Edited By Irene Gilsenan Nordin, Chatarina Edfeldt, Lung-Lung Hu, Herbert Jonsson and André Leblanc
Transculturality in Thomas Mann’s Novella Tonio Kröger
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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