Conductor Kreisler

Hoffmann‘s Alter Ego?


‘‘Where is he from? – Nobody knows! Who were his parents? – It‘s unknown! – Whose student was he? – From a good master, because of playing excellently and having mind and education, we can tolerate him, even let him take lessons in music. And he was really and truthful conductor…‘‘

(from: Kreisleriana Nro.1)


The fictive man Kreisler accompanys Hoffmann through his whole literary work: from Fantasypieces until the late novel Lebensansichten des Katers Murr (Views of Life from cat Murr).


There were often parallels produced between the author and the literary figure – the romantic narrator: ‘‘Hoffmann, the conductor Kreisler recommended earlier by me…‘‘

(16.10.1814 from a letter)


A contemporary recognises an ironic move in Hoffmann‘s face, which the artist emphasizes himself in a physiognomical self-portrait.


‘‘…This genius suffered from his own distortions and convulsions, which even cavorted in Hoffmann‘s face; from his unstoppably restless moving facial features could pattern to scorn and derision be inferred.‘‘

(F.W. Gubitz, Dichter und Publizist, 1868)


Kreisler`s madness lets in the end think of Hoffmann‘s activity with the ‘‘Romantic medicine‘‘ in Bamberg. He holds the picture from the insane dancer as draughtsman and as narrator.


‘‘Many claimed to have noticed traces of madness in him, and really he had been seen with two covers put on top of each other and two rest valleys, stuck like daggers in the red belt, jumping out of the gate singing merrily, even though his nearer friends did not notice anything special, since violent outbursts of some inner grief generated him, and were also otherwise his own.‘‘

(from: Kreisleriana Nro.1)


As a poetic ‘‘Alter Ego‘‘ Kreisler is an embodiment (?) from fantasy and obsession which Hoffmann himself only could conditional live: Kreisler as an opposite pole to the world of the bourgeois citizens and the culturally minded ‘‘Philistines‘‘ in Bamberg and elsewhere.