E.T.A. Hoffmann's original story, "Nutcracker and Mouse King," is darker and spookier than the ballet version most people know.
Credit Courtesy of Crown
Maurice Sendak worked on a version of The Nutcracker for the Pacific Northwest Ballet in 1983, and put out a book in 1984. He described Hoffmann's story as having "bite and muscle, the way the Grimm fairy tales do."
This is the time of year when one man's work is widely — if indirectly — celebrated. His name used to be hugely famous, but nowadays, it draws blank stares, even from people who know that work. We're speaking about E.T.A. Hoffmann, original author of The Nutcracker.