Mann: Tonio Kroger SPOILERS THREAD
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I apologize for no umlaut.
Just finished this. I found it a tough read. Mann often has his characters roaming around in a fog, trying not to think about important things in their lives--which is not my way of dealing with life at all. I just want to yell, "Wake Up."
The suffering for art thing doesn't do anything for me either.
But I enjoyed the descriptions of the boarding house and the sea in the final section.
Edited for grammar
I read this last year, I think, after first reading in college Lo! these many years ago. I was struck by Mann's achievement in avoiding complete stereotyping when contrasting the artistic and bourgeoise / rational aspects of Tonio's personality. Major caveat: I read it in the German, my primary motivation for picking up the book again, and I'm certain I missed a lot due to the language rather than to Mann's writing.
I was reminded of Chaim Potok's Asher Lev, which I own but have not yet read. Seemed like similar themes explored, and perhaps in both cases the inspiration was autobiographical.
Mann certainly wants to make the bourgeoise look like a reasonable option. He even says so at the end of the story, but I think he makes a better case for it in Buddenbrooks than here.
I read Asher Lev when I was 18 and enjoyed it. As I remember it, Lev is more at odds with his community's religious culture rather than middle-class values, but struggles with religious cultures are an abiding interest of mine, so I would have paid more attention to that, even if the other was present.
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