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Fantasies of Home: Heimat in E. T. A. Hoffmann's 'Haimatochare'

Dickson, P

Fantasies of Home: Heimat in E. T. A. Hoffmann's 'Haimatochare' Thumbnail



E. T. A. Hoffmann's Haimatochare, an epistolary fiction set in Hawaii, defamiliarizes the narrative of an erotic colonial fantasy by coaxing the reader into the assumption that its alluring central figure is an Indigenous woman and then revealing her to be an insect. This article studies the dynamics of misapprehension within the text, beginning with Walter Benjamin's misreading of its title as “Heimatochare,” a mistake that has proved strangely persistent in the critical literature. By reading Haimatochare alongside Der Sandmann, the article shows how Haimatochare introduces a web of “Heimat”-related terms that both solicit the misreading and indicate the insect's identity such that the central revelation is already partially intuited and thus takes on an uncanny aspect. Furthermore, in making “Heimat” present across the narrative and then destabilizing it, the text unfolds an experience of “Heimweh,” where home is both fantasy and sickness at once.


Dickson, P. (2023). Fantasies of Home: Heimat in E. T. A. Hoffmann's 'Haimatochare'. The German Quarterly, 96(1), 6-21.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 12, 2022
Online Publication Date Mar 2, 2023
Publication Date 2023
Deposit Date Nov 16, 2022
Publicly Available Date Apr 17, 2023
Journal German Quarterly
Print ISSN 0016-8831
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 96
Issue 1
Pages 6-21


Published Journal Article (120 Kb)

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Copyright Statement
© 2023 The Author. The German Quarterly published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of American Association of Teachers of German.

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.

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