The Golden Pot


Translated from by






Want a discount? Become a member by purchasing Memberships!

Book Description

The ringing of crystal bells heralds the arrival of a beguiling snake, and a student’s descent into lunacy; a young man abandons his betrothed for a woman who plays the piano skillfully but seems worryingly wooden; a counselor’s daughter must choose between singing and her life. Music and madness are tightly wound strands flowing through E.T.A. Hoffmann’s phantasmagoric stories. Whether a surrealist exploration of the anxieties surrounding automation, or a mystery concerning a goldsmith, missing jewels, and a spate of murders, each tale in this collection reveals the complexities of human desire and fear. Peter Wortsman’s masterful new translation allows Hoffmann’s distinct and influential style to shine, while breathing new life into stories that seem both familiar and uncanny.

Praise for The Golden Pot

Hoffmann’s influence ranges far beyond Freud: Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Baudelaire, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Nikolai Gogol, Oscar Wilde and Franz Kafka all seem impossible without his precedent... I could list plausible comparisons all day and night (see above), but The Golden Pot is simply unlike anything else I have ever read.
Justin Taylor, The Washington Post

The translation is pitch perfect, conveying the fluid passage between quotidian reality and its poetic hinterland.
Joanna Neilly, Times Literary Supplement

The Hoffmann stories that stand out today are those in which primal fear intersects with—indeed, is stoked by—a society undergoing changes that baffle its inhabitants... Given his work's deft amalgamation of fear and awe, it's no wonder that the stories in this collection speak to the anxieties of the 21st century.
Kevin Canfield, New Myths

Praise for E.T.A. Hoffman

One can hardly breathe when one reads Hoffmann.
Robert Schumann

Hoffmann is the unrivalled master of the uncanny in literature.
Sigmund Freud

A man of rare and singular genius…we attribute the unrivalled effect which [The Devil’s Elixir], as a whole, produces on the imagination, to nothing so much as the admirable art with which the author has married dreams to realities, the air of truth which his wildest fantasies draw from the neighbourhood of things which we all feel to be simply and intensely human and true.
Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine

I love this translation so much. I've bought this edition of Hoffman's tales just to have the pleasure of holding it in my hands as I read. That I loved it this much is quite a tribute to Peter Wortsman's meticulous translation... so yes, read this, read it with delight, and give thanks that this new version is here of these amazing vivid stories that still make me laugh, and sometimes shiver.
Lark Benobi

Every fan of the fantasy genre needs this book in their library. Never mind that the stories are two hundred years old, in Peter Wortsman's translation they come to life as if conjured yesterday. Hoffmann influenced Poe, Baudelaire, Freud, and many others who probed "the uncanny," but no one surpassed him in the ability to wring magic out of mystery. This edition from Archipelago Books is a beautiful volume, an example of excellent book-making, a book that is, in itself, a bit uncanny, and difficult to put down. Highly recommended.
James Wright

Hoffmann’s stories are delirious enchantments populated by living dolls and seven-headed mice. Their narrators are at once ironic and ingenuous . . . His nightmares are possessed of a humor and an eeriness all their own . . . “The Golden Pot” and “The Sandman,” are two of the most singular classics of German Romanticism, works that burrow deep inside anyone who reads them. All the light in the world cannot dispel the strange shadows they cast.
Becca Rothfeld, Bookforum