News of the latest fate of the dog Berganza

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News of the latest fate of the dog Berganza is a satirical art talk about prose, poetry and stage practice by ETA Hoffmann , the writing of which began on February 17, 1813 and which appeared in May 1814 in Volume 2 of "Fantasy Pieces in Callot 's Manner".

In the tradition of Diderot's philosophical conversation “ Rameau's Neffe ”, ETA Hoffmann finds the relaxed form of dialogue for the presentation of his sometimes theoretical views of art from Bamberg's time . Safranski speaks of a "human moral panorama alienated by the dog's gaze".

ETA Hoffmann's template: Cervantes' conversation between two dogs


ETA Hoffmann has continued the nightly " conversation between the two dogs " Berganza and Szipio from Cervantes' " Deceptive Marriage " . The Spanish black bull-biter Berganza escaped from the Valladolider Hospital to Germany for the resurrection and became a theater dog there.

In the art talk between the German first-person narrator and the Spanish dog, the plot is actually pretty secondary. Nevertheless, Stockinger distinguishes a plot sequence from three parts. First, there is the repeated question of the curious first-person narrator: where does the sensible dog come from? Second, it is about the dog's stay with his girlfriend, the tender bride Cäzilia, and her mother, the Madame. The latter is an educated lady. And the third part is less a plot, but more Bambergian dramaturgy .


Berganza is a very old poetic dog with witty eyes. More than two hundred years ago he was already listening to some church music in his native Spain - but also in Italy. Berganza's views make one sit up and take notice: “A single glance” from the “heavenly eye of a quiet girl at the stove is worth more than the whole of Göthe , latest edition.” The old animal rounded off his musical training with Kapellmeister Johannes Kreisler in the neighboring residence. Berganza doesn't let his former master come up against it. The dog quotes the conductor: "Didn't they think I was great because I played for you and talked to you all sorts of sensible things!" Kreisler was then taken to the insane asylum. However, it had sprung from it. Undaunted, the first-person narrator continues the apparently not entirely harmless conversation with the dog. Humans really want to know what drove the animal to Germany. But the "charming dog" proves to be a master of deviating from the topic. He much prefers to tell how he was "created" to be the body dog ​​of Cecilia. Berganza tells about the mother of Cäzilien: “My lady had her own manner of wanting to practice all arts herself. As I said, she even played, she even composed, she painted, she embroidered, she molded in plaster and clay, she wrote, she declaimed, and then the circle had to listen to her hideous cantatas and be amazed at her painted, embroidered, shaped caricatures. “The dog had had access to the salon and if it had been expelled from the“ mimic academy ”by the Madame, then the animal-loving Cäzilie had taken him to her room.

The Madame's financial circumstances are shattered. When his childishly pure Caecilia is married to the rejected Monsieur George because of the money, Berganza sneaks into the marital bedchamber on their wedding night. When George mistreated the tender bride with clumsy caresses during the consummation of the marriage, Berganza first snaps at the voluptuous calf and bites it more heartily. The "great dog" manages to escape. He goes to the stage. Berganza sums up his current existence: "I am now, like our theater heroes, quite tame, in a certain way conversational." This is how the conversation continues. Berganza raves about Cäzilien's delightful vocal potency. That was once. The first-person narrator wants to steer the dialogue towards the theater. Berganza can of course also contribute to the topic of musical theater. The Spanish dog says: “You Germans seem to me like that mathematician who, after hearing Gluck's Iphigenia in Tauris , gently patted his delighted neighbor on the armpit and asked with a smile: But what does this prove? “In that style, the dialogue continues for pages. Berganza rejoices at least twice in his divine gift - human speech. Suddenly the dialogue comes to an abrupt end. Berganza only barks like an ordinary dog: "Trau - Hau - Hau - Hau - Hau - Hau -"


Berganza thinks: “There is no higher purpose of art than to ignite that lust in man which frees his whole being from all earthly torment, from all the downward pressure of everyday life and from unclean waste and raises him so that he is his Head proudly and happily looking up at the divine, even coming into contact with it. "


  • Rochlitz didn't like this work so much. However, after it was published, the text was largely praised. Wetzel is astonished : Berganza speaks about art things in a manner "that would do an honor to a professor of aesthetics at the first university in Europe". But he relativizes that “almost personal grim” about conditions affecting German intellectual culture does not belong in a prose text. Woltmann stumbles across places of "rabble brutality". In the “Hermes or Critical Yearbook of Literature” one is appalled by the “disgusting and obnoxious” part of the wedding night for three with the dog in 1823. Later on, Alexis favors the “Berganza” together with the “ Golden Pot ”.
  • Poetry is in the foreground of the humorous-ironic dialogue.
  • Steinecke illuminates the remarkable autobiographical background. Stockinger touches on suspected autobiographical features. Then perhaps the very old Berganza could be thought of as ETA Hoffmann and Cäzilie as ETA Hoffmann's two decades younger Bamberg singing student Julia Mark. Kremer is completely different. He recognizes the author ETA Hoffmann in the first-person narrator.
  • Steinecke gives hints on what is hidden. With the well-known mimic artist Henriette Hendel-Schütz is meant. The professor of philosophy is said to be Georg Michael Klein from Bamberg and the old man named alongside is Stephan von Stengel . George, Caecilia's daring groom, is reminiscent of the merchant Johann Gerhard Graepel (1780–1826). In Zacharias Werner is played twice. When it comes to an actor, CF Kunz (publisher ETA Hoffmanns) refers to Karl Friedrich Leo (before 1780–1824). With the great poet Schiller is meant , with the “certain poet” Iffland , with the wonderful poet Tieck and with the “poet of the latest time” Fouqué .
  • Kaiser names works by Werner Brüggemann (1958), Ross Chambers (1971), Lutz Hermann Görgens (1985) and Siegbert Salomon Prawer (Göttingen 1977). According to Prawer, Berganza is a romantic poet . Steinecke also quotes a work by Bruno Müller (1984).

