Buffalo Gals?

It seemed to me as if (to quote C. S. Lewis's witty denunciation of H. G. Wells) she "had sold her birthright for a pot of message." The wonderfully subtle and nuanced gender relations in books such as The Left Hand of Darkness or the original Earthsea Trilogy had been traded in for the strident excesses of militant feminism.



Ursula K. Le Guin et al.: The Eye of the Heron (1978)


The thing about addicts, though, is that it's very hard for them to break free from their addictions. By now the habit was formed, and I dutifully read book after book of hers, hoping against hope for a return to form. This even after she'd dared to politicise the pristine fantasy world of her own Earthsea with the bitter pill of Tehanu (1990).



Ursula K. Le Guin et al.: Tehanu (1990)


The years came and went, the books piled up: particularly the collections of short stories, a form which has always seemed particularly congenial to her. Eventually even I, the stupid mule, began to get it, began to read back with a bit more insight, began to see how my adolescent judgements of her work simply betokened a lack of political maturity.

Now even those novels and stories of her middle period seem to me clearly integrated into her work as a whole - it makes me blush to realise how blindly stuck in my ways I must have been to think otherwise: to fail (for instance) to see the merits of such a wonderful story as 'Buffalo Gals, Won't You Come Out Tonight.'



Ursula K. Le Guin: Always Coming Home (1985)


Interestingly enough, I didn't share the adverse reaction to Always Coming Home when it first came out - after, that is, I'd learned that it had to be read straight through: songs, folklore, ethnologies, etymologies and all, if one was to have any hope of understanding the narrative all those things frame. Do they exist for the story, or does the story exist for them? It's an interesting question, but one - by its very nature - which remains unanswerable.



Always Coming Home remains her most ambitious novel: the one which really betrays how much she was her father's daughter: Alfred L. Kroeber (1876-1960), one of the most influential ethnologists who ever lived, famous (or infamous, depending on how you read it) as one of the protagonists of the so-called Ishi saga, the story of which was eventually written as Ishi in Two Worlds (1961) by Theodora Kroeber, Ursula's mother - who never met Ishi himself - after her husband's death.



Theodora Kroeber: Ishi in Two Worlds (1961)


Always Coming Home, for those of you who haven't read it, is a strange combination of a fantasy novel set in the near (or far) future, and an ethnography of a people called the Kesh, inhabitants of what is now Northern California. It includes accounts of their religious rituals, castes and guilds, stories and poems, their diet, and virtually the whole of their life-style from birth to death. It’s a hugely ambitious text, involving the creation of a whole imaginary future people, but – of course – also aspires to be a readable story.



Alfred L. Kroeber: Handbook of the Indians of California (1925)


It’s always seemed obvious to me that it was, at least in part, inspired by her father's work: his Handbook of the Indians of California, or one of his many, many other works on Native American culture and folklore, such as Indian Myths of South Central California (1907) or the posthumously published Yurok Myths (1976).

Her mother's influence is just as strong, though: perhaps a unique case of a novelist daughter influenced by her linguist and anthropologist father and her biographer mother - who followed up her first, more scholarly book Ishi in Two Worlds with a more popular, lightly fictionalized version, Ishi: Last of His Tribe - in creating a work which can really only be described as ethno-speculative-fiction.



Ursula K. Le Guin: Searoad: Chronicles of Klatsand (1991)


Whether or not you agree with that reading, it's clear that all three of these writers, mother, father and daughter do have in common a deep kinship with the region they live in: the North-West Coast of the United States.

Perhaps her most potent expression of this feeling came in the book Searoad, an innovative book of linked short stories which combine to create the sense of a single place: Klatsand, a small town on the edge of the Pacific Ocean. Given this unity of conception, I've classed it as a novel in my bibliography of her work below, but actually it would fit just as well in the list of books of short stories.

That's quite characteristic of Le Guin, actually. She defies simple classification into genres. Her potted biography on Amazon.com reads as follows:
Ursula K. Le Guin (1929-2018) has published twenty-one novels, eleven volumes of short stories, four collections of essays, twelve books for children, six volumes of poetry, and four of translation.
Given that they go on to say: "Her recent publications include the novel Lavinia [2008], Words Are My Matter, an essay collection [2016], and Finding My Elegy, New and Selected Poems [2012]," one can't help wondering how up-to-date these statistics are actually meant to be.

Myself, I count 13 'adult' novels alongside 9 for YA readers, which I would say adds up to 22. Given the doubts I've already signalled about Searoad, however, as well as the fact that The Word for World is Forest (1977) and Very Far Away from Anywhere Else (1976) are really more novella than novel-length, albeit published as stand-alone volumes, one could certainly argue for any figure around the 20s.

11 volumes of short stories does sound correct to me (including, as it should, her 2001 book Tales from Earthsea). The four collections of essays is hopelessly out-of-date, however. I count at least seven major volumes of these - although one could easily expand that to 8 if one included the British collection Dreams Must Explain Themselves (or, for that matter, 9, with the addition of the posthumous volume of Conversations on Writing with David Naimon).

The 12 books for children have risen to 13, the 6 books of poetry to 12, but the 4 of translation still seems accurate. By my count, then, 72 books (ignoring - mind you - a number of the chapbooks listed on her Wikipedia bibliography page), plus at least 10 volumes of collected works, ranging from the various editions of the Earthsea series to the four-volume Library of America collection.

It's an impressive total. It's not so much how many there are as how many masterpieces there are among them, though. She really was one of a kind.



Ursula K. Le Guin: The Hainish Novels & Stories (2017)






Dana Gluckstein: Ursula K. Le Guin (1929-2018)

Select Bibliography
(1966-2018)

    Novels:

  1. Rocannon's World. 1966. A Star Book. London: W. H. Allen & Co., Ltd. 1980.

  2. Planet of Exile / Thomas M. Disch. Mankind under the Leash. Ace Double. New York: Ace Books, Inc., 1966.

  3. City of Illusions. 1967. Panther Science Fiction. St Albans, Herts: Panther Books, 1973.

  4. The Left Hand of Darkness. 1969. Panther Science Fiction. St Albans, Herts: Panther Books, 1975.

  5. The Lathe of Heaven. 1971. Panther Science Fiction. St Albans, Herts: Panther Books, 1974.

  6. The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia. 1974. Panther Science Fiction. St Albans, Herts: Panther Books, 1975.

  7. The Word for World is Forest. 1977. Panther Books. London: Granada Publishing, 1980.

  8. Malafrena. 1979. Panther Books. London: Granada Publishing, 1981.

  9. Threshold. [As ‘The Beginning Place’, 1980]. Panther Books. London: Granada Publishing, 1982.

  10. Always Coming Home. Artist: Margaret Chodos. Composer: Todd Baron. Geomancer: George Hersh. 1985. London: Victor Gollancz, 1986.

