"Tales of Hoffmann" by E.T.A. Hoffmann
Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffman died in 1822, in the midst of a government inquiry into his "treasonable activities." He was a talented man, being not only a writer, but also a composer, conductor, and artist of some stature in Germany. He was also good at poking fun at the wrong people, as evidenced by his troubled career in the Prussian civil service.
Hoffmann is placed within the Romantic period, and his stories often bring Hugo and Mary Shelley to mind. The first and most famous of his tales, "Mademoiselle de Scudery," is set in Paris and is something of a detective story. Echoes of "Les Miserables" can be detected here, though Hoffmann's native ingenuity is evident throughout.
The second of these tales is "The Sandman," which is a prototypical science fiction story. It is one of the more original things I've read in a while, and resembles some of Poe's work. This is no accident, since Hoffmann was a big influence on Poe.
All of the other stories in this collection are good, "The Artushof" being my favorite. If you are a fan of Poe, or even of the more recent fabulists like Italo Calvino, you will find a lot to like in Hoffmann.