Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

Holy Linden

Holy Linden. Remote monastery in Prussia in which the monk Medardus (whose given name is Franz) spends his first eighteen months. At its center is a linden tree whose silver-covered trunk is inscribed with an image of the Virgin Mary. The colorful decorations in its chapel are the work of a mysterious foreign painter. (Hoffmann’s own birthplace, Königsberg, was in Prussia).


B. Although this name is unexplained in the text, B. undoubtedly stands for Bamberg, the German town in which Hoffmann worked as a theater producer from 1808 to 1813, before bankruptcy forced him to move on. It is the location of two crucial religious establishments, the first being the Cistercian convent where Franz’s mother obtains refuge, near to which he spends the remainder of his childhood, and where Aurelia eventually takes the veil. The other is the Capuchin monastery where Franz becomes Brother Medardus under the tutelage of Leonardus, eventually assuming responsibility for the relic chamber, whose treasures include the diabolical wine acquired by Saint Anthony in the course of his temptation. The monastery’s chapel has an altar dedicated to Saint Rosalia, which bears the image of Medardus’ temptress. The monastery is the final destination of Peter Schönfeld as well as Medardus.

Baron F.’s palace

Baron F.’s palace. House situated in an Alpine valley where Medardus plays a dual role after seeing his doppelgänger, Count Victor, apparently fall to his death. There he encounters Aurelia again, recognizing her as Saint Rosalia’s double. In the painter’s narrative it is the location of the Blue Room where a...

(The entire section is 695 words.)


(Great Characters in Literature)

Cobb, Palmer. The Influence of E. T. A. Hoffmann on the Tales of Edgar Allan Poe. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1908. Includes discussion of the two authors’ use of the double.

Daemmrich, Horst S. The Shattered Self: E. T. A. Hoffmann’s Tragic Vision. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1973. Explores the divisions of the self in The Devil’s Elixirs and Hoffmann’s shorter works.

Herdman, John. The Double in Nineteenth-Century Fiction. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1991. Chapter 4, subsection 2, is a detailed analysis of The Devil’s Elixirs.

Negus, Kenneth. E. T. A. Hoffmann’s Other World. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1965. A study of Hoffmann’s use of the supernatural.

Passage, Charles E. “E. T. A. Hoffmann’s The Devil’s Elixirs: A Flawed Masterpiece.” In Journal of English and Germanic Philology 75, no. 4 (October, 1976): 531-545. A detailed account of the novel.