E. T. A. Hoffmann Quotes | Quotes by E. T. A. Hoffmann

1The human spirit is itself the most wonderful fairy tale that can possibly be. What a magnificent world lies enclosed within our bosoms! No solar orbit hems it in, the inexhaustible wealth of the total visible creation is outweighed by its riches!

2Think of the wonderful circles in which our whole being moves and from which we cannot escape no matter how we try. The circler circles in these circles.

3Every year lays more earth upon us, which weighs us down from aerial regions, till we go under the earth at last.

4Let me ask you outright, gentle reader, if there have not been hours, indeed whole days and weeks of your life, during which all your usual activities were painfully repugnant, and everything you believed in and valued seemed foolish and worthless?

5Why should not a writer be permitted to make use of the levers of fear, terror and horror because some feeble soul here and there finds it more than it can bear? Shall there be no strong meat at table because there happen to be some guests there whose stomachs are weak, or who have spoiled their own digestions?

6Once you are dancing with the devil, the prettiest capers won't help you.

7Human beings ought not to draw in their antennae at every ungentle touch, like supersensitive insects.

8Boys should not play with weapons more dangerous than they understand.

9There is nothing more marvelous or madder than real life.

10Is it not in the most absolute simplicity that real genius plies its pinions the most wonderfully?

E. T. A. Hoffmann Quotes

11Everything here below beneath the sun is subject to continual change; and perhaps there is nothing which can be called more inconstant than opinion, which turns round in an everlasting circle like the wheel of fortune. He who reaps praise today is overwhelmed with biting censure tomorrow; today we trample under foot the man who tomorrow will be raised far above us.

12It is nearly always the most improbable things that really come to pass.

13Mozart's music is the mysterious language of a distant spiritual kingdom, whose marvelous accents echo in our inner being and arouse a higher, intensive life.

14As the priest is characterized by his cassock, so the smoker by his pipe. The way in which he holds it, raises it to his lips, and knocks out the ashes, reveals his personality, habits, passions, and even his thoughts.

15There are men from whom nature or some peculiar destiny has removed the cover beneath which we hide our own madness. They are likethin-skinned insects whose visible play of muscles seem to make them deformed, though in fact, everything soon turns to its normal shape again.

16It is only in the morning that one should marry, read unfavourable reviews, make one's will, beat one's servants, and so forth.

17It is useless to contend with the irresistible power of Time, which goes on continually creating by a process of constant destruction.

18The foot of the heavenly ladder, which we have got to mount in order to reach the higher regions, has to be fixed firmly in every-day life, so that everybody may be able to climb up it along with us. When people then find that they have got climbed up higher and higher into a marvelous, magical world, they will feel that that realm, too, belongs to their ordinary, every-day life, and is, merely, the wonderful and most glorious part thereof.

19Not a single man on earth knows from his own experience the how and where of his birth, only from tradition, which is often very uncertain.

20It is true that writers often owe their most inspired thoughts, their most extraordinary phrases, to their generous typesetters, who assist their flights of fancy with so-called typographical errors.

E. T. A. Hoffmann Quotes

21I may be permitted, kind reader, to doubt whether you have ever been enclosed in a glass bottle, unless some vivid dream has teased you with such magical mishaps.

22How prone poor Humanity is to dam up the minutest remnants of its freedom, and build an artificial roof to prevent it looking up to the clear blue sky.