By Martin Cid
I think I have not yet awakened
Exquisite and macabre, psychological and grandly miserable, ETA Hoffmann stands as one of the leading representatives of Romanticism in its most unattainable and sometimes less well known version: the musical.
The Greeks had already spoken of this last meaning of life: the paradox between the intimate desire of survival and the tragic human conscience (the conscience of our death). Is this the point where the idea of God appears? Romanticism is more than a historical period, the movement takes the essence of our tragic life and updates it, removing it to the echo of our deranged minds … It is the quest for survival through art and it is the first of the modern art movements, and the oldest of its manifestations.
Oedipus had already known his fate as Hoffman knew his end.
Iambic verse becomes chamber music in the sentences of an author (also a composer) who becomes psychologist before H. James, surrealist before Joyce and mythological before T.S. Elliot.
I drank the elixir of the devil and my mind became my double. You may not recognize him because although he is my equal, he only exists in my texts.
We are faced with tormented characters in search of themselves, digging through forbidden pleasures and boasting of the evils of their doubles. Hoffman paints on the canvas of a furious Dorian Gray looking into his crystal ball and he hears Oedipus, drinking absinthe, to forget the deep pleasure he takes to lie with his mother.
Dorian Gray is reborn every night to get lost in Hoffman’s literary dreams.
Hoffmann was not as recognized as Edgar Allan Poe, his renowned successor … more literary and more authentic, more visionary and passionate and sincere and mean and magnificent.
And more literary.
Last night I woke up trapped among the pages of a tale by Hoffmann.
I think it has not yet dawned.
It echoes the chorus which speaks of nymphs and enchanted summer nights.
As I look at my cup, I can see the present and the future, as if they merged into a single drop of my delirious double.
I dream with Don Juan and Faust, I dream in my dream that I was deceived by a false awakening. I dream that I write a dull sentence about the whispers of a ghost and, slowly, the whispers become a litany of fears
Am I Don Juan or my dream is a joke?
I think I have not yet awakened.
I think I have never awakened.