Ernst Theodor Wilhelm Hoffman, (the A in his pen name stands for Amadeus, out of admiration for Mozart), was one of the most influential German writers in his time. He is credited with instigating the Romantic movement, creating the first detective story, introducing themes of the supernatural and psychological abnormality to the literary world, and inspiring many eminent writers and composers. Tchaikovsky's ballet «The Nutcracker» is based on his «Nutcracker and Mouse King». Hoffmann had a taste for the macabre, lending to tales that interweave fantasy with realism. This collection of stories, his «Weird Tales», includes «Mademoiselle de Scudéri,» the story of an illusive master goldsmith who will go to violent lengths to not be parted from his creations; «Signor Formica,» the hilarious tale of the famous Italian artist Salvator Rosa and his assistance in the marriage of two friends; «The Sand-man» and many others. All told this edition brings together the eleven tales contained in volumes one and two of Hoffmann's «Weird Tales».
The Nutcracker and the Mouse King is a story written in 1816 by E. T. A. Hoffmann in which young Marie Stahlbaum's favorite Christmas toy, the Nutcracker, comes alive. After defeating the evil Mouse King in battle, her handsome Nutcracker whisks her away to a magical kingdom populated by dolls.