  11. Searoad: Chronicles of Klatsand. 1991. London: Victor Gollancz, 1992.

  12. The Telling. 2000. London: Gollancz, 2003.

  13. Lavinia. 2008. Mariner Books. Boston & New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 2009.

  14. Short Stories:

  15. The Wind's Twelve Quarters. 1975. 2 Vols. Panther Books. London: Granada Publishing, 1978.

  16. Orsinian Tales. 1976. Panther Books. London: Granada Publishing, 1978.

  17. Virginia Kidd, ed. The Eye of the Heron and Other Stories. By Ursula K. Le Guin et al. [As ‘Millennial Women’, 1978]. Panther Books. London: Granada Publishing, 1980.

  18. Le Guin, Ursula K. The Compass Rose: Short Stories. 1982. London: Victor Gollancz, 1983.

  19. Buffalo Gals, and Other Animal Presences. 1987. A Plume book. New York: New American Library, 1988.

  20. A Fisherman of the Inland Sea. 1994. London: Vista, 1997.

  21. Four Ways to Forgiveness. 1995. HarperPrism. New York: HarperCollins, 1996.

  22. Unlocking the Air and Other Stories. 1996. HarperPerennial. New York: HarperCollins, 2005.

  23. The Birthday of the World and Other Stories. 2002. London: Gollancz, 2003.

  24. Changing Planes: Stories. Illustrated by Eric Beddows. Orlando, Fl: Harcourt, Inc., 2003.

  25. YA Fiction:

  26. A Wizard of Earthsea. 1968. Drawings by Ruth Robbins. Puffin Books, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1976.

  27. The Tombs of Atuan. 1971. Puffin Books, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1975.

  28. The Farthest Shore. 1972. Puffin Books, Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1975.

  29. A Very Long Way from Anywhere Else. [As ‘Very Far Away from Anywhere Else’, 1976]. Peacock Books. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1978.

  30. Tehanu: The Last Book of Earthsea. London: Victor Gollancz, 1990.

  31. Tales from Earthsea. 2001. London: Orion Children’s Books, 2002.

  32. The Other Wind. 2001. London: Orion Children’s Books, 2002.

  33. Gifts. Annals of the Western Shore, 1. 2004. Orlando, Fl: Harcourt, Inc., 2006.

  34. Voices. Annals of the Western Shore, 2. 2006. Orion Children's Books. London: Orion Publishing Group Ltd., Inc., 2007.

  35. Powers. Annals of the Western Shore, 3. 2007. Orion Children's Books. London: Orion Publishing Group Ltd., Inc., 2008.

  36. Children's Books:

  37. Leese Webster. Illustrated by James Brunsman (1979)

  38. The Adventure of Cobbler's Rune. Illustrated by Alicia Austin (1982)

  39. Solomon Leviathan's Nine Hundred and Thirty-First Trip Around the World. Illustrated by Alicia Austin (1983)

  40. A Visit from Dr. Katz. Illustrated by Ann Barrow (1988)

  41. Fire and Stone. Illustrated by Laura Marshall (1988)

  42. Catwings. Illustrated by S. D. Schindler (1988)

  43. Catwings Return. Illustrated by S. D. Schindler (1989)

  44. Fish Soup. Illustrated by Patrick Wynne (1992)

  45. A Ride on the Red Mare's Back. Illustrated by Julie Downing (1992)

  46. Wonderful Alexander and the Catwings. Illustrated by S. D. Schindler (1994)

  47. Jane On Her Own. Illustrated by S. D. Schindler (1999)

  48. Tom Mouse. Illustrated by Julie Downing (2002)

  49. Cat Dreams. Illustrated by S. D. Schindler (2009)

  50. Non-fiction:

  51. From Elfland to Poughkeepsie (1973)

  52. The Language of the Night: Essays on Fantasy and Science Fiction. Ed. Susan Wood. 1979. Rev ed. London: The Women’s Press, 1989.

  53. Dancing at the Edge of the World: Thoughts on Words, Women, Places. London: Victor Gollancz, 1989.

  54. Steering the Craft: Exercises and Discussions on Story Writing for the Lone Navigator or the Mutinous Crew. Portland, Oregon: The Eighth Mountain Press, 1998.

  55. The Wave in the Mind: Talks and Essays on the Writer, the Reader, and the Imagination. Boston: Shambhala Publications, Inc., 2004.

  56. Cheek by Jowl: Talks & Essays on How & Why Fantasy Matters. Seattle, Washington: Aqueduct Press, 2009.

  57. Words Are My Matter: Writings About Life and Books, 2000-2016, with a Journal of a Writer’s Week. Northampton, Mass: Small Beer Press, 2016.

  58. No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters (2017)

  59. Dreams Must Explain Themselves and Other Essays: 1972–2004 (2018)

  60. Conversations on Writing: Ursula K. Le Guin with David Naimon (2018)

  61. Poetry:

  62. Wild Angels. 1975. In The Capra Chapbook Anthology. Ed. Noel Young. Santa Barbara, CA: Capra Press, 1979.

  63. Hard Words and Other Poems (1981)

  64. Wild Oats and Fireweed: New Poems (1988)

  65. Going out with Peacocks and Other Poems (1994)

  66. [with Diana Bellessi] The Twins, The Dream: Two Voices / Las Gemelas, El Sueño: Dos Voces (1997)

  67. Sixty Odd (1999)

  68. Incredible Good Fortune (2006)

  69. Four Different Poems (2007)

  70. Out Here: Poems and Images from Steens Mountain Country. Photographs by Roger Dorband (2010)

  71. Finding My Elegy: New and Selected Poems (2012)

  72. Late in the Day: Poems 2010-2014 (2015)

  73. So Far So Good: Final Poems 2014-2018 (2018)

  74. Translation:

  75. Lao Tzu. Tao Te Ching. A Book about the Way & the Power of the Way. Translated with J. P. Seaton. 1997. Boston & London: Shambhala Publications, Inc., 1998.

  76. Gabriela Mistral. Selected Poems (2003)

  77. Angelica Gorodischer. Kalpa Imperial (2003)

  78. Gheorghe Săsărman. Squaring the Circle: A Pseudotreatise of Urbogony. Translated with Mariano Martín Rodríguez (2013)

  79. Collected Editions:

  80. The Earthsea Trilogy: A Wizard of Earthsea; The Tombs of Atuan; The Farthest Shore. 1968, 1972, 1973, 1979. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1983.

  81. The Earthsea Quartet: A Wizard of Earthsea; The Tombs of Atuan; The Farthest Shore: Tehanu. 1968, 1972, 1973, 1990. A Puffin Book. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1993.

  82. Worlds of Exile and Illusion: Rocannon's World; Planet of Exile; City of Illusions. 1964, 1966, 1967. An Orb Book. New York: Tom Doherty Associates, 1995.

  83. The Unreal and the Real: Selected Stories, Volume 1: Where on Earth. 2012. Gollancz. London: Orion Publishing Group, 2014.

  84. The Unreal and the Real: Selected Stories, Volume 2: Outer Space, Inner Lands. 2012. Gollancz. London: Orion Publishing Group, 2015.

  85. The Found and the Lost: The Collected Novellas. Saga Press. New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc., 2016.

