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(p.53) Chapter Two Copying
Dreaming in Books
Andrew Piper
University of Chicago Press

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter focuses on the imaginative possibility that something stayed the same and that this sameness was seen as juridically and aesthetically legitimate to the collected edition's rise in cultural prominence during the early nineteenth century. The legitimacy of sameness was dependent on an acceptance of the simultaneous presence and absence of a third party mediating these repetitive encounters between readers and authors. The case of Wieland's edition marked a beginning point in the emerging legitimacy of a certain kind of reprinting and textual repetition. In the early nineteenth century, following the precedent of the Göschen publishing house, publishers were increasingly occupied with collecting, packaging, and selling the collected works of their respective language's most popular authors. “The Uncanny Guest” thus enacted both the consolidation and stability that collected editions were intended to produce pieces of evidence that pointed to the necessary failure of such consolidation and control.

Keywords:   imaginative, legitimate, sameness, The Uncanny Guest, consolidation, stability

The physical sensation closest to this feeling of repetition, which sometimes lasts for several minutes and can be quite disconcerting, is that of the peculiar numbness brought on by a heavy loss of blood, often resulting in a temporary inability to think, to speak or to move one's limbs, as though, without being aware of it, one had suffered a stroke. Perhaps there is in this as yet unexplained phenomenon of apparent duplication some kind of anticipation of the end, a venture into the void, a sort of disengagement, which, like a gramophone repeatedly playing the same sequence of notes, has less to do with damage to the machine itself than with an irreparable defect of its program.

—W. G. Sebald, The Rings of Saturn

Making Classics

In the late summer of 1794, the German publisher Georg Joachim Göschen invited Christoph Martin Wieland, widely regarded by contemporaries as the German language's most renowned living writer, to a book-presentation ceremony in Leipzig. Early one evening as the sun was setting, Wieland was paddled out to an island that lay in the middle of a lake within one of Leipzig's most elegant gardens. Göschen had erected a temporary classical Greek temple in the center of the island, and inside the temple was a bust of Wieland. Two young boys wearing Greek costume greeted Wieland, and behind them they pulled a chariot in which lay the first volume of Wieland's collected works. As the gilded edition was presented to Wieland, Göschen's sister-in-law navigated the illuminated channel to the island in a gondola, stepped out of her boat, and set a laurel wreath on Wieland's head. According to eyewitnesses, Wieland, who was known for being quite shy, was (p.54) deeply touched by the ceremony and began to weep, crown on head and book in hand.1

Göschen's performance must surely count as one of the most elaborate book-presentation ceremonies that we have on record, one that would make any contemporary author as much embarrassed as deeply envious. While the kind of rigorous dramatization behind Göschen's gesture might strike us as slightly comic today, the ceremony disclosed the vibrant cultural energy that surrounded the book as an object in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. More specifically, it revealed how the format of the collected edition was fast becoming the sovereign of all book formats. If the collected edition was, on one level, one part of a larger early-nineteenth-century vogue for literary collecting, from the ballad and folktale collections that I will discuss in chapter 3 to the literary miscellanies that I discuss in chapter 4, it would also emerge as one of the most—if not the most—durable and effective vehicles for regulating, institutionalizing, and stabilizing the category of literature in an age of too much literature. Like other collecting practices, the collected edition had the capacity to organize a voluminous amount of material within a defined bibliographic space. Yet unlike collected formats such as the miscellany the critical edition, or the publisher's series, which always depended upon and negotiated the mixedness of their collectivity, the collected edition argued for a fundamental homogeneity of its contents through the overwhelming promotion of the author as the single organizing figure behind the collection. As in the Sanskrit root “samá” from which the German “Sammlung” and the English “same” derive, there was a fundamental sameness at the heart of the collected edition.2 Such sameness was not solely limited to the spatial unity of the edition's contents—the gathering together of a diverse set of writings within one single edition—but also encompassed the edition's capacity to produce a temporal continuity through the reproduction of already extant texts. Unlike a critical edition whose very name suggested an interpretive engagement with its textual predecessors, the collected edition was based on an act of reprinting and textual continuity. A “classic” was not just an agreed-upon interpretive consensus, but as Göschen's overlap of the classical and the contemporary in Wieland's ceremony highlighted, a classic was a work whose identity depended upon a fundamental aspect of reproducibility.

In its capacity to stabilize and pass on a literary canon over time, the collected edition thus embodied arguments by pioneering book historians like Elizabeth Eisenstein, Alvin Kernan, and Lucien Febvre and Henri-Jean Martin that print contributed to the standardization and the stability of cultural knowledge.3 It proved to be an extraordinarily effective vehicle to promote (p.55) what Philip Connell has identified as the rising “heritage consciousness” of the early nineteenth century the way such practices of collection intersected nineteenth-century historical thinking in general.4 And in its capacity to fashion a unified literary corpus out of a diverse and often heterogeneous array of texts, the collected edition offered a vivid example of Benedict Anderson's theory of print nationalism, as such bibliographic operations became a potent symbol for the collective political aspirations of fashioning a national body as well.5 The collected edition not only responded to, and in part repaired, the spatial disorganization of the literary and political systems of the nineteenth century, it also addressed the crisis of traditio, the problem of cultural durability in an age of mass-reproduced objects.

The collected edition was of course by no means an “invention” of the nineteenth century. It had played a key role in the establishment of Ben Jonson's literary fame, to name but one well-known early-modern example.6 Göschen's enormous investment in the collected edition of Wieland's works, however, did mark a difference of degree if not one of kind. It signified an important beginning point in terms of what we might call a form of cultural capital as the collected edition came to play an increasingly prominent role in the organization of literature as a category in the nineteenth century.7 The collected edition was no longer the relatively unique aftereffect to the drama of authorial publication or theatrical performance. It was now part and parcel of literary making. From Goethe's Ausgabe letzter Hand and Walter Scott's Magnum Opus edition of the 1820s, to Balzac's plan for the Comédie humaine in the 1840s, to Washington Irving's Revised Edition of 1848, to Henry James's New York Edition at the turn of the century, the collected edition not only served an essential function in the monumentalization of literature in the nineteenth century, it also became a key site of authorial creativity.8 Alongside the quantitative expansion of each individual edition—whether in terms of the sheer number of volumes or the consumption of a publishers' resources—one could also find a corresponding quantitative expansion of the number of collected editions themselves.9 The question in the nineteenth century was no longer who did but who didn't have a collected edition?

The Combinatory Spirit and the Collected Edition

Collected editions have powerfully shaped our understanding of who counts in the history of literature. The collected edition is the format from which we derive the material for reading and writing about reading on which our profession depends, and it is also the format—imperiously perched on our (p.56) most prominent book shelves—from which we derive so much symbolic capital on which our personal identities depend.10 Through attention to both the rhetorical and visual interfaces of collected editions from the opening decades of the nineteenth century—an attention to both their stuff and their style—I am interested in exploring the various meanings that were gradually attached to this particular bibliographic container. As we saw with Goethe's Wilhelm Meister's Travels, the collected edition was fast becoming an influential literary format that could shape a writer's work in significant ways. But far from simply promoting the author as the central fact of literary history, the collected edition also played a key role in legitimizing the experience of literary reproducibility. The very authorial singularity that the collected edition promoted was simultaneously a product of the technological reproducibility upon which it depended. Despite counterarguments by G. Thomas Tanselle and William St. Clair about the incapacity of the hand press during this period to produce the same thing twice,11 I want to argue that what mattered to the collected edition's rise in cultural prominence during the early nineteenth century was precisely the imaginative possibility that something stayed the same and that this sameness was not seen as either illicit or creatively impoverished but juridically and aesthetically legitimate.

In order for the collected edition to assume legitimacy within the classificatory logic of the nineteenth-century literary system, a larger cultural reorientation had to occur around the categories of repetition, novelty, and authorial identity. The rise to prominence of the collected edition—and literary collections in general—necessitated on the one hand the acceptance of increasing degrees of sameness and reproduction within literary life on an unprecedented scale. Never before had so much of the same thing been produced, whether it was in the quantity of a single edition or in the reprinting of numerous subsequent editions of the same work. The prominence of collected editions thus depended on a taste for repetition and collection—practices that were themselves crucial features of the larger bibliographic landscape and that we can see being motivated in theoretical paradigms like Edgar Allen Poe's formulation, “To originate is carefully, patiently, and understandingly to combine,” or Friedrich Schlegel's promotion of the “kombinatorischer Geist” (combinatory spirit) at the heart of Lessing's aphoristic style.12

At the same time, the legitimacy of sameness was dependent on an acceptance of the simultaneous presence and absence of a third party mediating these repetitive encounters between readers and authors. Like Göschen's important directorial role in Wieland's book ceremony, the collected edition (p.57) also highlighted the increasingly important role that publishers were playing as makers of culture. Like Johann Cotta, Georg Reimer, or Friedrich Brockhaus in Germany, James Ballantyne, James Cadell or John Murray in Britain, Charles Ladvocat or Eugène Renduel in France, or Mathew Carey, George Putnam, or the Harper brothers in the United States, Göschen was one of numerous publishers who would play a decisive role in shaping the romantic literary establishment, whether it was through the courting of particular authors or the deployment of particular bibliographic arrangements of their works. But the collected edition's success often depended in large measure on both the acknowledgment and the overlooking of the fact that there was always someone else there on the page, that what counted as an author was always in some sense a collective persona. Notions like the Ausgabe letzter Hand were intended to efface the publisher's presence in such undertakings, to hide the presence of the publisher's own invisible hand, if you will, that extended the reach of the author's. It was not for nothing that one romantic French commentator referred to the emerging “libraire-éditeur” as the author's “evil genius” (mauvais génie).13 The bibliographic repetitions that collected editions performed were also surrounded by an ambiguously available collectivity that stood behind such singular performances. The collected edition necessitated the reevaluation not only of what counted as new but also of the singular identity of the bibliographic subject.

