The obvious strength of this dissertation is the originality of its conceptual framework. Swann succeeds in isolating and defining certain basic techniques which Hoffmann utilizes in his varied portrayals of the fantastic. Since this has not been accomplished by previous Hoffmann scholarship, Swann’s results are of considerable consequence.
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Apart from a predilection for numbers and columns, Swann is a sensitive, imaginative, and circumspect close reader . . . Particularly his searching and perceptive analyses of ambiguity in Die Bergwerke zu Falun and in Das öde Haus display an agile literary intelligence.