  86. The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition – A Wizard of Earthsea; The Tombs of Atuan; The Farthest Shore: Tehanu; Tales of Earthsea; The Other Wind. 1968, 1972, 1973, 1990, 2001, 2001. Illustrated by Charles Vess. Saga Press. New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc., 2018.

  87. The Complete Orsinia: Malafrena; Stories and Songs. Ed. Brian Attebery. Ursula K. Le Guin Collection, 1. The Library of America, 281. 1979, 1976. New York: Literary Classics of the United States, Inc., 2016.

  88. The Hainish Novels & Stories, vol. 1: Rocannon's World; Planet of Exile; City of Illusions; The Left Hand of Darkness; The Dispossessed; Stories. 1964, 1966, 1967, 1969, 1974. Ed. Brian Attebery. Ursula K. Le Guin Collection, 2. The Library of America, 296. New York: Literary Classics of the United States, Inc., 2017.

  89. The Hainish Novels & Stories, vol. 2: The Word for World is Forest; Five Ways to Forgiveness; The Telling; Stories. 1977, 1995, 2000. Ed. Brian Attebery. Ursula K. Le Guin Collection, 3. The Library of America, 297. New York: Literary Classics of the United States, Inc., 2017.

  90. Always Coming Home: Author’s Expanded Edition. 1985. Ed. Brian Attebery. Ursula K. Le Guin Collection, 4. The Library of America, 315. New York: Literary Classics of the United States, Inc., 2019.



Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Penguin Modern Poets 50 Years On



If you want a quick overview of twentieth century poetry, you could do worse than run your eye over the list below of Penguin Modern European Poets - as well as their English-language counterparts, the Penguin Modern Poets. I wrote a post earlier this year about the Penguin Poets in Translation series, which I've also been collecting for many years, but these two multi-volume sets are every bit as interesting, I think.



The twenty-eight volumes of Penguin Modern Poets include 81 writers - a bit like our three volumes of New Zealand Poets in Performance which contain, in all, recordings of 82 poets. They range from thirties survivors such as Lawrence Durrell and Stephen Spender to the poets of the 'Mersey Sound' (Adrian Henri, Roger McGough, and Brian Patten), who far outsold anyone else in the series - though volume 5, starring the American Beat poets Gregory Corso, Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsberg, was also a monster bestseller.



According to wikipedia, it was followed by a second series of 13 new "Penguin Modern Poets" in the 1990s, and yet another series had its debut in 2016, and has now reached its seventh volume. These are no doubt equally worthy - in the abstract, at any rate - but they somehow lack the excitement of that original set of black-backed books.

You'll note I say '28' rather than '27' volumes. This is because of the 1983 sequel to the original Mersey Sound book, no. 10 in the series ("which, with sales of over 500,000, has become one of the best-selling poetry anthologies ever").



I liked the books, and collected them assiduously. My real enthusiasm, however, was roused by some of the volumes in the Penguin Modern European Poets series. Clarence Brown and W. S. Merwin's wonderful versions of Mandelstam were particularly revelatory, but so were the Celan selections of Michael Hamburger and Christopher Middleton.

The sheer extent and chutzpah of the series was almost breathtaking. It seemed to aspire to modernise the whole of English-language poetry by showing us what we'd been missing all these years. I don't know how far they got with their spin-off series of Penguin Latin American poets - the only one of those I've ever been able to find is their translation of the Peruvian poet César Vallejo:


Vallejo, César. Selected Poems. Trans. Ed Dorn & Gordon Brotherston. Introduction by Gordon Brotherston. Penguin Latin American Poets. Ed. A. Alvarez. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1976.

They also published versions of Jorge Luis Borges, Pablo Neruda and Octavio Paz, but those were in the 'Penguin Poets' series rather than a specific Latin American offshoot.

These wonderful books gave me my first exposure to poets such as Fernando Pessoa, Marina Tsvetayeva, Giuseppe Ungaretti and Vladimir Holan. I may have cheated a little in the lists below by including a few volumes which were actually labelled "Penguin Poets" among the "Penguin Modern European Poets", so-called, but given, in that case, that I would have to have left Pablo Neruda, Boris Pasternak and Octavio Paz to one side, I'm pretty unapologetic about it. They are, in each case, clearly the same kind of book as all the others.

The first in the series seems to have been Jacques Prévert in 1958. It didn't really get going again until Apollinaire appeared in 1965. After that, though, they came thick and fast until the multi-authored Renga in 1979. I count 37 in the series proper (leaving out the three 'penguin poets' volumes mentioned above). I'd love to know if there are others I've missed. If so, they don't seem to have left much of a trace online.

The one listing I have come across, on the World Literature Forum, includes only 26 volumes to my 37. This, moreover, includes the West Indian poet Aimé Césaire, who (so far as I can see) actually falls under the cognate category of "Penguin Poets."
Césaire, Aimé. Return to My Native Land. 1956. Trans. John Berger & Anna Bostock. Introduction by Mazisi Kunene. Penguin Poets. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1969.
Whatever one counts in or out of the series, it was clearly a magnificent effort, inspired to a great extent by the cosmopolitan interests of Ted Hughes and Daniel Weissbort, who co-founded the magazine Modern Poetry in Translation (MPT) in 1965. Al Alvarez, long-time editor of the series - and author of Under Pressure - The Writer in Society: Eastern Europe and the U.S.A. (1965) - also contributed a great deal.

Between them, they succeeded (for a time, at least) in waking up the in-bred, monoglot English poetry scene to the existence of an outside world of dazzling linguistic inventfulness and engaged poetics. They certainly needed it then - but no more (I suspect) than we need it again now.



Guillevic (1974)






Penguin Modern Poets 1 (1962)

Penguin Modern Poets
(1962-1983)


  1. Penguin Modern Poets 1: Lawrence Durrell / Elizabeth Jennings / R. S. Thomas. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1962.

  2. Penguin Modern Poets 2: Kingsley Amis / Dom Moraes / Peter Porter. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1962.

  3. Penguin Modern Poets 3: George Barker / Martin Bell / Charles Causley. 1962. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1966.

  4. Penguin Modern Poets 4: David Holbrook / Christopher Middleton / David Wevill. 1963. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1970.

  5. Penguin Modern Poets 5: Gregory Corso / Lawrence Ferlinghetti / Allen Ginsberg. 1963. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1971.

  6. Penguin Modern Poets 6: Jack Clemo / Edward Lucie-Smith / George MacBeth. 1964. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1970.

  7. Penguin Modern Poets 7: Richard Murphy / Jon Silkin / Nathaniel Tarn. 1965. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1970.

  8. Penguin Modern Poets 8: Edwin Brock / Geoffrey Hill / Stevie Smith. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1966.

  9. Penguin Modern Poets 9: Denise Levertov / Kenneth Rexroth / William Carlos Williams. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1967.

  10. Penguin Modern Poets 10: The Mersey Sound – Adrian Henri / Roger McGough / Brian Patten. 1967. Revised and Enlarged edition. 1974. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1975.

  11. The Penguin Poets: New Volume – Adrian Henri / Roger McGough / Brian Patten. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1983.