Copying haunts modern culture. Whether in the form of the reproducible artwork or replicable human code, the question of the copy has been at the heart of some of the most influential cultural critiques of the past two centuries.14 To return to the romantic fascination with repetition and reproducibility—to the figure of the return itself—is to return to the very beginnings of this fascination with technological reproducibility.15 Doing so should not only tell us new things about the immediate concerns of romantic writers within their changing bibliographic environment. It should also help us see the copy itself with fresh eyes: not just as a vertiginous process of hollowing out some more authentic essence—what Sebald called the irreparable defect of its program—but also as the initiation of a new form of creativity, one that depended on a fundamental collectivity, on the cultivation of a new “combinatory spirit.” For romantic writers, the emerging culture of the copy that informed bibliographic formats like the collected edition not only posed a significant threat to a variety of established norms and categories surrounding literary creativity. It also posed an important new opportunity for thinking about the changing nexus of communication and creativity.

(p.58) Producing Corporeal Integrity (Wieland, Byron, Rousseau)

The presentation of Wieland's collected edition marked the conclusion of one of the most significant publishing ventures in the German book market at the turn of the nineteenth century. But it also marked a key beginning of a significant new trend in literary publishing, signaling a number of important changes to book publishing and the romantic understanding of the book that would endure for long after. On a physical level, Göschen's investment in the project led to numerous innovations in German bookmaking, from the flatness of the paper, to the straightness of the type, to the blackness of the ink.16 As Göschen wrote to Wieland in reference to his edition, “You must admit that this is a masterpiece.”17 The importance of the books physical appearance was to reflect the cultural importance of its author. Not only did such technical innovations require significant capital investments, but the sheer extensiveness of the editions themselves required an enormous commitment on the part of publishers. To produce thirty-eight volumes of an author's works as a single undertaking, as Göschen had done in the case of Wieland, was to invest an enormous percentage of resources in a single project. Göschen wrote rather dramatically to Wieland during production: “This undertaking is larger than you think. With the nature of my business activities my end stands daily before me.”18 Indeed, such editions not only taxed the financial resources of a publisher, they also often exceeded their infrastructure capacity. Cotta was forced to delay part of the publication of Goethe's Ausgabe letzter Hand because he was also publishing collected editions of Schiller and Herder at the same time.19 Making classics, then and now, was a key driver of the expansions of the publishing sector.

Such editions were not exclusively about exclusivity, however. In printing these editions in numerous formats, early-nineteenth-century publishers sought to offer collected editions that were accessible to a broad reading audience. As Göschen wrote to Wieland, “Every merchant's assistant, every poor student, every rural priest, every moderately salaried officer shall be able to buy your works … In this way they will be read by all of Germany and will impact all of Germany.”20 In forming a literary elite, the collected edition was also contributing to the establishment of a political commons. The more collected editions unified and stabilized an author's works, the more such works could paradoxically circulate among the populace. The surge of collected editions that one can identify in the 1820s was directly related to the political and economic recuperations that were taking place after the close of the Napoleonic wars. In constructing and making available a textual body, the collected edition was also contributing in the process (p.59) to the reconstruction of the national body politic as well. As the publisher Georg Reimer wrote in 1826 to one of his authors, greatly understating the case, “The public [is now] especially inclined towards collected editions.”21

If the collected edition highlighted nascent political aspirations, it also participated in the early-nineteenth-century ideal of fashioning an image of heroic individuality on which such nation states were to be based. As much as any genre or discourse in the early nineteenth century, the format of the collected edition contributed to and grew out of the idea of literature as an index of personality. In contrast to an author's individual works, in which frontispieces often represented particular scenes or settings from the work, the frontispieces of collected editions were very often portraits of the author. In reading the collected edition, one experienced a persistent encounter with a person.

But as Tom Mole has argued, it was precisely the growing citability of such images—their capacity to circulate outside of an economy of likeness—that contributed to the promotion of authorial celebrity.22 The vogue for authorial portraits as frontispieces disclosed an important tension between person and personality as the frame of writing, between the individual and the simulacrum of individuality that the book promoted. The romantic book became a key sign of what Deleuze and Guattari have called the emerging “faciality” of modern culture, at whose core was the commodification and thus deterritorialization of self.23 The face for Deleuze and Guattari was not a part of the body, like a head or a hand, but something altogether separate, indeed a sign of the very disintegration of the embodied self under capitalism. “There is something absolutely inhuman about the face,” they write.24 The face emerged as a crucial icon in orienting readers' relationships to the increasingly dispersed and mediated self of bibliographic culture. The face, according to Deleuze and Guattari, “carrie[d] out the prior gridding that makes it possible for the signifying elements to become discernible.”25 In this context one can begin to understand the critical force, and enduring appeal, of romantic novellas like Balzac's “Unknown Masterpiece,” at the center of which is an illegible portrait, or Hawthorne's “The Minister's Black Veil,” whose protagonist covers over his face and thereby becomes monstrous to his congregation: “He has changed himself into something awful, only by hiding his face!”26

Where the face marked a threshold to the simultaneous autobiographization of literature and its dehumanization through the commodification of the book, genre too played a key role as an index and antidote to this new media reality. One of the most popular additions to the collected edition was the biographical sketch of the author, which almost always was placed (p.60) in the opening volumes of the edition (as in Walter Scott's edition of John Dryden or Ludwig Tieck's edition of the works of Heinrich von Kleist). The 1819 edition of Rousseau's works, produced by Jean-Jacques Lefèvre, offered a slight variation of this approach when it placed the Confessions at the head of the edition,27 a practice that numerous subsequent editions would follow and that replaced the traditional primary location of the Discours at the head of Rousseau's oeuvre (initiated by the Société typographique de Genève's 1782 edition).28 The author's narrative self-portrait became the discursive frame to complement the visual frame of the face that shaped the reception of the author's works. The final volume of Lefèvre's edition, which marked a key turn in reprinting Rousseau, also contained a collection of remarkable expressions by the author, “Vocabulaire des expressions et locutions remarquables,” not only motivating the linguistic uniqueness of this particular author but also basing the category of authorship itself on such expressive remarkability. Finally, in its competition with other posthumous editions, a competition which always rested on claims of totality and completeness, Lefèvre's 1819 edition emphasized that it was more complete because of the inclusion of so much unprinted material from Rousseau's life. In the “Avertissement de L'Editeur” in the opening volume we read: “Every editor of the collected works not only aspires to publish a pure text [un texte pur]; his collection must include all of his author's productions; and in order to have the advantage over his competitors, he does his utmost to procure those that have not yet been published” (il met tous ses soins à s'en procurer d'inédites).29 The collected edition's increasing reliance on publishing the author's diaries, notes, and correspondence, which we saw vividly enacted in the production of the Weimar Edition of Goethe's works in chapter 1, was not only a way of marketing the edition's novelty and thus marketability. It also increasingly aligned the book with the category of the author's private life and away from the history of the author's publications. Such a fact was morbidly on display in the final text of the 1819 edition, “Procès-Verbal de I'ouverture du corps de J. J. Rousseau,” where the closure of the collected edition was the anatomical confirmation of the death of the author.

The orientation of the collected edition around the author's life was by no means unique to Rousseau. As the publishers of Byron's posthumous 1832 collected edition argued in their introduction to the volume of juvenalia, “But every page of it is in fact, when rightly understood, a chapter of the author's confessions.”30 These were of course almost the very same words Goethe had used to describe his own works, when he wrote in Poetry and Truth : “Everything that I have written to this point are just fragments of a greater confession.”31 To affirm the notion of literature as confessional (p.61) discourse, this same volume of Byron's works contained a fold-out facsimile of Byron's manuscript of the early poem “To D—,” which opened with the line, “In thee, I fondly hop'd to clasp.” The author's handwriting brought the reader through the screen of the printed page and into the heart and mind of the author himself, enacting the very desire of “clasping” encoded in the reproduced handwritten poem. In the fold-out facsimile of handwriting, the traces of the individual life literally enveloped, like a clasp, the collected edition. The synecdoche of the figure of the hand that was repeatedly mobilized in collected editions, whether through such titles as the Ausgabe letzter Hand, the promotion of unpublished material, or the printing of handwriting, was there to repair the corporeal ruptures (of the authorial corpus in a double sense) that the books proliferation increasingly enacted. As Christof Windgätter has written, “The changing appearance of the book (through its mobilization, format, and geometry) collaborated with the emergence of a linguistic structure that would persistently be used, accompanied, and constituted by the antecedent presence of the human.”32

However much such individual editions promoted literature as an index of the individual person, when one begins to look broadly at such editions, what is most striking about them is the remarkable visual uniformity that they achieved. Unlike the uniqueness of their portrayed authors, the editions themselves all began to look the same. Whether it was from one edition to the next of one author with the same publisher, as in the case of Byron's collected editions with Murray, multiple authors with the same publisher, as in Cotta's publication of the German Klassiker, or one author with multiple publishers, as in the case of the numerous posthumous Rousseau editions (fig. 2.1), one encounters a striking typographical regularity in collected editions. However much such editions promoted an aspect of novelty to differentiate themselves from their predecessors, they were simultaneously marked by an enormous degree of typographic sameness.

Such sameness was not only important on a synchronic level between different editions, it also mattered diachronically as well between previous editions of the stand-alone works and the collected edition that reproduced these works, a process referred to by the editors of the 1819 Rousseau edition as “l'intégrité du texte.”33 In this notion of textual “integrity,” the collected edition argued for a fundamental continuity between what appeared in the collection and that which had appeared before. This sameness that underlay such textual integrity was nevertheless simultaneously positioned within an economy of novelty as each new collected edition had to motivate the novelty of what it collected. The collected edition affirmed both the sameness of the collection's parts and the novelty of the collection's whole.



Figure 2.1 Title pages from four separate editions of Oeuvres complètes de J. J. Rousseau (1823–26). Courtesy of the Rare Books and Special Collections Division, McGill University Library.

(p.63) And here the case of Göschen and Wieland is again instructive. Göschen's Wieland edition was not only a landmark in the history of publishing, it also marked a key moment in the evolution of German copyright law.34 Wieland had published seventeen individual works with the Weidmann publishing house, and when he sold the copyright of his entire collected works to Göschen in 1788, Weidmann's director, Ernst Martin Graff, filed suit to challenge the legality of this move. The basic question behind the case was whether a work published within the context of a “collected edition” constituted a new work or simply an illegal reprint or Nachdruck. For years, debates about the positive and negative effects of reprinting had raged in the German publishing world,35 a problem that was made especially acute by the absence of a unified legal system. Works published in Leipzig could legally be reprinted in Stuttgart because those cities were under separate legal and political systems. Wieland's collected works thus appeared during a particularly tense period when the boundaries of an author's and a publisher's property rights were being vigorously contested.

