Art and its Uses in Thomas Mann's Felix Krull

Ernest Schonfield

Bithell Series of Dissertations 32

MHRA Texts and Dissertations 70

Maney Publishing for the Modern Humanities Research Association and the Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies

1 August 2008  •  212pp

ISBN: 978-1-905981-05-2 (hardback)  •  RRP £21.99, $32.99, €27.50

ISBN: 978-1-781880-72-2 (JSTOR ebook)

ISBN: 978-1-123144-29-1 (Google ebook)  •  RRP £4.95

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ModernGermanFiction


The turn of the twentieth century was a time of identity crisis for the upper and middle classes, one in which increased social mobility caused the blurring of traditional boundaries and created a need for reference works such as the British Who's Who (1897). At the same time, the rise of a new leisure industry and an increase in international travel led to a boom period for confidence men, who frequently operated in hotels and holiday resorts. Thomas Mann's Felix Krull, written between 1910-13 and continued (though never completed) in 1951-54, uses contemporary accounts of these figures as a starting-point from which to explore the aesthetics of society. The early Krull marks an important stage in Mann's development in a number of respects. In writing it, Mann acquired a more flexible conception of identity and a new understanding of the relation between artist and public.

Krull also signals a deeper engagement with Goethe and a shift in Mann's work towards a more open treatment of sexuality. The novel presents art as being central to the development of the individual and to social interaction. While Krull is nominally a confidence man, he is more of a performance artist, a purveyor of beauty who relies upon the complicity of his audience. The later Krull takes up where Mann left off and continues the justification of art as an essential human activity. This study draws upon unpublished material in order to provide a comprehensive reading of Felix Krull. It examines the novel within the context of Mann's work as a whole, and, in doing so, it seeks to demonstrate the remarkable continuity of Mann's creative achievement.

Download: Introduction (PDF)

Reviews:

  • ‘Concerning freedom, play, and Mann’s appeal to a community, Schonfield makes a persuasive case in his lucid and admirable study.’ — Steve Dowden, Modern Language Review 103, 2010, 905-06 (full text online)

Contents:

i-iv
Front Matter
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v-vi
Table of Contents
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vii-viii
Preface
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ix-ix
Acknowledgements
E. S.
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x-x
Abbreviations
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1-8
Introduction
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9-66
Chapter 1 Art and the Notation of Identity
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67-130
Chapter 2 Art and the Notation of Community
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131-184
Chapter 3 Narrative Performance in Felix Krull
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185-188
Conclusion
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189-198
Bibliography
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199-202
INDEX
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Bibliography entry:

Schonfield, Ernest, Art and its Uses in Thomas Mann's Felix Krull, Bithell Series of Dissertations, 32 (Cambridge: MHRA, 2008)

First footnote reference: 35 Ernest Schonfield, Art and its Uses in Thomas Mann's Felix Krull, Bithell Series of Dissertations, 32 (Cambridge: MHRA, 2008), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Schonfield, p. 47.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

Bibliography entry:

Schonfield, Ernest. 2008. Art and its Uses in Thomas Mann's Felix Krull, Bithell Series of Dissertations, 32 (Cambridge: MHRA)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Schonfield 2008: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Schonfield 2008: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)


This title was first published by Maney Publishing for the Modern Humanities Research Association and the Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies but rights to it are now held by Modern Humanities Research Association and the Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies.

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