The Life and Opinions of the Tomcat Murr

The Life and Opinions of the Tomcat Murr

Paperback(Revised ed.)

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Tomcat Murr is a loveable, self-taught animal who has written his own autobiography. But a printer's error causes his story to be accidentally mixed and spliced with a book about the composer Johannes Kreisler. As the two versions break off and alternate at dramatic moments, two wildly different characters emerge from the confusion - Murr, the confident scholar, lover, carouser and brawler, and the moody, hypochondriac genius Kreisler. In his exuberant and bizarre novel, Hoffmann brilliantly evokes the fantastic, the ridiculous and the sublime within the humdrum bustle of daily life, making The Life and Opinions of the Tomcat Murr (1820-22) one of the funniest and strangest novels of the nineteenth century.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780140446319
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/01/1999
Series: Penguin Classics Series
Edition description: Revised ed.
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 446,403
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

E T A Hoffmann (1776 - 1822) was born in Konigsberg and became one of the best known and influential authors of his time. He exploited the grotesque and the bizarre in a manner unmatched by any other Romantic writer. Jeremy Adler is Professor of German at King's College London. Anthea Bell has received many awards for her translations including the Mildred L. Batchelder Award in 1979, 1990 and 1995.

Read an Excerpt

Prince Hector insisted on surprising his beloved bride to be, they then went on to Princess Hedwiga's room. They found Julia with her.

Prince Hector flew to the Princess's side with the haste of the most ardent lover, pressed her hand tenderly to his lips a hundred times, swore that he had lived only in his thoughts of her, that an unfortunate misunderstanding had caused him the torments of Hell, that he could no longer endure separation from her whom he adored, and that now all the bliss of Heaven had opened up before him.

Hedwiga received the Prince with an easy cheerfulness unlike her usual manner. She replied to his tender nothings as best a bride-to-be may, without giving too much of herself away in advance; indeed, she did not think it beneath her to tease him a little about his hiding place, assuring him that she could think of no prettier or more charming transformation than to see a milliner's block turn into a prince's head - for, she said, she had taken the head she saw in the gable window of the pavilion for just such a block. This gave rise to all manner of amiable chaffing of the happy pair, which seemed to please even Prince Irenaeus. He felt quite sure now that Madame Benzon had been in grave error about Kreisler, for in his opinion Princess Hedwiga's love for this handsomest of men was clear to see. The Princess seemed to be in rare, full bloom both of mind and body, as befits a happy bride.

With Julia, it was quite the opposite. As soon as she caught sight of the Prince she quivered in the grip of inner dread. Pale as death, she stood there with her eyes lowered to the ground, unable to make any movement, scarcely capable of standing upright.

After some time Prince Hector turned to Julia, with the words: 'Fraulein Benzon, if I am not mistaken?'

'A friend of the Princess's from earliest childhood - they're like a pair of sisters!'

As Prince Irenaeus spoke these words, Prince Hector took Julia's hand and whispered to her very softly, 'It is you alone I mean!'

Julia swayed; tears of the bitterest fear trickled from beneath her lashes. She would have fallen to the ground had Princess Hedwiga not swiftly thrust a chair towards her.

'Julia,' said the Princess quietly, as she leaned over her poor friend, 'Julia, pull yourself together! Don't you guess what a hard battle I am fighting?'


Excerpted from "The Life and Opinions of the Tomcat Murr"
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Copyright © 1999 E. T. A. Hoffmann.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
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