Both the Leipziger Bücherkommission and the Sächsische Oberappel-lationsgericht sided with Göschen, citing the fact that a collected edition would never come to fruition if an author's previous publishers all had to be compensated to produce the new edition. The common good of collecting an author's works together in one single edition overrode the more immediate concerns of publishers' financial remuneration. Göschen's successful defense had rested largely on his claim that a work published as part of the collected edition was essentially a new work. Wieland's novel Agathon, when published as part of the works, was not, according to Göschen, the same Agathon, but was to be seen as “a new object, a part of the whole.”36

The case of Wieland's edition thus not only marked a beginning point in the emerging legitimacy of a certain kind of reprinting and textual repetition. It also signaled the way a literary work was crucially understood as a material event as well as an intellectual one. As one of the leading voices of the nascent copyright movement in the German states, Fichte had argued that the literary work was defined solely by its unique and proprietary use of language.37 The category of the work was disaggregated from its material location. And yet Göschen's defense rested on the argument that the works location did change the status and meaning and, indeed, novelty of that work. The Agathon of the collected works was new because it was “a new object, a part of the whole.” In order to justify the reprinting of a previous work not as an act of piracy but as one of innovation, Göschen oriented both reading and writing as much around the physical location of the work as the operations of the author's mind. It invited readers and writers alike (p.64) to see a work's meaning and thus its value as lying within a larger system of works. Cotta would later remark to Göschen many years later: “Through your publication of Wieland's works, it appears that you have taken the German book trade in a totally new direction.”38 The new direction to which Cotta referred was precisely the capitalization of repetition as a cultural and literary value.

Reprinting, Reproducibility, and the Novella Collection

In 1819, the first volume of E. T. A. Hoffmann's The Serapion Brothers: Collected Stories and Tales, appeared on the German book market, at the suggestion of Georg Reimer, Hoffmann's publisher. Reimer, who would emerge as one of the most important promoters of German romantic literature,39 had previously published Ludwig Tieck's collection of already published stories, Phantasus (1812–16), with relative success, and he recommended the same practice to Hoffmann. Like other collected editions, the preface to Hoffmann's first volume identified the project's importance as its capacity to unite and bring together the diffuse stories published in a variety of other bibliographic formats. As Hoffmann confessed to his readers, “The publisher's request that the author collect and add to his stories and tales dispersed in journals and miscellanies … gave rise to this book and the form in which it appears.”40 At the same time, Hoffmann's opening also attempted to defend the novelty of this collected edition of previously published work. In agreeing that readers might find his collection extraordinarily similar to the one published just a few years before by Ludwig Tieck, Hoffmann proceeded to explain how the two collections were in fact quite different. He enunciated, in other words, the ways that The Serapion Brothers was different from another author's work. What he did not address was how the works in The Serapion Brothers related to themselves. That problem was left to the tales.

In capitalizing on the growing market for republication in the nineteenth century, Hoffmann was of course not alone. Numerous romantic writers were busy enjoying the fruits of being paid twice (or more) for the same piece of writing, and readers were willing to pay for it.41 At the same time that Hoffmann's collection inscribed itself within a bibliographic practice of reprinting, it also inscribed itself within the literary genre of the novella collection by creating an elaborate frame narrative for the collected tales in the spirit of Boccaccio's Decameron. Beginning with Goethe's Conversations of German Refugees (1795) on through Tiecks Phantasus (1812–16), Hoffmann's The Serapion Brothers (1819–21), Washington Irving's Bracebridge (p.65) Hall (1822), Balzac's Cent contes drolatiques (1832), and Dickens's Pickwick Papers (1837), the genre of the novella collection experienced a tremendous rise in popularity in the first half of the nineteenth century across Europe and the Atlantic, a fact that offers an important counterweight to the importance that scholars have accorded the novel in thinking about literary form around 1800. Where the novel functioned as a key genre at the turn of the nineteenth century to explore the possibility of networking—of bibliographic everywhereness—it was the novella collection that emerged to address the problem of literary repetition and the bibliographic copy.

The novella collection might seem at first glance an odd genre through which to frame such repetitive practices. For Hoffmann's German contemporaries, it was precisely the genre of the novella at the heart of these collections that was theorized as the form through which writers could work through the problem of literary novelty, the way “modern” literature increasingly came to define itself in opposition, not in conversation, with a literary tradition.42 Whether it was Goethe's comment that the novella was “an unheard-of event” (eine sich ereignete unerhörte Begebenheit),43 Schlegel's description of the novella as “a story that does not belong to history” (eine Geschichte, die … nicht zur Geschichte gehört),44 Tieck's argument that the novella narrates an event (Vorfall) “which is marvelous, perhaps singular,”45 or Kleist's emphasis on the improbability at the heart of the novella's plot, the novella was repeatedly invested with the ideals of writing something down that had not yet come before. Novellistic writing was unheard of, lacked a history, was singular or improbable. It was the literary version of the news, the genre of geniuses.

And yet in practice, the novella collection was always intensely concerned with the question of narrative recycling, a problem which of course dated back to the genre's medieval founder Boccaccio, whom the romantics were explicitly invoking. Whether it was Goethe's Conversations of German Refugees with his retelling of Bassompierre's memoirs (which would later be retold by Hugo von Hofmannsthal), Stendhal's dramatization of his engagement with his early-modern source material and the presence of “une autre main” in his collection L'abbesse de Castro (1839), Balzac's imitation of Rabelaisian diction in Cent contes drolatiques (1832), or the fashion for refashioning folk and fairy tales in Tieck, Irving, or Hawthorne (think of the latter's Twice-Told Tales [1837]), the nineteenth-century novella collection seemed far more invested in investigating the problem of secondarity than novelty. It had much more in common with Alfred de Vigny's categorization of the romantic age as an age of “renaissance” and “rehabilitation”46 or Friedrich Schlegel's anecdote about the Italian restorer of a painting by (p.66) Caracci who cleaned half of the image and left the other half alone.47 Ernst Behler has called this romantic fascination with rehab and rebirth “evolutionary modernism,”48 and one sees the important overlaps at work here between literary practices and emerging scientific paradigms in the nineteenth century.

When we turn more closely to E. T. A. Hoffmann's final novella collection, however, we encounter an altogether different set of concerns, one that we might call, following Behler, “reproducible modernism.” Instead of exhibiting an interest in either pure or evolutionary novelty, Hoffmann's work seems far more interested in the question of the novelty of sameness. Rather than standing as a founding document of either a modernist mythos of avant-gardism with its continued urgency of innovation or a postmodernist mythos of adaptation and recycling, I want to argue Hoffmann's collection stands at the head of an altogether different artistic tradition concerned with the impact of technological reproducibility on modern cultural spaces. Hoffmann's collection is especially significant here precisely because it has served, through the figure of the patron saint in its title, as one of the paradigmatic works of a “visionary romanticism,” where the category of literature was increasingly equated with a deeply interior, and thus highly individual, experience, just as the categories of interiority and individuality themselves were increasingly equated with those of depth and illegibility.49

Hoffmann would go on to figure as one of the most significant influences in the development of literature in the nineteenth century. Such impact would eventually culminate in the significance that Hoffmann played in the work of Sigmund Freud, and in particular in Freud's development of the concept of the uncanny which would form the basis of Freud's thinking about the structure of the human psyche more generally. Freud's essay on “The Uncanny,” which he defined as “that class of the frightening which leads back to what is known of old and long familiar,” would arguably function as one of the most influential readings of Hoffmann and this larger romantic concern with repetition.50 And yet in transforming a historically specific bibliographic concern of Hoffmann's into a universal psychological condition, Freud was in essence effacing the important role that the book had played in shaping such imaginary experiences. Freud's essay represented a key landmark, in other words, in the nineteenth-century process of the naturalization of the book.

In taking Hoffmann as the case study for my chapter—in performing my own act of repetition—I am interested in understanding how the poetics of repetition that Freud so acutely identified in Hoffmann's work was not the function of a basic and timeless psychic structure but instead was a (p.67) technique of addressing the media-technological conditions in which such psychological profiles could be generated. I want to dwell on the way Hoffmann's intense interest not with forms of Innerlichkeit but with forms of Äußerung —that is, forms of expression, exteriors, sociability, and communication—was a means of aligning his writing with the logic of reproducibility and collectivity that was coming to define his immediate bibliographic environment.51 How did Hoffmann's poetics of the return in a collection like The Serapion Brothers inscribe itself within the increasingly elaborate system of reproducibility and the attendant proliferation of the literary “copy,” which such collections were themselves generating? How did these literary reproductions legitimize reproducibility itself?

E. T. A. Hoffmann's The Serapion Brothers and the Crisis of Originality

The Serapion Brothers was published in four volumes over the course of three years (1819–21) and consisted almost exclusively of material that Hoffmann had already published in either periodicals or miscellanies. We know from Hoffmann's correspondence with Reimer that this collection was supposed to contain as much new material as old. While the preface to the first volume announced that “new contributions” would indeed be “added,” from the very beginning the old always outnumbered the new and the project was overshadowed by Hoffmann's inability to produce the promised number of new works. This crisis of productivity reached its highpoint with the fourth and final volume, when Hoffmann wrote to Reimer:

Sickness has once again inhibited my activities and drive; nevertheless the fourth part of the Serapion Brothers moves inexorably forward and will be, God willing, the most interesting of all, since it only contains two previously printed stories, of which the one (printed in the Wiener Zeitblatt) remains relatively unfamiliar to us, otherwise it contains only new work.52

Of the six stories ultimately published in the fourth volume, four were reprints and only two were new, one of which had been promised for the third volume but had not been completed in time. In the entire collection's twenty-eight stories that spanned four volumes and over one-thousand pages of text, Hoffmann managed to produce just three new tales (and two of these only in time for the final volume). The emphasis in his letter to Reimer of the obscurity of one of his story's previous printings (in the Wiener Zeitblatt)—and thus the possibility of considering it as a quasi-“new” (p.68) work—revealed not only the extent to which Hoffmann participated in the vogue for reprinting in the early nineteenth century. It also showed how this work, in distinction to his earlier collections, was marked from beginning to end by a steady and growing orientation towards writing as reproduction.