  12. Penguin Modern Poets 11: D. M. Black / Peter Redgrove / D. M. Thomas. 1968. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1969.

  13. Penguin Modern Poets 12: Alan Jackson / Jeff Nuttall / William Wanting. 1968. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1969.

  14. Penguin Modern Poets 13: Charles Bukowski / Philip Lamantia / Harold Norse. 1969. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1970.

  15. Penguin Modern Poets 14: Alan Bronwjohn / Michael Hamburger / Charles Tomlinson. 1969. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1970.

  16. Penguin Modern Poets 15: Alan Bold / Edward Brathwaite / Edwin Morgan. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1969.

  17. Penguin Modern Poets 16: Jack Beeching / Harry Guest / Matthew Mead. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1970.

  18. Penguin Modern Poets 17: David Gascoyne / W. S. Graham / Kathleen Raine. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1970.

  19. Penguin Modern Poets 18: A. Alvarez / Roy Fuller / Anthony Thwaite. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1970.

  20. Penguin Modern Poets 19: John Ashbery / Lee Harwood / Tom Raworth. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1971.

  21. Penguin Modern Poets 20: John Heath-Stubbs / F. T. Prince / Stephen Spender. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1972.

  22. Penguin Modern Poets 21: Iain Crichton Smith / Norman MacCaig / George Mackay Brown. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1972.

  23. Penguin Modern Poets 22: John Fuller / Peter Levi / Adrian Mitchell. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1973.

  24. Penguin Modern Poets 23: Geoffrey Grigson / Edwin Muir / Adrian Stokes. Guest Ed. Stephen Spender. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1973.

  25. Penguin Modern Poets 24: Kenward Elmslie / Kenneth Koch / James Schuyler. Guest Ed. John Ashbery. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1974.

  26. Penguin Modern Poets 25: Gavin Ewart / Zulfikar Ghose / B. S. Johnson. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1975.

  27. Penguin Modern Poets 26: Dannie Abse, D.J. Enright, Michael Longley. Guest Ed. Anthony Thwaite. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1975.

  28. Penguin Modern Poets 27: John Ormond / Emyr Humphreys / John Tripp. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1979.








Anna Akhmatova (1969)

Penguin Modern European Poets
(c.1958-1984)


[Alphabetical]:
  1. Akhmatova, Anna. Selected Poems. Trans. Richard McKane. Essay by Andrei Sinyavsky. 1969. Penguin Modern European Poets. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1969.

  2. Amichai, Yehuda. Selected Poems. Trans. Assia Gutmann & Harold Schimmel, with Ted Hughes. Introduction by Michael Hamburger. Penguin Modern European Poets. Ed. A. Alvarez. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1971.

  3. Apollinaire, Guillaume. Selected Poems. Trans. Oliver Bernard. Penguin Modern European Poets. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1965.

  4. Blok, Alexander. Selected Poems. Trans. Jon Stallworthy & Peter France. 1970. Penguin Modern European Poets. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1974.

  5. Bobrowski, Johannes, & Horst Bienek. Selected Poems. Trans. Ruth & Matthew Mead. Penguin Modern European Poets. Ed. A. Alvarez. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1971.

  6. Brodsky, Joseph. Selected Poems. Trans. George L. Kline. Foreword by W. H. Auden. Penguin Modern European Poets. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1973.

  7. Carmi, T. & Dan Pagis. Selected Poems. Trans. Stephen Mitchell. Introduction by M. L. Rosentha. Penguin Modern European Poets. Ed. A. Alvarez. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1976.

  8. Celan, Paul. Selected Poems. Trans. Michael Hamburger & Christopher Middleton. 1962 & 1967. Introduction by Michael Hamburger. Penguin Modern European Poets. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1972.

  9. Cendrars, Blaise. Selected Poems. Trans. Peter Hoida. Introduction by Mary Ann Caws. Penguin Modern European Poets. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1979.

  10. Three Czech Poets: Vitezslau Nezval / Antonin Bartusek / Josef Hanzlik. Selected Poems. Trans. Ewald Osers & George Theiner. Introduction by Graham Martin. Penguin Modern European Poets. Ed. A. Alvarez. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1971.

  11. Ekelöf, Gunnar. Selected Poems. Trans. W. H. Auden & Leif Sjöberg. Introduction by Göran Printz-Pahlson. Penguin Modern European Poets. Ed. A. Alvarez. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1971.

  12. Enzensburger, Hans Magnus. Poems. Trans. Michael Hamburger & Jerome Rothenberg, with the author. Introduction by Michael Hamburger. Penguin Modern European Poets. Ed. A. Alvarez. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1968.

  13. Grass, Günter. Poems. Trans. Michael Hamburger & Christopher Middleton. 1966 & 1968. Introduction by Michael Hamburger. Penguin Modern European Poets. 1969. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1971.

  14. Four Greek Poets: C. P. Cavafy / Odysseus Elytis / Nikos Gatsos / George Seferis. Selected Poems. Trans. Edmund Keeley & Philip Sherrard. Penguin Modern European Poets. 1966. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1970.

  15. Guillevic. Selected Poems. Trans. Teo Savory. Penguin Modern European Poets. Ed. A. Alvarez. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1974.

  16. Haavikko, Paavo, & Tomas Tranströmer. Selected Poems. Trans. Anselm Hollo, & Robin Fulton. Penguin Modern European Poets. Ed. A. Alvarez. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1974.

  17. Herbert, Zbigniew. Selected Poems. Trans. Czeslaw Milosz & Peter Dale Scott. Introduction by A. Alvarez. Penguin Modern European Poets. Ed. A. Alvarez. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1968.

  18. Holan, Vladimir. Selected Poems. Trans. Jarmila & Ian Milner. Introduction by Ian Milner. Penguin Modern European Poets. Ed. A. Alvarez. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1971.

  19. Holub, Miroslav. Selected Poems. Trans. Ian Milner & George Theiner. Introduction by A. Alvarez. Penguin Modern European Poets. Ed. A. Alvarez. 1967. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1969.

  20. Jiménez, Juan Ramón, & Antonio Machado. Selected Poems. Trans. J. B. Trend & J. L. Gili, Charles Tomlinson & Henry Gifford. Introductions by J. B. Trend & Henry Gifford. Penguin Modern European Poets. Ed. A. Alvarez. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1974.

  21. Kovner, Abba, & Nelly Sachs. Selected Poems. Trans. Shirley Kaufman & Nurit Orchan, Michael Hamburger, Ruth & Matthew Mead & Michael Roloff. Introduction by Stephen Spender. Penguin Modern European Poets. Ed. A. Alvarez. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1971.

  22. Mandelstam, Osip. Selected Poems. Trans. Clarence Brown & W. S. Merwin. Introduction by Clarence Brown. 1973. Penguin Modern European Poets. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1977.

  23. Montale, Eugenio. Selected Poems. Trans. George Kay. 1964. Penguin Modern European Poets. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1969.

