Gloomy premonitions plagued Schumann whilst he was working on his latest composition in 1839. The news that his brother Eduard was dying had deeply shaken him. "Writing a ‘Corpse Fantasy' since Monday," he wrote in his diary on 31 March. While he was preparing the composition for publication three-quarters of a year later, he chose the title "Night Pieces" with reference to E. T. A. Hoffmann. However, Schumann probably did not want the work to be perceived as being so nocturnal and dark, because he associated with it the desire that it should "pleasantly remind" one of his brother, who had in the meantime died.