The frame narrative that Hoffmann wrote for the collection (and that significantly contained a tale that had previously been published elsewhere) not surprisingly takes up this issue, or crisis if you will, of origination. It describes the reconvening of four (eventually six) old friends who debate whether or not to form a club in which they will tell each other stories that they have previously written down. In the closed community of storytellers, Hoffmann's frame explicitly echoed Boccaccio's Decameron. But in reading stories aloud that had already been written down, Hoffmann's collection not only captured a larger cultural shift from an oral to a written narrative culture that was consistently thematized in romantic writing. It also drew attention to the way such oral and performative tropes were deployed to understand books. If the plague that Boccaccio's narrators fled, however, had really been the plague, the plague in Hoffmann's collection was originality itself, the problem of starting anew that we know literally plagued Hoffmann during the entire production of this edition.

The collection opens with the statement by Lothar, one of the club's narrators: “Look at it how you will, one cannot deny, cannot avert the bitter conviction that never—never will something return that once was” (SB, 13). Opening the collection with Lothar's statement about the impossibility of the return suggests a very different focus to this collection than I have just intimated, one driven by a commitment to a larger romantic poetics of novelty and the impossibility of the return of the past. And yet Hoffman's rhetorical and grammatical strategies counteract precisely the content of the opening statement's assertion. In opening with direct speech, the frame narrative is framed by the positionality of its opening enunciation, as the remaining tales both inside the frame narrative and between it (the frame narrative is structured like a novella collection itself) will function as so many replies to Lothar's assertion. Indeed in that double “never” of Lothar's opening statement we can see how the absoluteness of Lothar's position, already undermined through the use of quotation marks, is further undercut through the rhetorical device of repetition (epizeuxis).

This commitment to a world defined by temporal discontinuity articulated in Lothar's opening position is first challenged in the frame narrative by Cyprian in his subsequent anecdote about the two philosophy students who, after not having seen one another for several years, resume their conversation at precisely the point where they left off:

(p.69) Precisely in such a philosophical debate, precisely in that moment [in dem Augenblick] when Sebastian threw a decisive and powerful blow [Schlag] and Ptolomäus was collecting himself to reply, they were interrupted and chance willed it that they never again met in K—.… Nearly twenty years passed, when Ptolomäus sees a figure on the street in B—walking in front of him, whom he quickly recognizes to be his friend Sebastian. He hurries after him, taps him on the shoulder, and as Sebastian turns around, Ptolomäus immediately begins: You asserted that—enough!—he threw the blow that he had prepared twenty years ago. (SB, 21–22)

This anecdote would mark an essential focal point for the collection as a whole, with its various elements of deixis (“in that moment”), acoustic shock (the “blow”), and diegetic shifting (“you asserted that—enough!—he threw the blow”) being replayed throughout the subsequent tales. The point of the anecdote was not that the students have the same conversation over again, but that the conversation remained the same even over vast amounts of time. There was a fundamental continuity and textual integrity at stake here. But just as the rhetorical device of repetition was used to articulate the impossibility of return in the opening sentence, the rhetorical devices of interruption (parenthesis) and omission (ellipsis) are used here in conjunction with the narratological shift from direct to indirect speech to articulate the possibility of continuity (“you asserted that—enough!—he threw the blow …”). What returns in the frame narrative is not the content but the frame itself, the condition of possibility of sameness.

Such concern with temporal continuity and corporeal integrity is enacted most prominently in the frame narrative in the tale about the title figure, Serapion, who will eventually be chosen as the club's patron saint. Cyprian is once again the narrator, and we learn that Serapion is a hermit whom he has met and whom he suspects of being a certain Count P**. Nevertheless, as a prime example of the psychological pathology of der fixen Ideen, the Count insists on referring to himself as Serapion, whom we are told is a third-century heretical Christian monk who was dismembered by the Emperor Decius during the “Decian persecution” and thrown off a cliff to his death.53 Serapion's fidelity to an inner vision, however discordant with external reality, is what has made him such an attractive romantic hero for generations of subsequent readers. As Peter von Matt has suggested, transforming this romantic paradigm into a universal one: “Precisely because of his variety of insanity, Serapion becomes the Ur-image of the poet, the goal towards which every narrative artist should strive: to fashion everything in and out of his inner self.”54

(p.70) I want to suggest that Serapion is chosen here as the patron saint of both the collection and romanticism more generally not simply because of his visionary identity—that he represents an alternative to the technological foundations of art embodied in the figure of Councilor Krespel, for example, whose tale is also included in the frame narrative. Rather, what makes Serapion the patron saint of this novella collection in particular and, one could argue of a particular aspect of romanticism in general, is his promotion of a temporal and corporeal continuity. His survival and his corporeal intactness represent a resistance to the very problem of diffusion and change that surrounded bibliographic work in the early nineteenth century and that the novella collection as a genre was designed to recuperate. Serapion literally embodies the textual integrity at the heart of collected editions, an integrity that was understood as both a spatial and temporal unity. He is the ideal patron to this collection because he represents a particular ideal of collection itself. This continuity between the body of the saint and the body of the book is then amplified in Serapion's mode of speech, as he recounts a collection of novellas to Cyprian one evening to pass the night together during his visit. Whether figuratively or communicatively, in both who he is and what he says, Serapion quite literally embodies the genre of the novella collection.

When Cyprian returns to find Serapion again, however, he is gone. The figure of continuity and sameness has disappeared. By adopting Serapion as the patron saint to this collection, The Serapion Brothers substitutes itself for his absence. The book, the corpus of tales, becomes the space or corpus of repetition. According to the narrative frame to the collected edition, the work of the collection—and of the individual works within the collection—is to enact precisely this movement from discontinuity to continuity, from difference to sameness, from the impossibility of return to the legitimacy of repetition. As I will try to show in greater detail, the work of writing in the collection motivates the very practice of literary collection itself.

“The Uncanny Guest” and the Poetics of the Same

In the third volume of The Serapion Brothers there appeared the novella “The Uncanny Guest.” “The Uncanny Guest” was not only a reused title of an earlier novella by Hoffmann's friend, Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué, that had appeared in the miscellany Pocket-Book Dedicated to Love and Friendship (1814). It was also a reprint of Hoffmann's own novella by that title that had initially appeared in the literary miscellany The Narrator (1819). On top of this, it was also a rewritten version of another of Hoffmann's tales, (p.71) “The Magnetist,” that had been printed in one of his earlier collections, Fantasy Pieces in the Manner of Callot (1814). The reprint that reused available literary material was also a remake. Like the collection in which it appeared, “The Uncanny Guest” was marked by an accumulation of repetitive bibliographic practices, a point that one could see amplified at a figural and communicative level as well. Far from attempting to justify the category of the “version”—the variants and the transformations that were so central to a Goethean theory of art—Hoffmann's remaking was far more invested in legitimizing, through the very process of transformation, the experience of sameness. As we will see, it is precisely at those moments where the second version differs from its predecessor that it is most invested in promoting a poetics of repetition.

“The Uncanny Guest” has been a much passed-over story in Hoffmann scholarship, a point that is notable because it explicitly invokes the category of das Unheimliche upon which much of Hoffmann's subsequent fame has rested (Freud himself does not address this story). I suspect that such overlooking has been the product of the deep sense of unoriginality that has surrounded it and the crucial ways that originality and novelty have remained dominant critical positions within the field of literary study. But I want to suggest that the significance of “The Uncanny Guest”—what makes it in my view one of the key texts of Hoffmann's corpus—lies precisely in its intricate attention to the growing problem of sameness that structured the nineteenth-century literary field. Its importance resides in its capacity to take up at so many different levels simultaneously the intersection of reading and repetition that was at the heart of the romantic bibliographic world.55

“The Uncanny Guest” is based on Hoffmann's initial tale, “The Magnetist,” and the earlier story concerns the failed marriage of Maria and Hypolit that concludes in her death on their wedding day. It begins with a family sitting around the fire drinking Punsch and discussing the status of dreams. The statement, “Träume sind Schäume” (literally, dreams are foam, but more loosely understood as dreams are nonsense), leads to a debate about the meaning of dreams in general, which is followed by the tale of the Baron's dream about an extremely odd Major he met during his time at the Ritterakademie (who was given to nighttime performances of imaginary sword fights in his garden that would conclude with him climbing trees and laughing uncontrollably). The Baron's unsettling dream concludes with the Major using a “glowing instrument” pressed against his head to see through the Baron's “innermost self” (SB, 146).

This tale is followed by a comic interlude on the part of the painter, (p.72) Franz Bickert, a guest for many years of the Baron's, who tells the story of a dream he had in which he was a watermark and was tortured one evening by a satanic writer. Bickert's tale is followed by Ottmar's story of his friend Theobald who used the popular eighteenth-century science of magnetism (also known as mesmerism) to win back his lost lover, Auguste. Ottmar tells us that he has learned his story from Alban, another guest at the Baron's house, and it is in fact Alban who teaches Theobald the magnetic skills he needs to win over his lover, who fell for an Italian officer during Theobald's absence at university. At the conclusion of the story, the Baron's daughter, Maria, faints and Alban enters from an adjacent room to assist her, at which point the Baron, in traditional Hoffmannian fashion, suspects that Alban is in fact the Major from his youth. The narrative breaks off at this point and is continued through a letter of Maria's to her friend Adelgunde where we learn that Alban is practicing his magnetism on her, which threatens her planned marriage with Hypolit, who is away at war. The story is concluded through an editor's account and through the inclusion of notes from Franz Bickert's diary in which we learn of the death of Maria on her wedding day and the subsequent death of the Baron (old age) and Ottmar (battle).

When Hoffmann “rewrote” his initial story, he not only reused all of the basic elements of the first version, he also crucially reversed the trajectory of the narrative. “The Uncanny Guest” begins in a similar fashion with a family sitting around the fire drinking Punsch, but instead of discussing the status of dreams, they tell each other stories of mysterious sounds that draw in significant ways on Goethe's earlier novella collection, Conversations of German Refugees (1795). The question of reference (do dreams refer to some stratum of the real) is transferred from a psychological plane to an acoustic or sensorial one. The magnetist who haunts the Baron's dreams and reappears as the family guest to seduce the young woman in the first version reappears in the second version as the “uncanny Count S—i.” As in the first version, he will attempt to seduce the young woman (Angelika) away from the young man (Moritz) when he departs for battle. Upon the news that Moritz has died in battle, Angelika agrees to marry the Count, but unlike the first version where the young man and woman both die, the marriage to the magnetist is interrupted by Moritz's return, at which point the Count dies and Angelika and Moritz marry, living happily ever after (almost).

