Cousin's corner window

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ETA Hoffmann

The cousin's corner window is a story by ETA Hoffmann , which appeared in Symanski's sheet “The spectator. Time sheet for instruction and cheer up ”appeared.


In Berlin the first-person narrator visits his cousin , a sick writer. The cousin, who "has completely lost the use of his feet due to a persistent illness", can no longer leave his apartment, but from his corner window he overlooks the "Theaterplatz" and observes the market activity under the window together with the visitor. In a dialogue between the cousins, observations and stories are exchanged about some of the market people and visitors to the market day. On the occasion u. a. the relationship of the patient to literature to language. The patient wants to introduce his young visitor to the “art of looking”, one of the basics of writing.

Berlin: Gendarmenmarkt around 1815

Charlottenstrasse and Unter den Linden are not far from the sick writer's domicile at the corner window. The terminally ill ETA Hoffmann is writing a piece of autobiography. The author lived in Berlin on the Gendarmenmarkt opposite the Schauspielhaus . “Des Cousin's Corner Window” was completed on April 14, 1822. Only two months later, on June 25th, ETA Hoffmann died in Berlin.

Interpretative approaches

  • ETA Hoffmann was inspired by a work by the writer Karl Friedrich Kretschmann . In “Scarron at the Window”, the French author Paul Scarron sits paralyzed - just like Hoffmann - at the window and portrays passers-by with humor.
  • The visitor goes "to the school of life" with the sick cousin at the corner window.
  • ETA Hoffmann was completely paralyzed when he dictated the story. However, the text does not represent a “self-reflection”.
  • In her book on novella theory, Hannelore Schlaffer takes the text as an example for the so-called physiological novella. What is meant is the gift of the author to successfully pick out a descriptive individual from the crowd.

Web link

Literature (selection)

Issues (chronological)

  • ETA Hoffmann: Poetic Works in Six Volumes. Volume 6. Aufbau-Verlag, Berlin 1958, pp. 742-774.
  • ETA Hoffmann: Collected works in individual volumes. Volume 8. Aufbau-Verlag, Berlin, Weimar 1983.
  • ETA Hoffmann: All works in six volumes. Volume 6. Deutscher Klassiker Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2004.

Secondary literature (chronological)

  • Peter von Matt : The eyes of the machines. ETA Hoffmann's theory of imagination as a principle of his storytelling. Niemeyer, Tübingen 1971.
  • Günter Oesterle: ETA Hoffmann: "The cousin's corner window". To historicize aesthetic perception or the calculated romantic recourse to visual patterns of the Enlightenment. In: German lessons. 39: 84-110 (1987).
  • Ulrich Stadler: The view as an insight. To ETA Hoffmann's later story "Des Vetters Eckfenster". In: Journal for German Philology . 105: 498-515 (1986).
  • Helmut Lethen : Corner windows of modernism. Perception experiments with Musil and ETA Hoffmann. In: Josef Strutz (Ed.): Robert Musils "Kakanien". Subject and story. Fink, Munich 1987, pp. 195-229.
  • Hermann Korte: The economic automat. ETA Hoffmann's late story "Des Vetters Eckfenster". In: Text + Criticism . Special volume ETA Hoffmann, 1992, pp. 125-137.
  • Thomas Eicher: The whole panorama of the grandiose square at one glance. Panoramic structures in "Des Vetters Eckfenster" by ETA Hoffmann. In: Poetica 25 (1993), pp. 360–377.
  • Rolf Selbmann: Diet with Horace. On the poetics of ETA Hoffmann's story "Des Vetters Eckfenster". In: ETA Hoffmann yearbook. 2, pp. 69-77 (1994).
  • Andreas Schirmer: ETA Hoffmann: The cousin's corner window. In: Bernd Leistner (Ed.): German narrative prose from the early restoration period. Studies on selected texts. Niemeyer, Tübingen 1995, pp. 66-86.
  • Lutz Hagestedt: The genius problem at ETA Hoffmann illustrated using the example. An interpretation of his late story "Des Vetters Eckfenster" Brehm, Munich 1991. Belleville, Munich, revised and improved edition 1999.
  • Hannelore Schlaffer : Poetics of the Novella. Metzler, Stuttgart, Weimar 1993. ISBN 3-476-00957-2
  • Detlef Kremer: ETA Hoffmann for an introduction. Junius, Hamburg 1998, pp. 164-176. ISBN 3-88506-966-0
  • Jürgen Gunia, Detlef Kremer: window theater. Teichoscopy, theatricality and ecphrasis in the drama around 1800 and in ETA Hoffmann's "Des Vetters Eckfenster". In: ETA Hoffmann yearbook. 9 (2001), pp. 70-80.
  • Rüdiger Safranski : ETA Hoffmann. The life of a skeptical fantasist. Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2001. ISBN 3-596-14301-2
  • David Darby: The Unfettered Eye G. limping Modernity from ETA Hoffmann's Corner Window. In: German quarterly for literary studies and intellectual history . 77 (2003), pp. 274-294.
  • Gerhard Neumann : View and Dialogue. The scene of perception in ETA Hoffmann's novella "Des Vetters Eckfenster". In: Ethel Matala de Mazza , Clemens Pornschlegel (Hrsg.): Staged world. Theatricality as an argument in literary texts. Rombach, Freiburg im Breisgau 2003, pp. 53-77.
  • Günter Oesterle: The cousin's corner window. A dialogical alternation of observing, guessing and telling. In: Günter Soße (ed.): ETA Hoffmann, novels and stories. Reclam, Stuttgart 2004, pp. 256-270.
  • Stephan Papst: A "fairytale kangaroo". Physiognomics and poetology in ETA Hoffmann's "Des Vetters Eckfenster". In: Athenrum. Yearbook of the Friedrich Schlegel Society. 14 (2004), pp. 109-128.
  • Robert McFarland: An eye that (un) really looks (it). "Des cousin's corner window" and ETA Hoffmann's views of Berlin. In: ETA Hoffmann yearbook. 13 (2005), pp. 98-116.
  • Gerhard Neumann: Outlook. ETA Hoffmann's last story "Des Vetters Eckfenster". In: ders. (Ed.): 'Hoffmanneske Geschichte.' To a literary study as a cultural study. Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 2005, pp. 223–242.
  • Detlef Kremer: The cousin's corner window (1822). In: ders. (Ed.): ETA Hoffmann. Life - work - effect. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 2009, pp. 394-406. ISBN 978-3-11-018382-5
  • Carlos Spoerhase : The late romantic reading scene. The lending library book as 'technology' of anonymization in ETA Hoffmann's "Des Vetters Eckfenster". In: German quarterly for literary studies and intellectual history. 83 (2009), pp. 577-596.
  • Vance Byrd: Regarding the Cousin: Surveillance and Narration in Hoffmann's Des Vetters Eckfenster . In: German Studies Review 35.2 (2012): 249–264.
  • Nicola Kaminski, Volker Mergenthaler: Spectators in the corner window 1821/22 or self-reflection of the journal literature in the journal (text). With a facsimile of the "viewer" from April / May 1822. Wehrhahn, Hannover 2015. ISBN 978-3-86525-462-7

Individual evidence

  1. Kaminski, Mergenthaler 2015, facsimile part pp. 1 * –104 *.
  2. Hoffmann, Ed. 1958, p. 746.
  3. Safranski 1991, p. 374.
  4. Hoffmann, Ed. 1958, p. 887.
  5. Kaminski, Mergenthaler 2015, pp. 75–88.
  6. Safranski 1991, p. 487.
  7. Kremer 2009, p. 406
  8. Schlaffer 1993, p. 258.