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Discuss "Automata"­ by ETA Hoffmann

If you want to take a break from reading a "big book" for a September meetup, join us in discussing this short story. In his tales, Hoffmann combines romanticism, Gothic literature and mystery. The best part: you do not even have to buy the book. Find the full text of the story at Or, if you prefer a paper edition, see

PS. Many people are not aware that the "Nutcracker" ballet is based on a Hoffmann's tale.

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  • bonnie n.

    Five stars for this meet-up. Alexander Draganov did a fantastic job leading this wide-ranging discussion of ETA Hoffmann's "Automata" and for his helpful contextual explanations. The discussion included "music of the spheres," which Kepler believed in, and the historical complexity of Poland's being divided up between Russia and Germany a number of times. A hint - read Hoffmann's novel "Satan's Elixir." It may be the subject of a future meet up discussion. I am grateful to have had this opportunity to read the novella and to learn about an author who was enormously influential for later European writers.

    July 24, 2013

    • Sasha D.

      Yee-e-e! Thanks

      July 24, 2013

    • bonnie n.

      Sorry for the typos in my comments. above By the way - when can I comment about how much I'm enjoying the Magic Mountain? While riding the metro home today, I could not stop laughing out loud as I read Fraulein Engelhart's sly chatter with Hans Castorp regarding Frau Chauchat, who always bangs the glass door to the dining room. (p 133 of the hardcover book translated by John Woods, which I recommend.) This discussion group is a wonderful incentive for us to read such treasures...

      July 24, 2013

  • Erica L.

    Sorry I didn't show up without letting you know. Also sorry to miss it, was very curious about what would be said about this story ....

    July 24, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I just bought: 'Automata' by E. T. A. Hoffmann, Kindle edition: for only 99 cents!

    July 22, 2013

  • Fred S.

    I'm looking forward to this discussion. It's not the book itself that is stimulating (it is!), but the myriad thoughtlines that spring forth. Going to be a wild discussion. I'm halfway through and thank our moderator for this choice.

    (Reason No. 27 why this is a good book group: the breadth of books, authors, and topics. Excellent choices!)

    July 9, 2013

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