  24. Neruda, Pablo. Selected Poems: A Bi-lingual Edition. Ed. Nathaniel Tarn. Trans. Anthony Kerrigan, W. S. Merwin, Alastair Reid, & Nathaniel Tarn. 1970. Introduction by Jean Franco. Penguin Poets. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1975.

  25. Three Painter Poets: Jean (Hans) Arp / Kurt Schwitters / Paul Klee. Selected Poems. Trans. Harriett Watts. Penguin Modern European Poets. Ed. A. Alvarez. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1974.

  26. Pasternak, Boris. Selected Poems. Trans. Jon Stallworthy & Peter France. 1983. The Penguin Poets. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1984.

  27. Pavese, Cesare. Selected Poems. Trans. Margaret Crosland. 1969. Penguin Modern European Poets. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1971.

  28. Paz, Octavio. Selected Poems: A Bilingual Edition. Ed. Charles Tomlinson. The Penguin Poets. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1979.

  29. Paz, Octavio, Jacques Roubaud, Edoardo Sanguineti, & Charles Tomlinson. Renga: A Chain of Poems. Foreword by Claude Roy. Introduction by Octavio Paz. 1971. Ed. & trans. Charles Tomlinson. 1972. Penguin Modern European Poets. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1979.

  30. Pessoa, Fernando. Selected Poems. Trans. Jonathan Griffin. Penguin Modern European Poets. Ed. A. Alvarez. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1974.

  31. Popa, Vasko. Selected Poems. Trans. Anne Pennington. Introduction by Ted Hughes. Penguin Modern European Poets. Ed. A. Alvarez. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1969.

  32. Prévert, Jacques. Selections from Paroles. Trans. Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Penguin Modern European Poets. 1958. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1965.

  33. Quasimodo, Salvatore. Selected Poems. Trans. Jack Bevan. 1965. Penguin Modern European Poets. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1970.

  34. Rilke, Rainer Maria. Selected Poems. Trans. J. B. Leishman. 1964. Penguin Modern European Poets. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1978.

  35. Ritsos, Yannis. Selected Poems. Trans. Nikos Stangos. Introduction by Peter Bien. Penguin Modern European Poets. Ed. A. Alvarez. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1974.

  36. Rozewicz, Tadeusz. Selected Poems. Trans. Adam Czerniawski. Penguin Modern European Poets. Ed. A. Alvarez. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1976.

  37. Tsvetayeva, Marina. Selected Poems. Trans. Elaine Feinstein. Foreword by Max Hayward. 1971. Penguin Modern European Poets. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1974.

  38. Ungaretti, Giuseppe. Selected Poems. Trans. Patrick Creagh. Penguin Modern European Poets. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1971.

  39. Weöres, Sándor, & Ferenc Juhász. Selected Poems. Trans. Edwin Morgan, & David Wevill. Penguin Modern European Poets. Ed. A. Alvarez. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1970.

  40. Yevtushenko, Yevgeny. Selected Poems. Trans. Robin Milner-Gulland & Peter Levi, S.J. 1962. Penguin Modern European Poets. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1964.






Three Czech Poets (1971)


[By Nationality]:
    Czech:

  1. Three Czech Poets: Vitezslau Nezval / Antonin Bartusek / Josef Hanzlik. Selected Poems. Trans. Ewald Osers & George Theiner. Introduction by Graham Martin. Penguin Modern European Poets. Ed. A. Alvarez. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1971.

  2. Holan, Vladimir. Selected Poems. Trans. Jarmila & Ian Milner. Introduction by Ian Milner. Penguin Modern European Poets. Ed. A. Alvarez. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1971.

  3. Holub, Miroslav. Selected Poems. Trans. Ian Milner & George Theiner. Introduction by A. Alvarez. Penguin Modern European Poets. Ed. A. Alvarez. 1967. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1969.

  4. French:

  5. Apollinaire, Guillaume. Selected Poems. Trans. Oliver Bernard. Penguin Modern European Poets. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1965.

  6. Cendrars, Blaise. Selected Poems. Trans. Peter Hoida. Introduction by Mary Ann Caws. Penguin Modern European Poets. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1979.

  7. Guillevic. Selected Poems. Trans. Teo Savory. Penguin Modern European Poets. Ed. A. Alvarez. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1974.

  8. Prévert, Jacques. Selections from Paroles. Trans. Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Penguin Modern European Poets. 1958. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1965.

  9. German:

  10. Three Painter Poets: Jean (Hans) Arp / Kurt Schwitters / Paul Klee. Selected Poems. Trans. Harriett Watts. Penguin Modern European Poets. Ed. A. Alvarez. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1974.

  11. Bobrowski, Johannes, & Horst Bienek. Selected Poems. Trans. Ruth & Matthew Mead. Penguin Modern European Poets. Ed. A. Alvarez. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1971.

  12. Celan, Paul. Selected Poems. Trans. Michael Hamburger & Christopher Middleton. 1962 & 1967. Introduction by Michael Hamburger. Penguin Modern European Poets. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1972.

  13. Enzensburger, Hans Magnus. Poems. Trans. Michael Hamburger & Jerome Rothenberg, with the author. Introduction by Michael Hamburger. Penguin Modern European Poets. Ed. A. Alvarez. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1968.

  14. Grass, Günter. Poems. Trans. Michael Hamburger & Christopher Middleton. 1966 & 1968. Introduction by Michael Hamburger. Penguin Modern European Poets. 1969. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1971.

  15. Rilke, Rainer Maria. Selected Poems. Trans. J. B. Leishman. 1964. Penguin Modern European Poets. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1978.

  16. Greek:

  17. Four Greek Poets: C. P. Cavafy / Odysseus Elytis / Nikos Gatsos / George Seferis. Selected Poems. Trans. Edmund Keeley & Philip Sherrard. Penguin Modern European Poets. 1966. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1970.

  18. Ritsos, Yannis. Selected Poems. Trans. Nikos Stangos. Introduction by Peter Bien. Penguin Modern European Poets. Ed. A. Alvarez. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1974.

  19. Hungarian:

  20. Weöres, Sándor, & Ferenc Juhász. Selected Poems. Trans. Edwin Morgan, & David Wevill. Penguin Modern European Poets. Ed. A. Alvarez. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1970.

  21. Israeli / Jewish:

  22. Amichai, Yehuda. Selected Poems. Trans. Assia Gutmann & Harold Schimmel, with Ted Hughes. Introduction by Michael Hamburger. Penguin Modern European Poets. Ed. A. Alvarez. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1971.

  23. Carmi, T. & Dan Pagis. Selected Poems. Trans. Stephen Mitchell. Introduction by M. L. Rosentha. Penguin Modern European Poets. Ed. A. Alvarez. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1976.

  24. Kovner, Abba, & Nelly Sachs. Selected Poems. Trans. Shirley Kaufman & Nurit Orchan, Michael Hamburger, Ruth & Matthew Mead & Michael Roloff. Introduction by Stephen Spender. Penguin Modern European Poets. Ed. A. Alvarez. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1971.

  25. Italian:

  26. Montale, Eugenio. Selected Poems. Trans. George Kay. 1964. Penguin Modern European Poets. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1969.

