from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Haimatochare is a short novella by ETA Hoffmann , which was written in the spring of 1819 and was published in the early summer of the same year in “Der Freimüthige or Unterhaltungsblatt für educated, unbiased readers” with Adolf Martin Schlesinger in Berlin. The text appeared in the author's work edition in 1839.

This bitter satire thematizes the priority dispute between two natural scientists. Haimatochare - translated roughly: "The joy of blood" - was the name of a species newly discovered in Hawaii , more precisely: a louse .


Fifteen letters invented by ETA Hoffmann tell the story of the duel death of the two ambitious British naturalists J. Menzies and A. Brougthon who were initially friends. The action takes place on the island of O-Wahu . Menzies actually wants to catch a very rare butterfly after sunset. The shy insect flutters into the forest. Menzies ends up in the undergrowth on the unsuccessful hunt. A "whispering and rustling like with tender words of love" speaks to him. The researcher finds “the cutest, most beautiful, loveliest island woman” “lying on the colorful carpet of shiny pigeon wings”. This lucky find communicated in the 4th letter, i.e. at the beginning of the text, leads the carefree reader to suspect that a beautiful native was caught by the hunter. The reader is left in such faith throughout the narrative during the escalating argument between the two gamecocks. Only at the end of the text, i.e. in the 13th letter, does it emerge that Brougthon had shot a pigeon. Menzies had discovered the object of contention, a louse, on their wings.

By order of the governor of New South Wales in Port Jackson , a ceremonial burial at sea in the presence of the Hawaiian royal couple is carried out for the tiny insect after the violent death of the two researchers. The grief of both sailors and natives is real. Queen Kahumanu , who had loved Menzies - albeit one-sidedly -, bored a large shark tooth into her buttocks out of sheer grief ... and the wound is still in great pain.


  • Hoffmann owes the inspiration and details of the story to Adelbert von Chamisso , who visited the Hawai'i during his circumnavigation of the world . Chamisso even made a written proposal to E. T. A. Hoffmann on February 28, 1819 to carry out the "story of the louse".
  • A number of useful tips can be found at Steinecke. In October 1818 Chamisso had returned from his voyage around the world. On February 28, 1819 E. T. A. Hoffmann wrote to Chamisso: "The name of the insect would be wonderful if it could be taken for the name of a girl, a South Sea Islander ...". E. T. A. Hoffmann profited from Chamisso's description of the customs and traditions on the Pacific island. The names Menzies and Brougthon were actually among the participants in expeditions who would have landed on Hawaii with researchers on board ( Cook 1778 and Vancouver 1792–1794). The text is the only prose work by Europeans about Hawai`i from the period 1778 to 1820.


Used edition

  • ETA Hoffmann: Haimatochare p. 666–680 in: Hartmut Steinecke (Ed.): ETA Hoffmann: Night pieces. Little Zaches . Princess Brambilla . Works 1816–1820. German classic publisher in paperback. Vol. 36. Frankfurt am Main 2009, ISBN 978-3-618-68036-9 (corresponds to: Vol. 3 in: Hartmut Steinecke (Ed.): "ETA Hoffmann: Complete Works in Seven Volumes", Frankfurt am Main 1985)

Secondary literature

  • Peter von Matt : The eyes of the machines. ETA Hoffmann's theory of imagination as a principle of his storytelling . Max Niemeyer Verlag, Tübingen 1971, ISBN 3-484-18018-8 .
  • Gerhard R. Kaiser: ETA Hoffmann. Metzler, Stuttgart 1988, ISBN 3-476-10243-2 . (Metzler Collection; 243; realities on literature)
  • Bettina Schäfer: Haimatochare. Pp. 225–230 in: Detlef Kremer (Ed.): ETA Hoffmann. Life - work - effect. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-11-018382-5
  • Dirk Sangmeister : The fairy land of the imagination. The South Seas in German literature between 1780 and 1820. In: Horst Dippel u. Helmut Scheuer (Ed.): Georg Forster Studies II . Berlin: Berlin Verlag Arno Spitz 1998, pp. 135–176.
  • Axel Dunker : The beautiful island woman. Colonialism in ETA Hoffmann's South Sea story “Haimatochare ”. In: Deutsche Viertelsjahresschrift 76 (2002), no. 3, pp. 386-402.

Individual evidence

  1. by Matt, p. 108, 2nd Zvu
  2. Steinecke, p. 1102 Mitte and Schäfer, p. 225 above
  3. see also Schäfer, p. 228, 21. Zvo
  4. Schäfer, p. 225, 17th Zvu
  5. Schäfer, p. 226, 22. Zvo
  6. Steinecke, pp. 1102–1109
  7. ETA Hoffmann to Chamisso, quoted in Steinecke, p. 1103, 7th Zvu
  8. Steinecke, p. 1105, 1. Zvo
  9. quoted in Kaiser, p. 104 middle: Anneliese W. Moore in: The Hawaian Journal of History 12 (1978), pp. 1-27

Web links