The Plot of the Returning Husband

At the most general level, both “The Magnetist” and “The Uncanny Guest” belong to the genre of stories about the problem of the returning husband.

(p.73) Homer's Odyssey provides one of the key archetypes of this plot, and the elevation of Homer to the position of Ur-poet in the romantic pantheon (brought to life, in German at least, through Voβ's translation, Werther's imagination, and Schlegel's theorization) offered the most obvious source for the growing popularity of such stories, which included Balzac's “Colonel Chabert,” Washington Irving's “Rip van Winkle,” and Hawthorne's “The Wives of the Dead.” But the more immediate historical backdrop of the Napoleonic wars was also an important point of reference for these tales. One should never underestimate just how violent the romantic period was. The plot of the returning husband was intimately connected with postwar narratives more generally, as the corporeal and social ruptures of war were memorialized either in the character's name (Rip van Winkle or the early-modern example of Martin Guerre)56 or his physical description (Odysseus' scar, Chabert's head wound, Guerre's missing limbs). The returning husband represented a moment of social crisis, figuring the “remembrance” of the wounded male body as a tripartite act of memorialization, social membership, and personal and psychological integrity.57 As with Odysseus' conflict with his wife's suitors, at stake in the figure of the returning husband was the project of domestication, of how to expel unwanted guests and, in the process, how to transform oneself from a guest to a husband. Both “The Magnetist” and “The Uncanny Guest” were marked by a series of people who would not leave (Bickert, Alban, Count S—i), and the question that the stories posed was how to tell the difference between those who belonged and those who did not. The success of the husband's return, of moving from guest to husband, depended on his capacity to prove, in Serapion-like fashion, the continuity of his identity, that he was in fact the same person as when he left.

The story of the returning husband was thus, on one level, a remarkably effective symbolic means to reestablish the imagined inviolability of interior spaces, whether of self, home, or Heimat. It played a key role in the political recuperations that marked the post-revolutionary period in European and American history. But the story of the returning husband in Hoffmann also became an important means to understand the practices of collection upon which the integrity of these interiors depended. Their imagined inviolability rested on the production of temporal continuity, not so much through the deployment of physical evidence (the scar) as through the practice of narration (of being able to recount the past that one held in common). Indeed, it was precisely the mobilization of narrative material in Hoffmann—which, as we will see, depended on the fundamental mobility of narrative material itself—that compensated for the corporeal disfigurations (p.74) of the veteran's body, that compensated for any visual unlikeness. Unlike Hypolit in the first version of Hoffmann's tale, whose return from battle was narrated by someone else and which resulted in the death of his wife on their wedding day, Moritz's successful reintegration rested on his capacity to narrate his own absence, a narrative performance that nevertheless importantly had to pass through the other narrators who were present. Moritz's social reintegration was produced through the collectivizing technique of narrative orchestration.

The Magnetic Doppelgänger

There is a remarkable similarity, in other words, between the figure of the returning husband and that most ubiquitous of romantic figures, the double.58 In each case, the duel with the double is about reestablishing the integrity of the “I.” It is not surprising, then, that the husband as double is himself doubled through the figure of the magnetist, the person capable of dividing the interiority of the individual subject.

The first key change that Hoffmann makes between the first and second versions of his story—what makes the returning husband's return a success and not a failure—is to make the subplot of the first version (Theobald's successful mesmerization of his lover Auguste) into the primary plot of the second, to transform, in other words, the returning husband from the magnetist's antagonist to the magnetist's pupil. We know that “The Magnetist” was written at the height of Hoffmann's interest in magnetism, a period in which he was avidly reading works like Kluge's Essay on the Representation of Animal Magnetism as a Means of Healing (1811), Bartels' Foundations of a Physiology and Physics of Animal Magnetism (1812), and Schubert's Observations on the Dark Side of Natural Philosophy (1808).59 Like the attention to dreams at the opening of “The Magnetist,” magnetism and the magnetist's power to control his subjects captured for Hoffmann what Hans Robert Jauss has called the larger romantic fascination with the “Not-I” that would then go on to play such a prominent role in Freudian psychoanalysis.60 As Jürgen Barkhoff has written, “The case studies and even more the fictionalizations of mesmerism … are readable as ethnographic investigations into the foreign and threatening nature of inner-psychological abysses.”61 Or as Maria herself wrote to her friend Adelgunde, “Yes, even as I write this I feel all too well that it is only He who gives me the words to see myself in him” (SB, 166). The division of the “I” that the attention to both dreams and the magnetist's ethereal rapport with his subjects produces is also in some sense an Ich-Verlust, a loss of the subject's control over him- or herself.

(p.75) In the vast literature on the topic, the Doppelgänger has most often been thought of in psychologized terms, as a sign, in Christof Forderer's words in a recent monograph on the topic, of the “diffusion of identity” (Identitätsdiffusion) or the “dedifferentiation of the I-Pronoun” (Entgrenzung des Ich-Pronomens),62 The proliferation of literary doubles is supposed to be the most emphatic sign of the growing psychologization of literature in the nineteenth century, the orientation of the literary as an exploration of an interiority that undergoes both a remarkable expansion as well as division. The proliferation of the double within the larger historical fact of the proliferation of the book assumes a fundamentally narcissistic structure, one which Freud argued was a crucial component of the “uncanny” itself,63 as readers were increasingly trained to see an image of themselves in their books. As Friedrich Kittler has argued, “The printed word was skipped and the book forgotten, until somewhere between the lines a hallucination appeared—the pure signified of the printed sign. In other words, Doubles in the era of classical Romanticism originated in the classroom where we learn to read correctly.”64

I want to pause for a moment here and ask whether this all too familiar reading of the proliferation of the romantic double is not in need of some revision. If the encounter with the double in romantic fiction is most often a threatening one, why would such an agonistic figure function as a mechanism of identification between reader and medium? Why would the traumatic experience of one's double lead a reader to see through the medium of the book? Why is the double a figure of the double self, in other words, and not just a figure of doubleness more generally? Instead of a figure of narcissistic personification or psychological division, perhaps the story of the double—the story about the proliferation of sameness—offered an extremely attractive plot to address a communicative world defined by increasingly reproducible cultural objects. In capturing the crisis that surrounded the singular and the unique, perhaps the story of the double did not so much articulate some new psychological reality or a larger program of psychologization at all, but instead represented with striking precision the material reality of a new communications environment. Perhaps it captured the sheer discomfort of inhabiting a world constituted by so much of the same thing, or put differently, of a world of so little originality. The duel with the double was not so much an invitation to identify with the characters in books as it was a means of contending with the discomforts of so much cultural sameness.

Maria's comment to her friend in “The Uncanny Guest” that I cited above nicely underscores the way Hoffmann's work explicitly draws attention (p.76) to such communicative concerns. When she writes, “Yes, even as I write this …,” she is indicating how a particular technology of communication and its accompanying narrative practice are implicated in this process of “I-Loss.”65 As Albrecht Koschorke has argued, a fundamental absence of language was necessary for the healing process of classical magnetism, which relied instead on invisible fluids and connective tissues.66 This is the case in Hoffmann's “The Magnetist” for the Baron, on whom the magnetist Major uses his “glowing instrument” to create an immediate rapport with his innermost self. But in the subplot surrounding Theodor, which is then elevated to the primary plot of the later “Uncanny Guest,” what matters most for the magnetizing process is not the immediacy of the contact but precisely its “mediacy” through the narration of preexisting narrative material which is “whispered” into the subject's ear. This particular magnetist plot is then reused by Hoffmann (and expanded) because it motivates the reuse of material. Again Koschorke: “If classical magnetism depended upon a fundamental transmission of energy, one century later psychoanalysis would base itself on the absolute unavoidability of the semiotic distance of its subjects.”67 To nuance Koschorke's claim slightly, we could say that if classical magnetism was about dramatizing the possibility of a sympathetic, direct contact with another, Hoffmannian magnetism (and its offspring Freudian psychoanalysis) was increasingly about the Technik (technologies and techniques) of literary reactivation and recollection that produced such connectivity. The fundamental principle of the semiotic distance between subjects necessitated a more general reflection on the narrative, linguistic, and material techniques that were used to shape and bridge that distance.

The Whisper, Noise, and the Acoustics of Relocatability

Hoffmann's work thus dramatizes the historical transformation of the magnetist's-psychoanalyst's-artist's control over the subject from one of immediacy to semiotic and technological mediacy. It transforms the magnetist plot, in other words, into a means of thinking about the bibliographic economy. And it will be through the remediated orality of the “whisper,” I want to suggest, which replaces the natural media of “fluids,” “ether,” or “electricity” on which magnetism formerly depended, where Hoffmann promotes this new bibliographic culture of collection. In being both audible and inaudible, the whisper not only communicates some piece of information to the one who can hear it, it also communicates the ambiguity and thus interpretability of such information to those who cannot.68 In the inaudibility of its content on both a diegetic and heterodiegetic level— (p.77) to both readers and certain characters within the story—the whisper communicates incommunicability. It is not just noise but the figure of noise. It is both secretive (heimlich) and unavailable. But in the audibility of the enunciation itself—an audibility without content and thus without a determinable meaning or source—the whisper as a mode of communication is also defined by its extraordinary availability to appropriation and thus unheimlich. The importance of the whisper is not simply in the way it activates a hermeneutic scenario, but the way in which such interpretive necessities are framed as a function of the increasing mobility and thus availability of narrative information.