  27. Pavese, Cesare. Selected Poems. Trans. Margaret Crosland. 1969. Penguin Modern European Poets. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1971.

  28. Quasimodo, Salvatore. Selected Poems. Trans. Jack Bevan. 1965. Penguin Modern European Poets. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1970.

  29. Ungaretti, Giuseppe. Selected Poems. Trans. Patrick Creagh. Penguin Modern European Poets. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1971.

  30. Polish:

  31. Herbert, Zbigniew. Selected Poems. Trans. Czeslaw Milosz & Peter Dale Scott. Introduction by A. Alvarez. Penguin Modern European Poets. Ed. A. Alvarez. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1968.

  32. Rozewicz, Tadeusz. Selected Poems. Trans. Adam Czerniawski. Penguin Modern European Poets. Ed. A. Alvarez. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1976.

  33. Portuguese:

  34. Pessoa, Fernando. Selected Poems. Trans. Jonathan Griffin. Penguin Modern European Poets. Ed. A. Alvarez. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1974.

  35. Romanian:

  36. Popa, Vasko. Selected Poems. Trans. Anne Pennington. Introduction by Ted Hughes. Penguin Modern European Poets. Ed. A. Alvarez. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1969.

  37. Russsian:

  38. Akhmatova, Anna. Selected Poems. Trans. Richard McKane. Essay by Andrei Sinyavsky. 1969. Penguin Modern European Poets. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1969.

  39. Blok, Alexander. Selected Poems. Trans. Jon Stallworthy & Peter France. 1970. Penguin Modern European Poets. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1974.

  40. Brodsky, Joseph. Selected Poems. Trans. George L. Kline. Foreword by W. H. Auden. Penguin Modern European Poets. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1973.

  41. Mandelstam, Osip. Selected Poems. Trans. Clarence Brown & W. S. Merwin. Introduction by Clarence Brown. 1973. Penguin Modern European Poets. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1977.

  42. Pasternak, Boris. Selected Poems. Trans. Jon Stallworthy & Peter France. 1983. The Penguin Poets. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1984.

  43. Tsvetayeva, Marina. Selected Poems. Trans. Elaine Feinstein. Foreword by Max Hayward. 1971. Penguin Modern European Poets. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1974.

  44. Yevtushenko, Yevgeny. Selected Poems. Trans. Robin Milner-Gulland & Peter Levi, S.J. 1962. Penguin Modern European Poets. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1964.

  45. Scandinavian:

  46. Ekelöf, Gunnar. Selected Poems. Trans. W. H. Auden & Leif Sjöberg. Introduction by Göran Printz-Pahlson. Penguin Modern European Poets. Ed. A. Alvarez. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1971.

  47. Haavikko, Paavo, & Tomas Tranströmer. Selected Poems. Trans. Anselm Hollo, & Robin Fulton. Penguin Modern European Poets. Ed. A. Alvarez. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1974.

  48. Spanish:

  49. Jiménez, Juan Ramón, & Antonio Machado. Selected Poems. Trans. J. B. Trend & J. L. Gili, Charles Tomlinson & Henry Gifford. Introductions by J. B. Trend & Henry Gifford. Penguin Modern European Poets. Ed. A. Alvarez. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1974.

  50. Neruda, Pablo. Selected Poems: A Bi-lingual Edition. Ed. Nathaniel Tarn. Trans. Anthony Kerrigan, W. S. Merwin, Alastair Reid, & Nathaniel Tarn. 1970. Introduction by Jean Franco. Penguin Poets. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1975.

  51. Paz, Octavio. Selected Poems: A Bilingual Edition. Ed. Charles Tomlinson. The Penguin Poets. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1979.

  52. Paz, Octavio, Jacques Roubaud, Edoardo Sanguineti, & Charles Tomlinson. Renga: A Chain of Poems. Foreword by Claude Roy. Introduction by Octavio Paz. 1971. Ed. & trans. Charles Tomlinson. 1972. Penguin Modern European Poets. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1979.



Renga (1979)





Friday, October 05, 2018

Classic Ghost Story Writers (3): E. T. A. Hoffmann


In a world which is indeed our world, the one we know, a world without devils or vampires, there occurs an event which cannot be explained by the laws of this same familiar world.
So says Tzvetan Todorov, in his famous essay on The Fantastic. He continues:
The person who experiences the event must opt for one of two possible solutions: either he is the victim of an illusion of the senses, of a product of the imagination – and laws of the world then remain what they are; or else the event had indeed taken place, it is an integral part of reality – but then this reality is controlled by laws unknown to us.
This moment of doubt, during which the person experiencing the event is unsure whether it is truly supernatural or just an illusion of some kind, constitutes the "fantastic" (for Todorov, at least):
The fantastic occupies the duration of this uncertainty. Once we choose one answer or the other, we leave the fantastic for a neighbouring genre, the uncanny or the marvellous. The fantastic is that hesitation experienced by a person who knows only the laws of nature, confronting an apparently supernatural event.


Tzvetan Todorov: The Fantastic (1970)


So far, so good. I think we can easily understand the distinction he makes between the marvellous - a world where the supernatural does prevail (the world of Dracula, for instance) - and the uncanny, a situation where everyday events present themselves in a strange and deceptive light.

Further attempts to unpack just precisely what is meant by this term "the uncanny" take us rapidly into deeper waters, though. In terms of fiction, it has a tendency to bring us to the door of the German Romantic writer and musician, E. T. A. Hoffmann.



Freud's touchstone essay on 'The Uncanny' [unheimlich in German] first appeared in 1919. In outlining his sense of just what it actually consists of, he was forced to rely on the work of Hoffmann, whom he referred to as the "unrivalled master of the uncanny in literature."

German Psychiatrist Ernst Jensch had earlier suggested, in his own 1906 essay 'On the Psychology of the Uncanny,' that it should be defined as a product of:
... intellectual uncertainty; so that the uncanny would always, as it were, be something one does not know one’s way about in. The better oriented in his environment a person is, the less readily will he get the impression of something uncanny in regard to the objects and events in it.
Jensch goes on to specify Hoffmann's story "The Sandman" as a fruitful source for this anxiety, mainly because of the presence of the lifelike doll, Olympia, who is one of its principal characters:
In telling a story one of the most successful devices for easily creating uncanny effects is to leave the reader in uncertainty whether a particular figure in the story is a human being or an automaton and to do it in such a way that his attention is not focused directly upon his uncertainty, so that he may not be led to go into the matter and clear it up immediately.
Freud, however, saw Jensch's analysis as somewhat simplistic:
I cannot think – and I hope most readers of the story will agree with me – that the theme of the doll Olympia, who is to all appearances a living being, is by any means the only, or indeed the most important, element that must be held responsible for the quite unparalleled atmosphere of uncanniness evoked by the story.
Instead, Freud stresses "the idea of being robbed of one's eyes" as a "more striking instance of uncanniness" in the story. He goes on to link this to the uncanny effects that result from instances of "repetition of the same thing," linking this to his infamous repetition compulsion. He also comments on the central theme of blindness in 'The Sandman':
A study of dreams, phantasies and myths has taught us that anxiety about one's eyes, the fear of going blind, is often enough a substitute for the dread of being castrated. The self-blinding of the mythical criminal, Oedipus, was simply a mitigated form of the punishment of castration – the only punishment that was adequate for him by the lex talionis.


