Melodrama and the gaze in Thomas Mann’s “Der kleine Herr Friedemann”

Schonfield, E. (2011) Melodrama and the gaze in Thomas Mann’s “Der kleine Herr Friedemann”. Publications of the English Goethe Society, 80(2-3), pp. 153-165. (doi: 10.1179/095936811X12997586789412)

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This article argues that in Thomas Mann's novella 'Der kleine Herr Friedemann' naturalistic detail is soon superseded by a series of mute gestures, which are used to stage a melodramatic encounter with otherness, an encounter which represents a terrible existential challenge for Friedemann. The gaze of Gerda von Rinnlingen, which objectifies Friedemann and places him beside himself, is interpreted in terms of Sartre's gaze theory. A close reading of the novella shows that Mann's style is ethical because it refuses to explain or assimilate otherness. In this text, the other person remains irreducibly other, and, because of this, calls the self irrevocably into question.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Schonfield, Dr Ernest
Authors: Schonfield, E.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Modern Languages and Cultures > German
Journal Name:Publications of the English Goethe Society
Journal Abbr.:PEGS
ISSN (Online):1749-6284

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