The whisper is thus, on one level, an ideal mode of “magnetic communication” because it draws attention to the noise, and thus the channel, of any communicative channel. In a perfect articulation of Burke's scene/act ratio, the mode of speech (the whisper) corresponds here to its speaker (the magnetist), because he literally embodies the channel (he is the figure of the third).69 If the whisper emerges as a fundamental sign of noise in Hoffmann, it is also one part of a much larger economy of unintelligible sound that lacks either source or sense. In another important variation between the first and the second versions, Hoffmann dramatically expands and alters the opening frame narrative of “The Uncanny Guest” so that instead of telling stories about dreams, the characters recount stories about sounds for which no one can identify the sound's source. Whether it is the ethereal music of Ceylon, the Spanish sigh, the rain drops without rain during a visit to an inn, or the haunting sigh of death that follows Moritz's friend Bogislav, what each story narrates is the experience of not being able to connect a sound with its source. Indeed, these sounds without sources in the framed narratives of the novella are part of a larger economy of sound without sense within the frame narrative of the novella, whether it is the verbs used to describe the fire or the “tea machine” (zischen, prasseln, pfiffen, heulen, knistern), the whispering that Angelika is repeatedly subjected to that we as readers never overhear (performed by a proliferation of “M”-characters, the Mother, Marguerite, and Moritz), or the series of loud, sudden noises that punctuate the story (when Marguerite drops her glass, the Schlag or “blow” at the door that marks the Count's entrance, and the gunshots that are described in the stories of Bogislav and Moritz).

What we have in the second novella, in other words, is a series of circulating noises that literally remain unheimlich, that are incapable of establishing the status of being “at home.” They lack a stable frame of reference, failing to belong in a strong sense to a particular owner or a particular place. Nowhere is this guestness of sound and speech more emphatically on display than in (p.78) the moment of the loud bang at the door while Moritz is recounting his story of Bogislav prior to his departure for war. At the moment that Moritz tells us that Bogislav cries out, “Show yourself, you demon!,” we read:

Show yourself, you demon! if you dare—I challenge you and all your spirits of hell that stand ready at your command—Now a violent blow [Schlag] occurred.—In that moment [in dem Augenblick] the door to the room flung open with a threatening rattle. (SB, 734)

Recalling both the “blow” (Schlag) and the words “in that moment” (in dem Augenblick) of the anecdote about the philosophy students in the novella collection's frame narrative, it is precisely at the moment of the “violent blow” in “The Uncanny Guest” that the reader's attention is suddenly stretched across three (or four) different diegetic levels. The digression, “Now a violent blow occurred,” could variously refer to either the character's narrative (Bogislav), the fictional narrator's narrative (Moritz), or the frame narrator's narrative (Ottmar), or of course, as is always possible in Hoffmann, an intrusion by the (real or fictional) editor of the volume. Unlike in the anecdote of the philosophy students, however, the words “in that moment” fail to correspond to a single speaking position; like all of the other sounds in the novella, they are marked by an extraordinary availability.

This economy of circulating sounds and the growing effacement of a stable system of origins that characterizes Hoffmann's novella has much in common with the “poetics of secondarity” and the “dislocation of reference” that Meredith McGill has identified in the writing of Edgar Allen Poe.70 Indeed, the whisper would be the central mode of communication used by the double in Poe's “William Wilson.” But a signal difference between these two writers' works lies in the way such poetic dislocations in Hoffmann's later work are always bound together with a poetics of relocation as well. The dislocatability of language is indeed the very precondition of its relocatability. The opening anecdotes that all narrate an acoustics of availability do not simply frame the remaining concerns of the novella. Rather, they become the narrative material through which the magnetist, and later, the returning husband, will practice their own arts of repetition and recuperation. The material that is reused is marked by the availability and mobility of speech within it—in other words, that it can be reused. The point is not simply that there are a series of repetitions that one can trace throughout Hoffmann's text, but that these repetitions motivate the very practice of repetition itself. As we will see, the particular moment of diegetic uncertainty and polyreferentiality in the knock at the door not (p.79) only points backwards to preexisting material in the collection but becomes material for future reuse as well.

The Collectivity of the Copy

This brings me to the final significant variation between these two novellas. As we can recall from my opening description of “The Magnetist,” the earlier version concludes with a cascading series of perspectives, a technique used most famously in Hoffmann's “The Sandman” and congruent with Gerhard Neumann's identification of the perspectival instabilities of Hoffmann's prose.71 At the close of “The Magnetist” we are presented with a letter from Maria, a letter fragment from Alban, a first-person narrative in the voice of an editor, and excerpts from Franz Bickert's diary. The later novella, on the other hand, does not so much do away with this polyphony as contain it. In the course of eight pages, the following speakers tell the tale of Moritz's return in the order in which they are listed: Moritz, Dagobert, General S—en, the Colonel's wife, Dagobert, Moritz, General S—en, Dagobert, Moritz, Dagobert, a letter of Count S—i received from Marguerite read aloud by Dagobert, the Colonel's wife, Dagobert, and the Colonel's wife.

The polyphony of “The Magnetist” reappears in “The Uncanny Guest,” but now such voices are recorded as the orchestration of a single figure. Where in the first novella such multiple speaking positions seemed to radiate outwards away from a unified perspective, in the later version they always return to, or revolve around, a single coordinating figure responsible for this procedure of narrative montage.

Moritz begins this operation of narrative orchestration with the words “You know …,” as the polyphonic narrative performance is framed precisely by the practice of reuse, of what a listener already knows. But this act of speech points not only to preexisting common knowledge but also to the reuse of this act of speech itself, which had marked the beginning of one of Moritz's own narratives from the earlier portion of the novella (“You know, began Moritz …” [SB, 725]). When Ottmar, who in the second version is no longer a character in the story but its narrator, cries out “What! you already know my story?,” such shock in the frame narrative is replaced in the novella by the normalization of using such preexisting material. The narration continues through a series of planned and unplanned interruptions, with Moritz guiding the transitions (“But now you continue, Dagobert”) or interjecting himself (“Yes, said the Captain [Moritz] as he interrupted his friend” [Ja! fiel der Rittmeister dem Freunde ins Wort]). It is precisely this latter expression by the narrator, to fall into someone's words (an idiom for (p.80) interrupting someone), that discloses most succinctly the larger narrative operation occurring here. In being spoken for, Moritz is literally falling into the words of others, as his biography is constituted through the speech of others. Moritz's role as a narrator is to coordinate the heterogeneity of these increasingly available voices—his but one among many—as though they were his own.

Bringing about this transformation from guest to husband—bringing about the legitimization of Moritz's reappearance, in other words—depends on two important, and importantly paradoxical, narrative procedures. It depends, first, on the coordination of numerous voices as a single voice, on the narrator's capacity to regulate heterogeneity in a double sense: as both plurality and difference. As the narrator's interlocutor asks in Hawthorne's “My Kinsman, Major Molineaux”: “May not a man have several voices, Robin, as well as two complexions?”72 The task of the narrator is thus twofold: to present the increasing variability of speaking positions as increasingly unified and to present the increasing foreignness of speech as proprietary. Far from reestablishing the congruence between sound and source that was marked as a problem through the opening narratives of the novella, the successful conclusion of the novella depends on the normalization of this suspension of the ownership of speech. The novella redefines “at-homeness” in language as the incorporation of increasing degrees of “guestness.” Where Bakhtin has argued that “foreignness” is the fundamental element of all utterances, I want to suggest that Hoffmann's tale discloses the way such acceptance of the foreign in language, indeed language as something potentially foreign (and thus unheimlich), can be read as a crucially romantic contribution.73

But that is just the first operation at work here. The returning husband's legitimacy also depends on the collective legitimization of, and participation in, this practice of reuse. The condition of possibility of appropriating the words of others in Moritz's narrative is precisely the proliferation of narratives at the outset of the novella—most prominently figured in Moritz's own narrative—that dramatize the availability of speech, that dramatize the increasing instability of the relationship between a sound and its source, speech and speaker. The practice of repetition, in other words, is motivated by a preexisting poetics of repetition. In redeploying the very narrative techniques enacted in the earlier tales, and more significantly, in redeploying his own earlier narrative techniques, Moritz transforms himself not only into a magnetist but more importantly into a kind of collector. The magnetist is no longer necessary to the plot—he can die in the second version—because he lives on in the figure of Moritz, only now as a legitimate figure. According to Hoffmann's writing, the collector is precisely the figure capable of producing (p.81) sameness out of heterogeneity and heterogeneity—a novel difference—out of such sameness.


In the early nineteenth century, following the precedent of the Göschen publishing house, publishers were increasingly occupied with collecting, packaging, and selling the collected works of their respective language's most popular authors. The success of this format both derived from, as well as contributed to, the emerging discourse of the heroic author, the organization of textual material around a single individual's life. At the same time, the rise of collected editions had the undeniable effect of contributing to the proliferation of copies and the experience of repetition that would become a hallmark of a modern environment of mass communication. The format of the collected edition legitimized not only a particular way of classifying literature but also a particular practice of reproducing it as well. It emphatically aligned reading with repetition, indeed, it figured reading as repetition.74

Perhaps no other work was as explicitly and thoroughly concerned with the collectedness of literature as E. T. A. Hoffmann's own landmark collection, The Serapion Brothers. And perhaps no other work within the collection organized more thoroughly the issues posed by collection than the rewritten novella, “The Uncanny Guest.” In strategies that emphasized the increasing availability of narrative property, the legitimacy of reuse, and the redefinition of the singular as increasingly heterogeneous, “The Uncanny Guest” marked, but also promoted, the increasing importance of collection to the romantic bibliocosmos.75 “The Uncanny Guest” thus coordinated an entire spectrum of devices that one could find deployed individually in a number of other novellas in The Serapion Brothers, whether it was the centrality of “aftersinging” (Nachsingen) in “The Bride Selection,” the pluralization of voice in “Madame Scuderi,” or the dislocation of meaning away from the body of the speaker in “The Automata.”

