What is Real? The Uncanny in E.T.A. Hoffmann's Der Sandmann


CSU 202

Start Date

20-4-2015 3:15 PM

End Date

20-4-2015 4:15 PM

Student's Major

World Languages and Cultures

Student's College

Arts and Humanities

Mentor's Name

Nadja Krämer

Mentor's Email Address


Mentor's Department

World Languages and Cultures

Mentor's College

Arts and Humanities


This project focuses on the short story "Der Sandmann" by E.T.A. Hoffmann. Originally published in 1817, "Der Sandmann" tells the story of Nathaniel and his struggle to distinguish what is real and what is fantasy, his descent into madness and his ultimate, yet ambiguous, vindication in the end. E.T.A. Hofmann was a prolific writer of the German Romantic period (1795-1848), authoring works such as "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King", the literary original of the well-known ballet by Tchaikovsky. Poe, Dickens, Kafka, Dostoevsky and Alfred Hitchcock all name Hoffmann as a major influence – he is widely regarded as the father of modern fantasy, detective and science fiction literature. Hoffmann wrote extensively about the weird, the fantastical: the uncanny. But what does it mean to be uncanny? This project examines this question and explores the ideas presented in Hoffmann’s two-century-old text, whose ideas play out prominently in contemporary American popular culture.

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Apr 20th, 3:15 PM Apr 20th, 4:15 PM

What is Real? The Uncanny in E.T.A. Hoffmann's Der Sandmann

CSU 202

Recommended Citation

Geistfeld, Danielle. "What is Real? The Uncanny in E.T.A. Hoffmann's Der Sandmann." Undergraduate Research Symposium, Mankato, MN, April 20, 2015.