Klaus Mann and the Weimar Republic: literary tradition and experimentation in his prose, 1924-1933

Ford, Alison (1999) Klaus Mann and the Weimar Republic: literary tradition and experimentation in his prose, 1924-1933. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Abstract

This study developed from an initial interest in the literature of the German exiles in which canon Klaus Mann's work between 1933 and 1945 figured prominently. This in turn evoked a curiosity toward this still relatively unknown son of Thomas Mann, intensified not least by the pathos of a life characterised by early promise, fame and prominence that ended in obscurity, despair and suicide. Yet these aspects of Klaus Mann's life appeared to have been overlooked by British scholars and with them the early and later years of Mann's career.

The years of Mann's exile have been well documented and researched and place Mann's fiction of this time within the canon of Exilliteratur. Those texts which went before, however, have received only scant attention. Yet it is precisely in the novels and essays from the Weimar Republic that Mann developed and refined the techniques and themes that would define his later works. To overlook them is to suggest that the decisive moment of exile represented a caesura in Mann's career, thus masking the underlying continuity within Mann's oeuvre. For this reason, this study concentrates primarily on the early years of Mann's career, on the period from 1924 to 1933, to illustrate the progression and development within his work that would culminate in the novels of his exile.

While Mann's prose dictates the approach I have taken, this is not exclusively 'literary' to the exclusion of all other concerns and potential external influences on his work. It assesses the complementary characteristics of Mann's fiction and his essayistic prose, much of which has only become readily available in the last five years, against the context of their creation during the Weimar Republic. In consequence, this work embraces the cultural, political and social context of this age, embracing its contradictory nature where progression and experimentation battled against the endemic regression and reaction of the Republic's institutions. However, it does not intend to provide a detailed discussion of the complexities that underlie this period of German history. For this I refer the reader to the body of research which deals specifically with this topic.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Supervisors:Siefken, H.
Uncontrolled Keywords:Klaus Mann, Weimar Republic, German literature
Faculties/Schools:UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of Modern Languages and Cultures
ID Code:1719
Deposited By:Ms. K EVANS
Deposited On:17 Dec 2010 10:46
Last Modified:14 Jan 2011 14:30

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