E. T. A. Hoffmann was a German writer, composer and painter, best known for his short stories and novels. Born in Königsberg, Prussia, the son of a barrister, he followed in his father’s footsteps and went on to study law at the University of Königsberg. After working for the Prussian government in Germany and Poland, he turned his attention to writing. He wrote over fifty short stories and showed particular interest in exploring the darker side of humanity. Many of his stories were a direct response to the social and political events of his time. The Nutcracker and the Mouse King is among his most famous stories.