This selection of short fiction embodying some dominant concerns of German Romanticism takes the reader into a world of strange potency and inner logic.
Ludwig Tieck gives a fairy-tale form to horror stories that delve darkly into the unconscious. Eckbert the Fair is a compelling study in paranoia and retribution; The Runenberg a story of the mind-destroying power of Nature. In Kleist’s The Betrothal on Santo Domingo, conflict and persecution during the slave revolt of 1803 on Haiti symbolise a world-view in which evil seems destined to prevail over good. The Earthquake in Chile, despite its brevity perhaps the most epic of all Kleist’s stories, presents an extraordinary pile-up of cataclysmic events, at the high-point of which the horror is turned on its head.
E. T. A. Hoffmann’s The Jesuit Chapel in G. and Don Giovanni, the latter containing a celebrated and influential interpretation of Mozart’s opera, show the conflict between art and life and the Romantic vision of the artistic vocation.