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This essay discusses E.T.A. Hoffmann’s late novella My Cousin’s Corner Window. On the one hand, Hoffmann’s text offers a narratological experiment on how to best represent the experience of seeing the modern city, and combines to that end Enlightenment, Romantic, and Modern aesthetics. On the other hand, the text paints a portrait of the people of post-Napoleonic Berlin at a time of intense state surveillance. Hoffmann defies such state control by means of an ironic meta-narrative perspective that remains invisible to the watchful eye of the censor.


This work was originally published in "Romanticism and the City," edited by Larry H. Peer.



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