The Life and Opinions of the Tomcat Murr

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E.T.A. Hoffmann
Penguin Books Limited, 1999 - Fiction - 349 pages
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Tomcat Murr is a loveable, self-taught animal who has written his own autobiography. But a printer’s error causes his story to be accidentally mixed and spliced with a book about the composer Johannes Kreisler. As the two versions break off and alternate at dramatic moments, two wildly different characters emerge from the confusion - Murr, the confident scholar, lover, carouser and brawler, and the moody, hypochondriac genius Kreisler. In his exuberant and bizarre novel, Hoffmann brilliantly evokes the fantastic, the ridiculous and the sublime within the humdrum bustle of daily life, making The Life and Opinions of the Tomcat Murr (1820-22) one of the funniest and strangest novels of the nineteenth century.

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About the author (1999)

Anthea Bell translated E. T. A. Hoffman's The Life and Opinions of the Tomcat Murr for Penguin Classics and has received a number of translation awards.


Anthea Bell translated E. T. A. Hoffman's The Life and Opinions of the Tomcat Murr for Penguin Classics and has received a number of translation awards.


Jeremy Adler is Professor of German at King's College London. He studied German at Queen Mary College (University of London) and was a Lecturer in German at Westfield College before being awarded a Personal Chair. He is a sometime fellow of the Institute of Advanced Study, Berlin, and a sometime scholar of the Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel. He has written a book on Goethe's novel The Elective Affinities (1987) and (with Ulrich Ernst) has produced a catalogue of visual poetry, Text als Figur (third edition, 1990). He has published several volumes of poetry, including The Wedding and other Marriages (1980), The Electric Alphabet (1986; second edition, 1996, internet edition, 1997) and At the Edge of the World (1995). Jeremy Adler is married and lives in London.

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