What makes Hoffmann's work ultimately so incisive, however, is not just the way it symbolically legitimizes a bibliographic practice but the way it critiques this process as well, the way it asks what it means to accept and naturalize such a system of reproducibility. In the final sentence of “The Uncanny Guest,” Hoffmann writes: “Then Angelika buried her face, blushing in bright, rosy flames, in the breast of the superiorly happy Moritz. That one slung his arm around his graceful spouse and whispered softly: is there still a higher bliss down here than this?” (Der schlang aber den Arm (p.82) um die holde Gattin und lispelte leise: Gibt es denn noch hienieden eine höhere Seligkeit als diese?) (SB, 769). Through the pun on the verb schlang (slung) with the word Schlange (snake), the final image that the novella offers is of a snake encircling its prey, acoustically amplified in the consonance of all those “s” sounds (lispeln, leise, es, Seligkeit, diese). At the same time, the final act of communication of the novella is another whisper, precisely the mode of speech used in the magnetizing process that seduced Angelika away from Moritz in the first place. It is a deeply unsettling conclusion, accentuated by the ambiguity or outright irony of the rhetorical question (is there something more blissful than being married?) as well as the conspicuous italicization of “Der.” The use of deixis here in place of the proper name is the final, and most suggestive, mark of this uncoupling of speech and speaker, sound and source. To whom is the narrator pointing when he says “that one”? Are we talking about Moritz or perhaps the specter of the Count that still haunts Angelika's memory? The final utterance thus repeats precisely the availability of speech, the unnecessary connection between speaker and spoken, word and meaning, that opened the novella and that was enacted in a similar deictic moment with the words, “in that moment.” The transformation of Moritz from guest to husband—and thus the legitimacy and at-homeness of the practice of collection that was at stake in his narrative performance—is ultimately marked as an incomplete, indeed incompletable, process. The status of the husband's or the collection's identity is never completely divorced from the haunting liminality and mobility of the uncanny guest. Guestness is inscribed into the heart of this culture of the copy.

Far from depicting the practice of collection as one of fixation—that the collected works inaugurated a condition of textual or cultural stability—“The Uncanny Guest” thus argued for the essential instability of this project, that it was a drama that needed to be perpetually rehearsed. It was a fact that was born out by the reality of producing collected editions. Collected editions not only seemed to have something interminable about them—as in Goethe's collected works that continued to expand with the printing of ever greater amounts of posthumous material, from forty to sixty to over one-hundred volumes for the Weimar Edition—but each collected edition always seemed to produce another one, as in the numerous Walter Scott editions in the early nineteenth century or the various successive Hölderlin or Nietzsche editions in the twentieth. Instead of limiting the flow and overflow of literary material, the publication of collected editions contributed to the very surplus of production they were designed to control. “The Uncanny Guest” thus enacted both the consolidation and stability that collected (p.83) editions were intended to produce at the same time that it deposited pieces of evidence that pointed to the necessary failure of such consolidation and control. It highlighted, in Sebald's words, “the irreparable defect of its program,” the reality that this new communicative environment required the perpetual reproduction of artifacts to compensate for the insufficient substantiality of their reproducibility. According to Hoffmann, the dream of the stable copy always turned into something of a nightmare. (p.84)


(1.) The story was recounted by Johann Gottfried Gruber, friend of Wieland and future editor of the Allgemeine Enzyklopädie der Wissenschaften. Cited in Siegfried Unseld, Goethe und seine Verleger (Frankfurt/Main: Insel, 1991), 148. For the English translation, see Siegfried Unseld, Goethe and his Publishers, trans. Kenneth J. Northcott (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996).

(2.) See Manfred Sommer, Sammeln: Ein philosophischer Versuch (Frankfurt/Main: Suhrkamp, 1999) and Justin Stagl, “Homo collector: Zur Anthropologie und Soziologie des Sammelns,” in Sammler—Bibliophile—Exzentriker, ed. Aleida Assmann, Monika Gomille, and Gabriele Rippl (Tübingen: Günter Narr, 1998), 37–54.

(3.) Elizabeth L. Eisenstein, The Printing Press as an Agent of Change: Communications and Cultural Transformations in Early- Modern Europe, 2 vols. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979), and Alvin Kernan, Samuel Johnson and the Impact of Print (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1989).

(4.) Philip Connell, “Bibliomania: Book Collecting, Cultural Politics, and the Rise of Literary Heritage in Romantic Britain,” Representations 71 (2000 Summer): 24–47. See also Susan A. Crane, Collecting and Historical Consciousness in Early Nineteenth- Century Germany (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2000).

(5.) Print for Anderson not only operated on such spatial planes to promote national mentalities; its creation of such collective heritages was also a crucial component of the national imaginary. “If nation- states are widely conceded to be ‘new’ and ‘historical,’” writes Anderson, “the nations to which they give political expression always loom out of an immemorial past, and, still more important, glide into a limitless future.” Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (New York: Verso, 1991), 11.

(6.) Marjorie Swann, Curiosities and Texts: The Culture of Collecting in Early Modern England (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001).

(7.) For a discussion of Göschen's undertaking, see Wolfgang von Ungern- Sternberg, “C. M. Wieland und das Verlagswesen seiner Zeit,” Archiv für Geschichte des Buchwesens 14 (1974): 1213–1534, Dietmar Debes, Georg Joachim Göschen: Die typographische Leistung des Verlegers (Leipzig: Institut für Buchgestaltung, 1965), and Stephan Füssel, Studien zur Verlagsgeschichte und zur Verlegertypologie der Goethe- Zeit (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1999).

(8.) For a discussion of Scott, see Jane Millgate, Scott's Last Edition: A Study in Publishing History (Edinburgh, 1987). For Goethe, see my previous chapter. For Balzac, see Claude Duchet et Isabelle Tournier, eds., Balzac, oeuvres complètes: Le moment de La (p.262) comédie humaine (Vincennes: Presses universitaires de Vincennes, 1993). And for Henry James, see Philip Horne, “Henry James and the Cultural Frame of the New York Edition,” in The Culture of Collected Editions, ed. Andrew Nash (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003), 95–110, and David McWhirter, Henry James's New York Edition: The Construction of Authorship (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999).

(9.) According to the annual catalogue to the Leipzig book fairs, for example, the yearly production of collected works in German went from an annual average of roughly five to seven in the years around 1800 to fifty- one by 1830. See the Allgemeines Verzeichniß der Bücher (Leipzig: Weidman, 1760–1850).

(10.) For a recent study on the format, see Andrew Nash, ed., The Culture of Collected Editions (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003). While there have been numerous studies on individual authors' editions, there has been relatively little work drawing attention to this format itself and its impact on writing and the shape of literary texts. In her work on the culture of reprinting in the nineteenth century, Meredith McGill has nicely illustrated how posthumous collected editions often elided the diverse publishing practices of nineteenth- century authors. See Meredith McGill, “Unauthorized Poe,” in American Literature and the Culture of Reprinting, 1834–1853 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003), 141–86. And yet by the early nineteenth century, the collected edition itself was an important example of such dramas of republication. It was not just an aftereffect that effaced a variety of other practices, but was one of those practices as well, one that influenced nineteenth-century writers in important and complex ways.

(11.) Tanselle writes: “But printed books … even when similarly mass- produced, are often seen to be in a class apart, exempt from the human urge to tinker and, more significantly, from the human inability to do the same thing twice.” G. Thomas Tanselle, A Rationale of Textual Criticism (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1989), 49. For William St. Clair it was less of a universal problem and more of a bibliographic fact that moveable type—as opposed to stereotype—tended to promote variety and not continuity between editions of a work during the romantic period. St. Clair writes: “The growth in books and reading brought about by the coming of print, by contrast, took the form of the production of more texts rather than of more copies of existing texts.” William St. Clair, The Reading Nation in the Romantic Period (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 22.

(12.) E. A. Poe, “Magazine- Writing,” Collected Writings, vol. 3, ed. Burton R. Pollin (New York: Gordian, 1986), 137. Friedrich Schlegel, “Vom kombinatorischen Geist,” Lessings Gedanken und Meinungen (1804), in Kritische Friedrich- Schlegel-Ausgabe, vol. 3, ed. Hans Eichner (München: Ferdinand Schöningh, 1967), 79–85.

(13.) See Christine Haynes, “An ‘Evil Genius’: The Construction of the Publisher in the Postrevolutionary Social Imaginary,” French Historical Studies 30, no. 4 (Fall 2007): 559–95.

(14.) Hillel Schwartz, The Culture of the Copy (Cambridge: Zone, 1996).

(15.) It is important to note here how, contra Benjamin, the romantic book precedes photography as a key medium for contemporaries to reflect upon the problem of technological reproducibility.

(16.) Dietmar Debes, Georg Joachim Göschen.

(17.) Siegfried Unseld, Goethe und seine Verleger, 147.

(19.) Waltraud Hagen, “Goethes Ausgabe letzter Hand: Entstehung und Bedeutung,” Marginalien 99 (1985): 1–22.

(20.) Siegfried Unseld, Goethe und seine Verleger, 147.

(21.) Georg Reimer to A. W. Schlegel, March 20, 1826. Cited in Doris Reimer, Passion und Kalkül: Der Verleger Georg Andreas Reimer (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1999), 148.

(22.) Tom Mole, “Ways of Seeing Byron,” in Byron: The Image of the Poet, ed. Christine Kenyon Jones (Newark: University of Delaware Press, forthcoming).

(23.) Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, “Year Zero: Faciality,” in A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, trans. Brian Massumi (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987), 167–191.

(24.) Ibid., 170.

(25.) Ibid., 180.

(26.) Nathaniel Hawthorne, “The Minister's Black Veil: A Parable,” Tales and Sketches (New York: Library of America, 1982), 372.

(27.) Oeuvres de J. J. Rousseau, avec des notes historiques, 22 vols. (Paris: Lefèvre, 1819).

(28.) Collection complète des oeuvres de J. J. Rousseau, Citoyen de Genève, 33 volumes (Genève, 1782).

(29.) Oeuvres de J. J. Rousseau, avec des notes historiques (1819), 1:xviii (emphasis in original).

(30.) The Works of Lord Byron, with his Letters and Journals, and His Life, by Thomas Moore, esq., 14 vols. (London: Murray, 1832), 7:vi.

(31.) J. W. Goethe, Aus meinem Leben: Dichtung und Wahrheit, in Sämtliche Werke, vol. 14, ed. Klaus-Detlef Müller (Frankfurt/Main: Deutscher Klassiker Verlag, 1986), 310.

(32.) Christof Windgätter, Medienwechsel: Vom Nutzen und Nachteil der Sprache für die Schrift (Berlin: Kadmos, 2006), 61.

(33.) Oeuvres de J. J. Rousseau, avec des notes historiques, 1:i (emphasis in original).

(34.) Wolfgang von Ungern- Sternberg, “C. M. Wieland und das Verlagswesen seiner Zeit.”

(35.) On copyright and reprinting in Germany, see Heinrich Bosse, Autorschaft ist Werk herrschaft: Über die Entstehung des Urheberrechts aus dem Geist der Goethezeit (München: Schöningh, 1981).