Masahiro Mori: The Uncanny Valley


Roboticist Masahiro Mori's 'uncanny valley' diagram, which attempts to analyses our persistent anxiety at the idea of the inanimate made animate, clearly owes a good deal to Jensch as well as Freud.

This influence can also be seen in Julia Kristeva's concept of abjection. Abjection can also be uncanny, when the observer recognizes something within the abject, possibly some component of what it was before it was 'cast out', whilst still simultaneously being repulsed by whatever it was that caused it to be cast out in the first place. Kristevan abjection lays special emphasis on the uncanny return of the past - particularly in the form of the 'uncanny stranger'.

'The Sandman' is certainly one of the strangest and most complex stories Hoffmann ever wrote. Whether it can quite bear the burden of all this weight of analysis is another question, but certainly repeated readings do little to dissipate the strange atmosphere it creates.

Perhaps a better source for Hoffmann's own views on the subject is his later story "The Uncanny Guest" (Der unheimliche Gast in German). The story begins with a long discussion of:
"... that incomprehensible, mysterious condition - deeply grounded in our human organism - which our minds strive in vain to fight against, and which we ought to take great care not to allow ourselves to yield to overmuch. What I mean is, the fear of the supernatural. We all know that the uncanny race of ghosts, the haunters, choose the night (and particularly in stormy weather) to arise from their darksome dwellings and set forth upon their mysterious wanderings. So that we are right in expecting some of those fearsome visitants just at a time like this."
The speaker, Dagobert, friend of Moritz (the main character in the story), turns out to be right to expect a 'fearsome visitant' as the culmination of the expectations engendered by the storm which is raging outside. He comes, in fact, at the climax of a story told by Moritz about just such a supernatural outsider, in the form of a mysterious 'Count' who (it eventually proves) was actually the subject of the anecdote. And, just as that story ends as a door crashes open, so does this story begin with another door - their own - crashing open.

One can see here that Hoffmann does not hesitate to employ the standard toolkit of the Gothic novelist: mysterious strangers, haunted ruins, buried treasure, and childhood loves which persist beyond the grave. However the element of psychological acuity lying behind these rather stagey properties may explain the comparative longevity of his stories. They always seem to imply more than they actually say: to promise more than their rather conventional denouements can ever provide.



I have a number of different translations of Hoffmann's tales, but the stories in them overlap. Some, such as 'The Sandman,' are in all of them. Others occur only in one or two. There are 35 stories in the four collections I own. When you eliminate repetitions (or should I say doppelgängers?), there are only 21 left. Here's a list of them all, in rough chronological order:
  1. Ritter Gluck
  2. Don Juan
  3. The Golden Flower Pot
  4. A New Year's Eve Adventure (aka The Lost Reflection]
  5. The Sandman
  6. The Vow
  7. The Jesuit Church in Glogau
  8. The Entail
  9. The Deserted House
  10. Councillor Krespel
  11. The Mines of Falun
  12. Nutcracker and the King of Mice
  13. A Ghost Story
  14. Automata
  15. Tobias Martin, Master Cooper, and His Men
  16. The Uncanny Guest
  17. Mademoiselle de Scudéri
  18. Gamblers' Luck
  19. Signor Formica
  20. The King's Betrothed
  21. The Doubles


And here they are listed, in bold, according to which of the various collections of his work they first appeared in:



    E. T. A. Hoffmann: Kreisler


  1. from Fantasiestücke in Callots Manier [Fantasy Pieces in the Manner of Callot] - 7 stories (1814)
    1. Ritter Gluck [Ritter Gluck]
    2. Kreisleriana
    3. Don Juan [Don Juan]
    4. Nachricht von den neuesten Schicksalen des Hundes Berganza
    5. Der Magnetiseur
    6. The Golden Flower Pot [Der goldne Topf]
    7. A New Year's Eve Adventure [Die Abenteuer der Silvesternacht]



  2. E. T. A. Hoffmann: The Sandman


  3. from Nachtstücke [Night-pieces] - 8 stories (1817)
    1. The Sandman [Der Sandmann]
    2. The Vow [Das Gelübde]
    3. Ignaz Denner
    4. The Jesuit Church in Glogau [Die Jesuiterkirche in G.]
    5. The Entail [Das Majorat]
    6. The Deserted House [Das öde Haus]
    7. Das Sanctus
    8. Das steinerne Herz



  4. E. T. A. Hoffmann: The Double


  5. from Die Serapionsbrüder [The Serapion Brotherhood] - 28 stories (1819)
    1. Der Einsiedler Serapion
    2. Councillor Krespel [Rat Krespel]
    3. Die Fermate
    4. Der Dichter und der Komponist
    5. Ein Fragment aus dem Leben dreier Freunde
    6. Der Artushof
    7. The Mines of Falun [Die Bergwerke zu Falun]
    8. Nutcracker and the King of Mice [Nußknacker und Mausekönig]
    9. Der Kampf der Sänger
    10. A Ghost Story [Eine Spukgeschichte]
    11. Automata [Die Automate]
    12. Doge und Dogaresse
    13. Alte und neue Kirchenmusik
    14. Tobias Martin, Master Cooper, and His Men [Meister Martin der Küfner und seine Gesellen]
    15. Das fremde Kind
    16. Nachricht aus dem Leben eines bekannten Mannes
    17. Die Brautwahl
    18. The Uncanny Guest [Der unheimliche Gast]
    19. Mademoiselle de Scudéri [Das Fräulein von Scuderi]
    20. Gamblers' Luck [Spielerglück]
    21. Der Baron von B.
    22. Signor Formica [Signor Formica]
    23. Zacharias Werner
    24. Erscheinungen
    25. Der Zusammenhang der Dinge
    26. Vampirismus
    27. Die ästhetische Teegesellschaft
    28. The King's Betrothed [Die Königsbraut]



  6. E. T. A. Hoffmann: Hand drawings


  7. from Letzte Erzählungen [Last Stories] - 13 stories (1825)
    1. Haimatochare
    2. Die Marquise de la Pivardiere
    3. Die Irrungen
    4. Die Geheimnisse
    5. Der Elementargeist
    6. Die Räuber
    7. The Doubles [Die Doppeltgänger] (1821)
    8. Datura fastuosa
    9. Meister Johannes Wacht
    10. Des Vetters Eckfenster
    11. Die Genesung
    12. Aus dem Nachlass:
      • Neueste Schicksale eines abenteuerlichen Mannes
      • Der Feind



E. T. A. Hoffmann: The Entail






Jacques Offenbach: The Tales of Hoffmann (1881)


So what are they like to read? Well, they're a fruitful source of opera libretti, for one thing. As well as The Tales of Hoffmann, above, Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker is also based on one of Hoffmann's stories.

