I miti diabolici di E.T.A. Hoffmann. Uno sguardo sul 'cattivo demiurgo' dei Notturni


The Night Pieces (Nachtstücke) by E.T.A. Hoffmann have been read under many, different interpretative lenses. The most relevant is probably the freudian-psychoanalytic interpretation, but other readers, such as Luca Crescenzi, insist on the historical and political undertext of the tales: according to Crescenzi, the Pieces deal with the crisis of the relationship between man and technology in modern age, a man haunted by demiurgical ambitions. Neither of the two interpretations, however, reaches the deep meanings at the roots of the literary text, which are indeed of mythological nature: Crescenzi is right about the crisis of the demiurge, represented by the antagonist characters of the Pieces, but his anti-technicist critic doesn't show the myths that seem to be Hoffmann's obsession in the writing process of the Nachtstücke. The following article therefore means to investigate the myth of the 'bad demiurge' – the devil as a smith, a well known mytheme that often occurs in fairytales and legends – upon which the Night Pieces are apparently based on. More importantly, the devil depicted by Hoffmann doesn't correspond to the 'titanist' (as in Titanism, the aesthetics of the romantic hero) characterization of Satan, but is 'titanic' (as in Titan, like Prometheus, trickster of the Olympian Gods)and therefore faithful to the original mythology.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22804250v13i1p375

Keywords: Hoffmann; Nachtstücke; demiurge; devil; smith / Hoffmann; Notturni; demiurgo; diavolo; fabbro

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