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Spaces for Happiness in the Twentieth-Century German Novel

Mann, Kafka, Hesse, Jünger


Alan Corkhill

This book offers an in-depth study of the rich tapestry of happiness discourses in well-known philosophical novels by Thomas Mann, Franz Kafka, Hermann Hesse and Ernst Jünger, published between 1922 and 1949. The study is prompted, in part, by an awareness that despite the interdisciplinarity of happiness research, Western literary scholarship has paid scant attention to fictionalized constructs of happiness. Each of the four chapters uses extended textual analysis to explore the sites in which happiness ( Glück) and serenity ( Heiterkeit) are sought, experienced, narrated, reflected upon and enacted. The author theorizes, with particular reference to Bachelard and Foucault, the interfaces between interior and exterior spaces and states of well-being. In addition to providing new interpretive perspectives on the canonical novels themselves, the book makes a significant contribution to a broader history of the idea of happiness through the appraisal of key intellectual cross-currents and traditions, both Western and Eastern, underpinning the novelists’ varied and nuanced conceptualizations and aesthetic representations of happiness.


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Acknowledgements vii Introduction 1 CHAPTER ONE Thomas Mann: Competing Models of Happiness in Der Zauberberg (1924) 17 CHAPTER TWO Franz Kafka: Sites of Happiness and Unhappiness 41 Der Proceß (1925): Existential Unhappiness 41 Das Schloss (1926): Negotiating Room for Happiness 56 CHAPTER THREE Hermann Hesse: The Quest for the Happiness of Self-Knowledge 75 Siddhartha (1922): Towards the Joy of Flow 75 Der Steppenwolf (1927): The Pathology of Happy Unhappiness 89 Das Glasperlenspiel (1943): Educating for Happiness 102 CHAPTER FOUR Ernst Jünger: The Technologization of Happiness in Heliopolis (1949) 119 Conclusion 147 Notes 159 vi Bibliography 185 Index 197

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