The Nutcracker

Hardcover | October 8, 2014

byE. T. A. HoffmannTranslated byJoachim Neugroschel

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One of six beloved Christmas classics in collectible hardcover editions
Written in 1816 by one of the leaders of German Romanticism for his children, nephews, and nieces, The Nutcracker captures better than any other story a child’s wonder at Christmas. The gift of a handsomely decorated nutcracker from a mysterious uncle sets the stage for a Christmas Eve like no other for the little girl Marie. That night, Marie’s extraordinary present comes to life, defends her from the taunting Mouse King, and whisks her off to the Kingdom of Dolls. The inspiration for the classic ballet, E. T. A. Hoffmann’s irresistible tale of magic and childhood adventure continues to captivate readers of all ages. Today, many of the most enchanting symbols of Christmas, from nutcrackers to sugar plums to mistletoe, are still imbued with the power of this story.
Penguin Christmas Classics
Give the gift of literature this Christmas.
Penguin Christmas Classics honor the power of literature to keep on giving through the ages. The six volumes in the series are not only our most beloved Christmas tales, they also have given us much of what we love about the holiday itself. A Christmas Carol revived in Victorian England such Christmas hallmarks as the Christmas tree, holiday cards, and caroling. The Yuletide yarns of Anthony Trollope popularized throughout the British Empire and around the world the trappings of Christmas in London. The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus created the origin story for the presiding spirit of Christmas as we know it. The holiday tales of Louisa May Alcott shaped the ideal of an American Christmas. The Night Before Christmas brought forth some of our earliest Christmas traditions as passed down through folk tales. And The Nutcracker inspired the most famous ballet in history, one seen by millions in the twilight of every year.
Beautifully designed hardcovers—with foil-stamped jackets, decorative endpapers, and nameplates for personalization—in a small trim size that makes them perfect stocking stuffers, Penguin Christmas Classics embody the spirit of giving that is at the heart of our most time-honored stories about the holiday.
Collect all six Penguin Christmas Classics:
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Christmas at Thompson Hall: And Other Christmas Stories by Anthony Trollope
The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum
A Merry Christmas: And Other Christmas Stories by Louisa May Alcott
The Night Before Christmas by Nikolai Gogol
The Nutcracker by E. T. A. Hoffmann

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

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From the Publisher

One of six beloved Christmas classics in collectible hardcover editions Written in 1816 by one of the leaders of German Romanticism for his children, nephews, and nieces, The Nutcracker captures better than any other story a child’s wonder at Christmas. The gift of a handsomely decorated nutcracker from a mysterious uncle sets the st...

E. T. A. Hoffmann (1776–1822) was one of the best known and most influential authors of his time. Phantasiestücke, his earliest collection of tales, appeared in 1814. This was followed three years later by Nachstücke and then in 1819–21 by Die Serapoins brüder. Among his longer works is his second and final novel, Die Lebensansichten d...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:128 pages, 7.56 × 5.25 × 0.61 inPublished:October 8, 2014Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0143122509

ISBN - 13:9780143122500


Rated 5 out of 5 by from No Regrets Some may label this one as a childhood classic, others, a classic. All I know is that it's delightful to turn pages that are well written with extra eye candy in the margins. The Intro to the book was insightful and the brief author's bio informative and a nice touch. I wish all books could be like this. It's a timeless treasure and one that now has definitely earned a permanent spot on my shelf.
Date published: 2014-12-09