Some of them ('Tobias Martin,' 'Mademoiselle de Scudéri') are largely historical in inspiration - based on considerable research on Hoffmann's part. The ones he's most famous for are psychological tales about divided selves, automata and various other idées fixes - as much of the author as any of his characters, one often feels.

Have they stood the test of time? Certainly one can see the seeds of many of the ideas and motifs we associate with such giants as Gogol, Dostoevsky and Poe in Hoffmann, though there's no sense in pretending that his work is on a par with theirs in literary merit.

At times, though, in such works as 'The Sandman' or 'Councillor Krespel,' there's a kind of visionary power in Hoffmann which gives one the sense of an author who never quite reached his full stature. He was only in his mid-forties when he died, and much of his time up till then had been devoted to music rather than literature. He was, in fact, the first German composer who could really have been said to have been a Romantic, before Weber and Beethoven, and a potent influence on both of them.

Finally, Hoffmann must be seen more as a seedbed of ideas than the source of their complete fruition. The idea of combining complex psychological insights with the machinery of the horror story is all his, however. So much is owed by so many to his intuitions that it's unlikely that his work in this genre will ever be entirely superseded.

Todorov prefers to discuss such works as Count Jan Potocki's Manuscript Found at Saragossa not so much because he can't find useful analogues for his ideas in Hoffmann, but rather because Hoffmann had been such a fruitful source of inspiration to Freud and others that Todorov may have felt that it was time to find some texts that were less familiar. Hoffmann is, in that sense, perhaps best seen as equivalent in influence to a German Poe.

Here, then, is my own Hoffmann collection: by no means complete, but perhaps a good place to start:





E. T. A. Hoffmann: Gesammelte Werke

Ernst Theodor Wilhelm [later 'Amadeus'] Hoffmann
(1776-1822)

  1. Hoffmann, E. T. A. Werke in zwei Bänden. Band 1: Romane. Ed. Carl Georg von Maassen & Georg Ellinger. Afterword by Walter Müller-Seidel. Notes by Wolfgang Kron. Jubliäumsbibliothek der deutschen Literatur. 2 vols. München: Winkler Verlag, n.d.

    • Die Elixiere des Teufels (1815)
    • Lebensansichten des Katers Murr (1820)

  2. Hoffmann, E. T. A. Werke in zwei Bänden. Band 2: Erzählungen und Märchen. Ed. Carl Georg von Maassen & Georg Ellinger. Afterword by Walter Müller-Seidel. Notes by Wolfgang Kron. Jubliäumsbibliothek der deutschen Literatur. 2 vols. München: Winkler Verlag, n.d.

    • Die Serapionsbrüder (1819)
        Erster Band:
      1. Der Einsiedler Serapion
      2. Rat Krespel
      3. Die Fermate
      4. Der Dichter und der Komponist
      5. Ein Fragment aus dem Leben dreier Freunde
      6. Der Artushof
      7. Die Bergwerke zu Falun
      8. Nußknacker und Mausekönig
      9. Zweiter Band:
      10. Der Kampf der Sänger
      11. Eine Spukgeschichte
      12. Die Automate
      13. Doge und Dogaresse
      14. Alte und neue Kirchenmusik
      15. Meister Martin der Küfner und seine Gesellen
      16. Das fremde Kind
      17. Dritter Band:
      18. Nachricht aus dem Leben eines bekannten Mannes
      19. Die Brautwahl
      20. Der unheimliche Gast
      21. Das Fräulein von Scuderi
      22. Spielerglück
      23. Der Baron von B.
      24. Vierter Band:
      25. Signor Formica
      26. Zacharias Werner
      27. Erscheinungen
      28. Der Zusammenhang der Dinge
      29. Vampirismus
      30. Die ästhetische Teegesellschaft
      31. Die Königsbraut



  3. Hugo Steiner-Prag, ed.: The Tales of Hoffmann (1943)


  4. Hoffmann, E. T. A. The Tales of Hoffmann: Stories by E. T. A. Hoffmann, Translated out of the German by Various Hands, Illustrated with Lithographs by Hugo Steiner-Prag Together with a Prologue from the Illustrator. Introductory Essay by Arthur Ransome. Trans. J. T. Bealby, E. N. Bennett, Alex Ewing, Maria Labocceta, Jacques Le Clercq, Barrows Mussey & F. E. Pierce. The Limited Editions Club, for the George Macy Companies, Inc. New York: The Heritage Press, 1943.

    1. The Sandman
    2. The Mines of Falun
    3. Councillor Krespel
    4. Don Juan
    5. The Mystery of the Deserted House
    6. The Vow
    7. Mademoiselle de Scudéry
    8. The Entail
    9. The Uncanny Guest
    10. Gamblers' Luck



  5. J. M. Cohen. trans.: Eight Tales of Hoffmann (1952)


  6. Hoffmann, E. T. A. Eight Tales of Hoffmann. Trans. J. M. Cohen. London: Pan Books, 1952.

    1. The Lost Reflection
    2. The Sandman
    3. The Jesuit Church in Glogau
    4. The Deserted House
    5. Councillor Krespel
    6. The Mines of Falun
    7. A Ghost Story
    8. Gamblers' Luck



  7. E. F. Bleiler, ed.: The Best Tales of Hoffmann (1967)


  8. Hoffmann, E. T. A. The Best Tales of Hoffmann. Ed. E. F. Bleiler. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1967.

    1. The Golden Flower Pot
    2. Automata
    3. A New Year's Eve Adventure
    4. Nutcracker and the King of Mice
    5. The Sand-Man
    6. Rath Krespel
    7. Tobias Martin, Master Cooper, and His Men
    8. The Mines of Falun
    9. Signor Formica
    10. The King's Betrothed



  9. E. T. A. Hoffmann: Tales (1972)


  10. Hoffmann, E. T. A. Tales. Ed. & Trans. Leonard J. Kent & Elizabeth C. Knight. Illustrated by Jacob Landau. 1969. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1972.

    1. Ritter Gluck
    2. The Golden Pot
    3. The Sandman
    4. Councillor Krespel
    5. The Mines of Falun
    6. Mademoiselle de Scudéri
    7. The Doubles



  11. E. T. A. Hoffmann: Tales of Hoffmann (1982)


  12. Hoffmann, E. T. A. Tales of Hoffmann. Trans. R. J. Hollingdale. Penguin Classics. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1982.

    1. Mademoiselle de Scudery
    2. The Sandman
    3. The Artushof
    4. Councillor Krespel
    5. The Entail
    6. Doge and Dogaressa
    7. The Mines of Falun
    8. The Choosing of the Bride



  13. E. T. A. Hoffmann: The Golden Pot and Other Tales (2009)


  14. Hoffmann, E. T. A. The Golden Pot and Other Tales: A New Translation. Trans. Ritchie Robertson. Oxford World's Classics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

    1. The Golden Pot
    2. The Sandman
    3. Princess Brambilla
    4. Master Flea
    5. My Cousin's Corner Window






E. T. A. Hoffmann: Kater Murr