Knight Gluck

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Knight Gluck. A memory from 1809 is a story by ETA Hoffmann , which first appeared on February 15, 1809 in the Allgemeine Musikischen Zeitung , and was included in Volume 1 of Fantasiestücke in Callot's manner , published in Bamberg in 1814.

The composer Christoph Willibald Gluck , who died in 1787 , gave the first-person narrator at the beginning of the 19th century. a very private idea.


The epic first-person narrator once met a strange person in Berlin. While both listen to a trio playing a waltz in the Tiergarten, they slowly start talking. It turns out that the stranger is a talented composer and is full of passion. Both gentlemen appreciate and know the operatic works of Mozart and Gluck , but regret the performance practice of these works in Berlin. After the stranger disappears, contact between the two breaks off. A few months later, while the opera Armida is being performed, the gentlemen happen to meet again. Because both are deeply dissatisfied with the performance, the stranger decides to play the piece Armida correctly for the first-person narrator : The stranger leads him into his home and plays the piece on the piano for him. The pages of the music book, which the astonished narrator, as the virtuoso's sidekick, has to turn over, are empty. Then that gifted musician sings the final scene of the opera. The entire experience alienates the narrator, but he has to admit that during this “performance” Gluck was interpreted by the stranger as he should be interpreted. The highlight of the short story turns out to be the revelation of the identity of the mysterious stranger: The bizarre musician reveals himself to the narrator as Gluck personally: I am the Knight Gluck! .


Gluck had already died in 1787 and had been dead for a long time in 1809. Is the “Knight Gluck” now a fantastic story or does the author introduce us to a madman in the form of the strange stranger ? According to Schulz, ETA Hoffmann leaves this question open. Safranski digs deeper, goes u. a. on ETA Hoffmann's precarious situation in Bamberg , and it also emerges: Two answers are possible. However, Safranski confirms with quotes: The close juxtaposition of the concrete, the real on the one hand and the fantastic on the other was the declared intention of the author. In addition, according to Safranski, the author creates a quasi-fantastic narrative space with all possible means - e.g. B. reported at the beginning of the story of Berlin autumn 1809, where the publication took place in February of the same year.

The dimension of the fantastic and the “scattered identity”: According to Kremer, ETA Hoffmann created the text as an allegory of its own writing. So almost anything is possible. His knight Gluck is Christoph Willibald Gluck and he is not. What does that mean? In the unreal narrative space that E. T. A. Hoffmann spans, chronological considerations only play a subordinate role. Meteling finds a handy formula for time perturbation . Ritter Gluck, “sick of time”, suffers “from its non-simultaneity”.

Heckmann deals with topics such as "the artist in society at the beginning of the 19th century", the author as a musician and the psychiatric component of the text,

Web links

Wikisource: Ritter Gluck  - Sources and full texts


Secondary 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 .
  • Detlev Kremer: Romantic Metamorphoses. ETA Hoffmann's stories. Metzler, Stuttgart 1993, ISBN 3-476-00906-8
  • Herbert Heckmann : The problem of identity. Or: the luck to be someone else . In: ETA Hoffmann: Ritter Gluck . Verlag Johannes M. Mayer, Stuttgart, Berlin 1997, ISBN 3-932386-08-6 , p. 5-48 .
  • Detlef Kremer: ETA Hoffmann for an introduction. Pp. 41-48. Junius, Hamburg 1998, ISBN 3-88506-966-0 . (Introduction; 166)
  • 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 .
  • Gero von Wilpert : Lexicon of world literature. German authors A - Z. 4th completely revised edition. Kröner, Stuttgart 2004, ISBN 3-520-83704-8 , p. 284.
  • Arno Meteling: Knight Gluck. A memory from 1809. pp. 81–86 in Detlef Kremer (ed.): ETA Hoffmann. Life - work - effect. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-11-018382-5

Individual evidence

  1. Safranski p. 200
  2. Kraft / Wacker
  3. Schulz p. 426
  4. Safranski pp. 197-214
  5. Kremer anno 1993, p. 227, 5. Zvo to p. 228 middle
  6. ^ Meteling, p. 86, 14. Zvo
  7. Heckmann, p. 29, p. 43 below
  8. Heckmann, p. 35
  9. Heckmann, p. 20, p. 39, p. 45 below