The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (Illustrated and Annotated)
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In this new edition:
- The 1853 Edition translated from the German of Hoffmann by Mrs. St. Simon with four illustrations on wood. The original text has not been changed.
- Followed by E.T.A. Hoffmann, A Biographical Memoir.
Originally published in Weird Tales, by E. T. W. Hoffmann; a new translation from the German with a biographical memoir by J. T. Bealby, B.A., formerly scholar of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge in two volumes. New York, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1885.
"The Nutcracker and the Mouse King" (German: Nussknacker und Mausekönig) is a story written in 1816 by Prussian author E. T. A. Hoffmann, in which young Marie Stahlbaum's favourite Christmas toy, the Nutcracker, comes alive and, after defeating the evil Mouse King in battle, whisks her away to a magical kingdom populated by dolls. In 1892, the Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and choreographers Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov turned Alexandre Dumas's adaptation of the story into the ballet The Nutcracker.
The story begins on Christmas Eve, at the Stahlbaum house. Marie, seven, and her brother, Fritz, eight, sit outside the parlour speculating about what kind of present their Godfather, Drosselmeier, who is a clockmaker and inventor, has made for them. They are at last allowed in, where they receive many splendid gifts, including Drosselmeier's, which turns out to be a clockwork castle with mechanical people moving about inside it. However, as they can only do the same thing over and over without variation, the children quickly tire of it. At this point, Marie notices a nutcracker, and asks to whom he belongs. Her father tells her that he belongs to all of them, but that since she is so fond of him she will be his special caretaker. She, Fritz, and their sister, Louise, pass him amongst themselves, cracking nuts, until Fritz tries to crack one that is too big and hard, and the nutcracker's jaw breaks. Marie, upset, takes him away and bandages him with a ribbon from her dress.
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Mrs. St. Simon