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Transcultural Identity Constructions in a Changing World

Edited By Irene Gilsenan Nordin, Chatarina Edfeldt, Lung-Lung Hu, Herbert Jonsson and André Leblanc

This volume takes a broad outlook on the concept of transculturality. Contributions from 19 authors and specialists, of almost as many diverse origins, grapple with this concept, each in their own way. How can transculturality be described? How can it help us understand our world? Many of the chapters deal with literary texts, others with the stories told in movies, drama, and visual art. There are texts about the complexity of the European Burqa-Ban debate, the negative aspects of Portuguese multiculturalism, or the border-crossing experiences of Filipino immigrants in Ireland. Several chapters examine stereotypes, the idea of movement, the dissolution of cultural borders, or the nature of bilingual writing. It is a unique contribution to the field, on a virtually global scale.
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Transculturality in Thomas Mann’s Novella Tonio Kröger

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Introduction

For Thomas Mann, the success of Buddenbrooks (1901) and Tonio Kröger (1903) brought about a decisive phase in advancing his elaborate literary aim to achieve prestige and distinction. Mann once said of the novella Tonio Kröger that it was “a typical youth work” and “my favourite literary child” (vol. 8, 145).1 The novella was published in 1903, and, according to Hans Rudolf Vaget, it brought the author “more public and personal affection than any other of his works” (111). Appealing to young people at the turn of the twentieth century, the narrative focuses on the fateful life of a character in a transcultural context. The conflict-ridden artistic existence of the protagonist Tonio Kröger, whose parents are of both southern and northern origin, forms a particularly prominent theme. Regarding the novels of his carefully conceived writing programme, Mann made the following remarks in his Nobel Prize speech in Stockholm in 1929:

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