E. T. A. Hoffmann

The Strange Child

Illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger
(German title: Das fremde Kind)
ca. 86 pages
E. T. A. Hoffmann

E. T. A. Hoffmann

E.T.A. Hoffmann was born in Königsberg/Prussia on January 24, 1776. He was a jurist, conductor, composer, music critic, painter and writer. His most famous works include The Devil’s Elixirs, The Serapion Brethren and The Life and Opinions of the Tomcat Murr. He died in Berlin on June 25, 1822.

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Text by E. T. A. Hoffmann in the public domain, illustration rights available

»I don’t know why I have to believe in your fairy tales today.«


Siblings Christlieb and Felix von Brakel live in the countryside with their parents. One day, their rich, worldly uncle Cyprianus comes to visit and brings them a »modern« mechanic toy from the city. He promises to provide them with a »suitable« private tutor so that they won’T »fall behind«. But the promised tutor, Master Tinte clad in black, turns out to be a sadist who hates children. And so they ask the magical »strange child«, whom they met on their walks in the woods, for help.

A fairy tale – suitable for adults: E. T. A. Hoffmann’s masterful story, published in the collection The Serapion Brethren in 1819, is presented as a complete stand-alone edition for the first time in the Insel-Bücherei, illustrated by the incomparable Lisbeth Zwerger.


»Lisbeth Zwerger is a magician who enchants us with her illustrations.« Andreas Platthaus, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Other publications

Das Fräulein von Scudéri/Mademoiselle de Scudéri (2019)

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Text by E. T. A. Hoffmann in the public domain, illustration rights available