This chapter presents an alchemical reading of E. T. A. Hoffmann's 1815 tale “The Sandman.” For the modern critic, this text has become inextricable from Freud's 1919 essay “Das Unheimliche” (“The Uncanny”). Separated by a century, both texts were written with an eye toward the second part of the tale, the explosive trauma caused to Nathanael by Olympia, the automaton, and by the evil barometer seller Coppola. Given Freud's interest in repression, it would seem particularly important to concentrate on the protagonist's early life as it emerges in the tale and in Freud's analysis.
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