Vicky's Reviews > Nutcracker and Mouse King and the Tale of the Nutcracker

Nutcracker and Mouse King and the Tale of the Nutcracker by E.T.A. Hoffmann
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's review
Dec 17, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: classiques
Read from December 17 to 27, 2011

It was a pleasurable read, especially since we've taken our four years old to see the ballet three weeks ago and she's been talking about "Casse-Noisette" ever since. She even asked Santa Claus for one, and it's her favorite gift! Even thought I've seen the ballet countless times, I had never read the tales and I found it amusing to read both Hoffman's tale and Duma's, although he says in the beginning that it is Hoffman's tale... It did make me wonder if it wasn't simply a translation? A liberal one, agreed, kind of like Baudelaire's tranlations of Poe which has gained so much in the process that it has almost become a common work, well maybe not as much as that but you get my point!

I was expecting something quite different, I was surprised at the similarities. I mean what is the interest of publishing a book that contains both versions if the two are so alike, who besides the litterary types would enjoy such a book, it's not exactly mainstream, it targets a very specific audience. But then again I didn't exactly read this book, I read both Hoffman's and Duma's tales but from different books and in French (can't read Dumas in English, and Hoffman is a translation anyway so I figured I might as well read it in French) so I'm left wondering if both version in the edition that was featured as a group read were very different? I'd love an answer from those who actually read that edition, maybe the translation I read (by Émile de la Bédollière) was simply very close to Dumas?...

Don't get me wrong the stories weren't identical but they were extremely close, not only in the "big lines" but in some of the détails as well, too close to warrant, in my opinion, both being published under the same cover... but since there's been so many traductions, who knows...

As for my personnal impressions, well I enjoyed Hoffman's tale, which I read first, for all that isn't part of the ballet and added to the story that I knew through the ballet. I have to admit it was more of an intellectual interest and although I did enjoy it I wasn't really charmed or caught in the story. I kept Dumas for last knowing I'm already sold to Dumas, I've been a fan fo what seems like forever. I recognized his voice right away, that talented story teller voice who's been charming me for so long, dare I say seducing me, and I tremendously enjoyed it, having fun at discovering once more that the story is not all but that the teller makes such a différence!

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Reading Progress

12/23/2011 page 47
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