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The theme of death as treated by Thomas Mann with special refercne to Buddenbrooks, Der tod in Venedig and der zauberberg

Harker, Jillian Kay (1977) The theme of death as treated by Thomas Mann with special refercne to Buddenbrooks, Der tod in Venedig and der zauberberg. Masters thesis, Durham University.



The main characters in Thomas Mann's early works are often men whose imagination and sensitivity detract from their ability to take part in active, practical life. Creative activity is linked with sickness and often with death. The death theme is thus a facet of Mann’s preoccupation with the antithesis of 'nature' and 'spirit' in man, death being viewed as a spiritualising principle. Mann’s treatment of the death theme is viewed here as evidence of a concern with man's search for a meaningful existence. Buddenbrooks examines the rapport between the individual and the society in which he lives. The work depicts the increasing alienation of man from a society which offers less and less room for personal expression. This alienation finally results in an embrace of death as release from the pain of existence. Tonic Kroger offers hope of a balance between 'nature' and 'spirit' but the balance is precarious. In der Tod in Venedig suppressed 'nature' erupts and Aschenbach surrenders to dissoluteness and eventually death. Der Zauberberg represents a stage of development in Mann's thought when concepts which dominate the early works are re-examined and reassessed. The work is an exhaustive attempt to establish the significance of death and its relationship to life. The works discussed in this thesis are seen as showing signs of a balanced attitude even before Der Zauberberg. While the artist in Mann's nature tends to show a sympathy with death, the bourgeois side of his personality points out the dangers of such an attitude. Der Zauberberg represents Mann's criticism of one-sided attitudes in favour of a notion of totality. Life and death are seen as inseparable.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1977
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Mar 2014 16:28

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