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Gods, Angels, and Narrators

A Metaphysics of Narrative in Thomas Mann's "Joseph und seine Brüder</I>


Alan Swensen

Following his penchant for incorporating criticism of the artwork within the artwork itself, Mann uses the narrator and characters of his Joseph novels to give expression to his understanding of the relationships which exist among author, narrator, story, and reader. This study examines the narrator and other storytelling characters and focuses in particular on their claims concerning the authorship of the stories they tell. The results reveal an implicit theory of narration which sees both author and reader involved in the shaping of the authority behind the story.