See also

1892 Oskar Panizza : "From the diary of a dog"
1922 Kafka : " Research of a Dog "
1984 Zsuzsanna Gahse : "Berganza".


First edition

  • News of the latest fate of the dog Berganza . P. 1–219 in: ETA Hoffmann: Fantasy pieces in Callot's manner. Sheets from the diary of a traveling enthusiast. With a preface by Jean Paul. Second volume. 360 pages. CF Kunz's new reading institute, Bamberg 1814

Used edition

  • ETA Hoffmann: News of the latest fate of the dog Berganza. P. 101–177 in: Hartmut Steinecke (Ed.): ETA Hoffmann: Fantasiestücke in Callot's manner. Works 1814. German classic publishing house in paperback. Vol. 14. Frankfurt am Main 2006, ISBN 978-3-618-68014-7 (corresponds to: Vol. 2/1 in: Hartmut Steinecke (Ed.): "ETA Hoffmann: Complete Works in Seven Volumes", Frankfurt am Main 1993)

Secondary literature

  • Rüdiger Safranski : ETA Hoffmann. The life of a skeptical fantasist. 2nd Edition. Fischer-Taschenbuch-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 2001 (1st edition 1984), ISBN 3-596-14301-2 .
  • Gerhard R. Kaiser: ETA Hoffmann. Metzler, Stuttgart 1988, ISBN 3-476-10243-2 . (Metzler Collection; 243; realities on literature)
  • Helmut de Boor , Richard Newald: History of German literature from the beginnings to the present. Volume 7: Gerhard Schulz : The German literature between the French Revolution and the Restoration. Part 2: The Age of Napoleonic Wars and Restoration. 1806-1830. Beck, Munich 1989, ISBN 3-406-09399-X .
  • Detlef Kremer: ETA Hoffmann for an introduction. Junius, Hamburg 1998, ISBN 3-88506-966-0 . (Introduction; 166)
  • Claudia Stockinger: News of the latest fate of the dog Berganza. Pp. 101-107 in: Detlef Kremer (Ed.): ETA Hoffmann. Life - work - effect. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-11-018382-5

Individual evidence

  1. Stockinger, p. 101, 4. Zvo
  2. Steinecke in the edition used, p. 553 and Stockinger, p. 101, 5. Zvo
  3. Stockinger, p. 102, 10. Zvo and Schulz, p. 433, 13. Zvu
  4. Safranski, p. 254, 3rd Zvu
  5. Stockinger, p. 102, 9. Zvu, p. 104, 15. Zvu and p. 104, 2. Zvu
  6. Stockinger, p. 105, 2. Zvo
  7. Edition used, p. 122, 21. Zvo
  8. Edition used, p. 135, 10. Zvo
  9. Edition used, p. 158, 19. Zvo
  10. Edition used, pp. 167, 34. Zvo
  11. Edition used, p. 177, 20. Zvo and also commentary, p. 720, entry 177.15.
  12. Edition used, p. 168, 11. Zvo
  13. Steinecke, p. 706, 15. Zvo
  14. Wetzel, quoted in Steinecke, p. 706, 8. Zvo and 14. Zvo
  15. Woltmann, quoted in Steinecke, p. 706, 19. Zvo
  16. Steinecke, p. 706, 19. Zvo
  17. Steinecke, p. 706, 21. Zvo
  18. Kaiser, p. 36 below
  19. Steinecke, pp. 707-709
  20. Stockinger, p. 101, 8. Zvo
  21. Kremer, p. 98, 10th Zvu
  22. Steinecke, p. 711 below to p. 720
  23. Steinecke, p. 713, entry 135,17
  24. Steinecke, p. 714, entry 135,28
  25. on small cf. also entry Baader: Lexicon of deceased Baierischer writers, 1825 online
  26. Steinecke, p. 716, entry 153,3 and Safranski, p. 247, 3. Zvo
  27. Steinecke, p. 717, entry 161.30 and p. 720, entry 175.31
  28. Steinecke, p. 717, entry 163,22
  29. Steinecke, p. 718, entry 165.28 and entry 169.23 and p. 719, entry 171.10 and entry 173.25
  30. ^ Kaiser, p. 43 middle
  31. eng. Siegbert Salomon Prawer
  32. ^ Kaiser, p. 37, 2nd Zvo
  33. Steinecke, p. 923 entry by Bruno Müller
  34. Steinecke in the edition used, p. 553

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