Extra Content

Read from the Book

 Christmas EveFOR THE ENTIRE TWENTY-FOURTH OF DECEMBER, the children of Medical Officer Stahlbaum were not permitted to step inside the intermediary room, much less the magnificent showcase next door. Fritz and Marie sat huddled together in a corner of the back room. The deep evening dusk had set in, and the children felt quite eerie because, as was usual on this day, no light had been brought in. Fritz quite secretly whispered to his younger sister (she had just turned seven) that he had heard a rustling and murmuring and soft throbbing in the locked rooms since early that morning. Also, not so long ago (Fritz went on), a short, dark man with a large casket under his arm had stolen across the vestibule. However, said Fritz, he knew quite well that it was none other than Godfather Drosselmeier.Marie joyfully clapped her little hands and exclaimed: “Ah, I wonder what lovely presents he’s made for us!”Supreme Court Justice Drosselmeier was anything but handsome. He was short and scrawny, his face was covered with wrinkles, and he wore a big, black patch instead of a right eye. He also had no hair on his head, which is why he sported a very lovely periwig made of spun glass and very artistic. Indeed, the godfather was altogether a very artistic man, who even knew a thing or two about clocks and could actually build them. So if any of the beautiful clocks in Stahlbaum’s home fell ill and couldn’t sing, Godfather Drosselmeier would come by, remove his glass periwig, take off his snug yellow vest, tie on a blue apron, and insert sharp instruments into the gears. It was very painful for little Marie, but it didn’t harm the clock at all. In fact, the clock even grew lively, and it started cheerfully humming, striking, and singing again, much to everyone’s delight.Whenever Drosselmeier visited them, he would bring something nice for the children. His pocket might contain a manikin that could twist its eyes and bow—which was comical to see. Or Drosselmeier might have a box from which a little bird came hopping out, or he might have something utterly different. But for Christmas, Drosselmeier always completed a gorgeous artistic work, which cost him a great effort. That is why, after showing the gift, the parents very cautiously stored it away.“Ah, I wonder what lovely presents he’s made for us,” Marie exclaimed.Fritz decided that this year it could be nothing but a fortress, where all kinds of very handsome soldiers drilled and marched to and fro. Next, other soldiers would have to storm and invade the fortress. But now the inside soldiers boldly shot their cannons, making them boom and burst.“No, no!” Marie interrupted Fritz. “Godfather Drosselmeier told me about a beautiful park with a huge lake and with marvelous swans gliding about and wearing gold neckbands and singing the loveliest songs. Then a little girl comes to the lake and entices the swans and feeds them sweet marzipan.”“Swans don’t eat marzipan,” Fritz broke in quite roughly, “and Godfather Drosselmeier can’t make a whole park. Actually, we get little out of his toys. They’re promptly taken away from us. So I much prefer what Mama and Papa give us. We can keep their presents nicely and do whatever we like with them.”Now the children debated what their parents would bring them. Marie felt that Fräulein Trutchen (her large doll) was changing deeply. For, clumsier than ever, she fell on the floor every moment. This didn’t happen without a nasty grin, and there was no further thought of the cleanliness of her garments. Nor did a thorough scolding help. Also, Mama, we are told, smiled with such delight at Gretchen’s small parasol. Fritz, by contrast, assured the others that his royal stable lacked a good sorrel, just as his troops fully lacked a cavalry—Papa was well aware of that.So the children knew that their parents had bought them all kinds of beautiful presents, which they now displayed. But the children were also certain that the dear Holy Christ shone upon them with the pious and friendly eyes of children. And they were equally convinced that, as if touched by fruitful hands, every Christmas gift would bring marvelous pleasure like no other.The children, who kept whispering about the expected presents, were reminded of that pleasure by their older sister, Luise. And they added that it was now also the Holy Christ, who, through the hands of their dear parents, always gave them whatever real joy and pleasure He could bring them. Indeed, He knew that a lot better than did the children themselves, who didn’t have to nurture all sorts of hopes and wishes. Rather, they had to wait, still and pious, for their Christmas presents.Little Marie grew pensive, while Fritz murmured to himself: “I’d love to have a sorrel and Hussars.”By now it had grown completely dark. Fritz and Marie, thoroughly pressed together, did not dare say another word. It sounded as if rustling wings encircled them, and as if they could catch a very distant and very splendid music. A bright shine grazed the wall, and now the children knew that the Christ Child had flown away on radiant clouds, flown to other happy children.At that moment, they heard a bright silvery chime: “Klingling, klingling!”The doors burst open, and the radiance erupting into the large room was so deep that the children cried out: “Ah! Ah!” and they halted on the threshold, petrified.But then Mama and Papa stepped in, took the children by the hand, and said: “Come on, come on, you dear children, and look what the Holy Christ has brought you.”The GiftsI TURN TO YOU, GENTLE READER OR LISTENER—Fritz, Theodor, Emst—or whatever your name may be, and I picture you vividly at your last Christmas table, which is richly adorned with gorgeous, multicolored presents. You will then envisage how the children halted, in silence and with shining eyes. You will then envision how, after a while, Marie cried out with a deep sigh: “Ah! How beautiful! Ah! How beautiful!” And Fritz tried out his caprioles, which were very successful. But the children had to have been devout and well behaved the entire year, for never had they had such splendid and such beautiful gifts as this time.

Editorial Reviews

“For lit nerds and loved ones who are notoriously hard to shop for, you can’t go wrong with these festively bound classics. . . . Their size makes them perfectly stocking-stuffable.” —Entertainment Weekly, “The Must List” “Leave it to the folks at Penguin—who gave us Gothed-out editions of horror classics for Halloween—to package these . . . slim Yuletide-themed volumes.” —Newsday, “Best Books to Give as Holiday Gifts” “Remember how Christmas was celebrated before Black Friday with these 19th-century authors, in small uniform volumes wrapped in pretty jackets.” —USA Today, “Holiday Gift Books So Pretty, No Need to Wrap” “Beautifully designed.” —The Washington Post