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Buddenbrooks: the Decline of a Family (Vintage International)

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Before Buddenbrooks Mann had written only short stories, which had been collected under the title Der kleine Herr Friedemann (1898, Little Herr Friedemann). They portrayed spiritually challenged figures who struggle to find happiness in (or at the margins of) bourgeois society. Similar themes appear in the Buddenbrooks, but in a fully developed style that already reflects the mastery of narrative, subtle irony of tone, and rich character descriptions of Mann's mature fiction. L’azione prende l’avvio nel 1835 con una cena di festeggiamento per la casa in cui la famiglia si è appena trasferita. Un’abitazione di grande pregio che rispecchia il successo ormai consolidato. This ambivalence found full expression in his first novel, Buddenbrooks, which Mann had at first intended to be a novella in which the experience of the transcendental realities of Wagner’s music would extinguish the will to live in the son of a bourgeois family. On this beginning, the novel builds the story of the family and its business house over four generations, showing how an artistic streak not only unfits the family’s later members for the practicalities of business life but undermines their vitality as well. But, almost against his will, in Buddenbrooks Mann wrote a tender elegy for the old bourgeois virtues. All occurrences in the lives of the characters are seen by the narrator and the family members in relation to the family trade business: the sense of duty and destiny accompanying it as well as the economic consequences that events bring. Through births, marriages, and deaths, the business becomes almost a fetish or a religion, especially for some characters, notably Thomas and his sister Tony. The treatment of the female main character Tony Buddenbrook in the novel resembles the 19th-century realists ( Flaubert's Madame Bovary and Tolstoy's Anna Karenina), but from a more ironic and less tragic point of view.

In 1905 Mann married Katja Pringsheim. There were six children of the marriage, which was a happy one. It was this happiness, perhaps, that led Mann, in Royal Highness, to provide a fairy-tale reconciliation of “form” and “life,” of degenerate feudal authority and the vigour of modern American capitalism. In 1912, however, he returned to the tragic dilemma of the artist with Death in Venice, a sombre masterpiece. In this story, the main character, a distinguished writer whose nervous and “decadent” sensibility is controlled by the discipline of style and composition, seeks relaxation from overstrain in Venice, where, as disease creeps over the city, he succumbs to an infatuation and the wish for death. Symbols of eros and death weave a subtle pattern in the sensuous opulence of this tale, which closes an epoch in Mann’s work. World War I and political crisisThe sentences are laboriously convoluted, sometimes leaving me without any kind of overview on how this sentence may be structured. The writing style is not difficult to read and understand, though - Mann is able to write engaging chapters, using exactly the right lengths and engaging his readers by creating an interesting atmosphere and allowing you to easily imagine the setting in front of your imaginary eye. And there is a certain subtlety about his humor, which I was personally able to enjoy a lot. Los verdaderos protagonistas de la historia son Tony y Thomas, hermanos que vamos a ver desde niños hasta el final de sus días y que ocupan la mayor parte de la trama, y así como el inicio del libro y la primera parte (más protagonizada por Tony) es mucho más ligera y optimista, la segunda, protagonizada por su hermano Thomas y su hijo deja un regusto amargo por la tristeza que desprende. He amado profundamente ambos personajes y creo que son de esos que no se me irán nunca d

How could Katia Pringsheim have gone on to marry Thomas Mann if she had ever read his first novel, Buddenbrooks beforehand? The long story of a families multifaceted decline across four generations features mental anguish, bankruptcy, insanity, and no happy marriages.The Magician,” deft and diligent as it is, ultimately diminishes the imperial strangeness of Mann’s nature. He comes across as a familiar, somewhat pitiable creature—a closeted man who occasionally gives in to his desires. The real Mann never gave in to his desires, but he also never really hid them. Gay themes surfaced in his writing almost from the start, and he made clear that his stories were autobiographical. When, in 1931, he received a newspaper questionnaire asking about his “first love,” he replied, in essence, “Read ‘Tonio Kröger.’ ” Likewise, of “Death in Venice” he wrote, “Nothing is invented.” Gay men saw the author as one of their own. When the composer Ned Rorem was young, he took a front-row seat at a Mann lecture, hoping to distract the eminence on the dais with his hotness. “He never looked,” Rorem reported. Johann “Jean” Buddenbrook, Jr., called The Consul, his serious-looking, aquiline-nosed, blond-bearded first son by his second wife. Jean combines the sentimentalist and the businessman. He rejoices over a happy family gathering, worries about the alienation of his half brother, Gotthold, from the family, and then advises coolly that Gotthold’s request for money be denied because of likely future results to both family and firm. Jean’s pietism seems foreign to the other Buddenbrooks, whose religion is superficial and confined to conventional sentiments proper to people of their class.

Often, the outward and visible material signs and symbols of happiness and success only show themselves when the process of decline has already set in. The outer manifestations take time - like the light of that star up there, which may in reality be already quenched, when it looks to us to be shining its brightest.”Morten Schartzkopf ( MOHR-tehn SCHAHRTS-kopf), a charming, serious-minded, liberal-thinking but naïve medical student whose brief romance with Tony is broken up when Grünlich reports to Morten’s father a prior claim on Tony. E’ più bella la descrizione delle gite al mare, quelle di Antonia ragazza che incontra il suo primo amore e quelle di suo nipote Hanno molti anni dopo; o quella della festa di Natale nella casa dei genitori, con i rituali familiari, gli eccessi alimentari, le riflessioni malinconiche che tutti, almeno qualche volta nella vita, abbiamo sperimentato il giorno di Natale?

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