(36.) Wolfgang von Ungern-Sternberg, “C. M. Wieland,” 1472. Göschen's other tactic, again driven by the need to comply with legal norms, was to encourage Wieland to rewrite Agathon as much as possible. “Thus I implore you,” wrote Göschen, “change, improve, and increase the third part as much as possible.” Cited in Wolfgang von Ungern-Sternberg, “C. M. Wieland,” 1500.

(37.) Johann Gottlieb Fichte, “Beweis der Unrechtmäßigkeit des Büchernachdrucks,” Sämtliche Werke, vol. 8 (Berlin: Veit und Comp., 1846), 223–44.

(38.) Wolfgang von Ungern-Sternberg, “C. M. Wieland,” 1502.

(39.) Doris Reimer, Passion und Kalkül.

(40.) E. T. A. Hoffmann, Die Serapionsbrüder, in Sämtliche Werke, vol. 4, ed. Wulf Segebrecht (Frankfurt/Main: Deutscher Klassiker, 2001), 11. Parenthetical citations of SB are to this edition.

(41.) Meredith McGill, American Literature and the Culture of Reprinting, 1834–1853 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003).

(42.) Andreas Gailus, “Poetics of Containment: Goethe's Conversations of German Refugees and the Crisis of Representation,” Modern Philology 100, no. 3 (February 2003): 436–74.

(43.) Johann Peter Eckermann, Gespräche mit Goethe, in J. W. Goethe, Sämtliche Werke, vol. 39, ed. Christoph Michel (Frankfurt/Main: Deutscher Klassiker Verlag, 1999), 221.

(44.) Friedrich Schlegel, “Nachricht von den poetischen Werken des Johannes Boccaccio,” (p.264) Kritische Friedrich-Schlegel-Ausgabe, vol. 2, ed. Hans Eichner (München: Schöningh, 1967), 394.

(45.) Ludwig Tieck, Schriften, vol. 11 (Berlin, 1829), lxxxiv–xc. Cited in Josef Kunz, ed., Novelle (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1968), 53.

(46.) Alfred de Vigny, “Lettre à Lord *** sur la soirée du 24 Octobre 1829 et sur un système dramatique,” in Oeuvres complètes, v. 1 (Paris: Gallimard, 1986), 409.

(47.) Friedrich Schlegel, “Athenäums-Fragmente,” in Kritische Friedrich-Schlegel-Ausgabe, 2:219.

(48.) Ernst Behler, “Von der romantischen Kunstkritik zur modernen Hermeneutik,” in Ästhetische Moderne in Europa, ed. Vieltz und Kemper (München: Fink, 1998), 127–50.

(49.) For a review of this reception, see Uwe Japp, “Das serapiontische Prinzip,” Text + Kritik (1992): 63–75, and, more recently, H. M. Brown, E. T. A. Hoffmann and the Se rapiontic Principle: Critique and Creativity (Rochester: Camden House, 2006).

(50.) Sigmund Freud, “The Uncanny,” in The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works, trans. and ed. James Strachey, vol. 17 (London: Hogarth Press, 1955), 220.

(51.) This turn to look at the exteriorities and utterances in Hoffmann should be understood as an explicit reversal of canonical readings of Hoffmann inspired by Friedrich Kittler that have been aimed at understanding the technical conditions of such interiorities but that nonetheless still aim exclusively at unearthing a “psychological discourse.” Kittler writes: “It will be shown that Literature's descent into interiority is only the interior aspect of an exteriority that prescribed an entire literary epoch to speak psychologically.” Friedrich Kittler “‘Das Phantom unseres Ichs’ und die Literaturpsychologie: E. T. A. Hoffmann—Freud—Lacan,” in Urszenen, ed. Friedrich Kittler (Frankfurt/Main: Suhrkamp, 1977), 139.

(52.) Hoffmann to Reimer, January 2, 1821. Cited in Hoffmann, E. T. A. Hoffmanns Briefwechsel, 3 vols., ed. Friedrich Schnapp (München: Winkler, 1968), 2:282.

(53.) As Hoffmann has his characters tell us, this Serapion is not to be confused with the fourth- century Egyptian bishop, Serapion of Thmius, whose death would not have overlapped with the life of Emperor Decius (ca. AD 201–51). But there is a remarkable similarity between the fate of “Serapion” here and the historical fate of Cyprian, the bishop of Carthage, who shares the same name as the tale's narrator.

(54.) Peter von Matt, Die Augen der Automaten (Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1971), 16. For the argument that Serapion is chosen because he represents an alternative to the materialist position represented in the frame figure of Rat Krespel, who dissects violins to find out the secret of their sound, see Dorothea von Mücke, The Seduction of the Occult and the Rise of the Fantastic Tale (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003), 148–96.

(55.) On the shaping of reading as repetition in the romantic period, see Deidre Shauna Lynch, “Canons Clockwork,” in Bookish Histories, ed. Ina Ferris and Paul Keen (New York: Palgrave, forthcoming).

(56.) See Natalie Zemon Davis, The Return of Martin Guerre (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1983).

(57.) Eva Horn, “Prothesen: Der Mensch im Lichte des Maschinenbaus,” Mediale Anatomien, ed. Annette Keck und Nicolas Pethes (Bielefeld: Transcript, 2001), 193–210.

(58.) For an overview, see Andrew J. Webber, The Doppelgänger: Double Visions in German Literature (Oxford: Clarendon, 1996), and Christof Forderer, Ich- Eklipsen: Doppelgänger in der Literatur seit 1800 (Stuttgart: Metzler, 1999).

(59.) See “Quellen und Anregungen” in E. T. A. Hoffmann, Fantasiestücke in Callot's Manier, (p.265) in Sämtliche Werke, vol. 2.1, ed. Hartmut Steinecke (Frankfurt/Main: Deutscher Klassiker Verlag, 1993), 727–30.

(60.) H. R. Jauss, Studien zum Epochenwandel der ästhetischen Moderne (Frankfurt/Main: Suhrkamp, 1989). A similar argument is made about the ways in which the genre of the fantastic promotes a divided subjectivity that does not completely know itself in Dorothea von Mücke, “Unheimliche Verdoppelungen,” in Germanistik und Komparatistik: DFG- Symposium, ed. Hendrik Birus (Stuttgart: Metzler, 1993), 160–87.

(61.) Jürgen Barkhoff, “Inszenierung—Narration—his story: Zur Wissenspoetik im Mesmerismus und in E. T. A. Hoffmanns ‘Das Sanctus,’” in Romantische Wissenspoetik, ed. Gabrielle Brandstetter and Gerhard Neumann (Würzburg: Königshausen und Neumann, 2004), 91–122, at 93.

(62.) Christof Forderer, Ich-Eklipsen, 25.

(63.) In referring to the doubling function of “the uncanny,” Freud describes this act of psychological projection as “the subject's narcissistic overvaluation of his own mental processes.” Sigmund Freud, “The Uncanny,” Standard Edition, 17:263.

(64.) Friedrich Kittler, “Romanticism—Psychoanalysis—Film: A History of the Double,” in Literature, Media, Information Systems, ed. John Johnston (Amsterdam: G & B Arts, 1997), 90.

(65.) On the position of mesmerism within a history of communication and not just psycho history, see Jürgen Barkhoff, “Die Anwesenheit des Abwesenden im Netz: Kommunikative Vernetzung im Mesmerismus,” in Netzwerke: Eine Kulturtechnik der Moderne, ed. Jürgen Barkhoff, Hartmut Böhme, und Jeanne Riou (Köln: Böhlau, 2004), 69–86.

(66.) Koschorke writes: “The treatment can proceed wordless, without the need for mediating semiotic elements, through the immediate relaying of magnetic current.” Albrecht Koschorke, Körperströme und Schriftverkehr, 112.

(68.) For Hoffmann's connection to the rise of nineteenth- century hermeneutics, see David Wellbery, “E. T. A. Hoffmann and Romantic Hermeneutics: An Interpretation of Hoffmann's ‘Don Juan,’” Studies in Romanticism 19 (Winter 1980): 455–73.

(69.) For a discussion of the figure of the third as a figure of the channel, see Michel Serres, The Parasite, trans. Lawrence R. Schehr (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007), 34–39. For an extrapolation of Serres's argument, see Bernhard Siegert, “Cacography or Communication? Cultural Techniques in German Media Studies,” Grey Room 29 (Winter 2008): 26–47.

(70.) Meredith McGill, The Culture of Reprinting 156, 160.

(71.) For Neumann, it was the trope of “Anamorphose” that stood for the deformation and multiplication of perspective central to both Hoffmann's writing and the fundamental reorganization of perception in the nineteenth century, which the work of Jonathan Crary has done so much to identify. Gerhard Neumann, “Romantische Aufklärung: Zu E. T. A. Hoffmanns Wissenschaftspoetik,” in Aufklärung als Form: Beiträge zu einem historischen und aktuellen Problem, ed. Helmut Schmiedt und Helmut J. Schneider (Würzburg: K & N, 1997), 106–48; Gerhard Neumann, “Anamorphose: E. T. A. Hoffmanns Poetik der Defiguration,” in Mimesis und Simulation, ed. Andreas Kablitz and Gerhard Neumann (Freiburg, 1998), 377–417; and Gerhard Neumann, “Narration und Bildlichkeit: Zur Inszenierung eines romantischen Schicksalsmusters in E. T. A. Hoffmanns Novelle Doge und Dogaresse,” in Bild und Schrift in der Romantik, ed. Gerhard Neumann (Würzburg: Königshausen und Neumann, 1999), 107–42.

(72.) Nathaniel Hawthorne, “My Kinsman, Major Molineaux,” in Tales and Sketches (New York: Library of America, 1982), 83.

(73.) Bakhtin writes: “But any utterance, when it is studied in greater depth under the concrete conditions of speech communication, reveals to us many half- concealed or completely concealed words of others with varying degrees of foreignness.” M. M. Bakhtin, “The Problem of Speech Genres,” in Speech Genres and Other Late Essays, trans. Vern W. McGee (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2002), 93.

(75.) That this condition of availability is a key feature of environments of mass communication is argued by John B. Thompson: “The products of the media industries are available in principle to a plurality of recipients. They are produced in multiple copies or transmitted to a multiplicity of receivers in such a way that they are available in principle to anyone who has the technical means, abilities and resources to acquire them.” John B. Thompson, Media and Modernity (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1995), 30.

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