A Major Literary Event: a brilliant new translation of Thomas Mann's first great novel, one of the two for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature in 1929.
Buddenbrooks, first published in Germany in 1900, when Mann was only twenty-five, has become a classic of modem literature -- the story of four generations of a wealthy bourgeois family in northern Germany. With consummate skill, Mann draws a rounded picture of middle-class life: births and christenings; marriages, divorces, and deaths; successes and failures. These commonplace occurrences, intrinsically the same, vary slightly as they recur in each succeeding generation. Yet as the Buddenbrooks family eventually succumbs to the seductions of modernity -- seductions that are at variance with its own traditions -- its downfall becomes certain.
In immensity of scope, richness of detail, and fullness of humanity, Buddenbrooks surpasses all other modem family chronicles; it has, indeed, proved a model for most of them. Judged as the greatest of Mann's novels by some critics, it is ranked as among the greatest by all. Thomas Mann was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1929.
A superior new translation of Mann's 1901 saga about four generations of an affluent German family.
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Big Book of Summer 2018 read
This was my “Big Book Of Summer 2018”.
Many years ago, I saw this book in its original German, and had a fascinating discussion about how this book parallels books like “The Forsyth Saga” and “Upstairs Downstairs”. After reading another review last fall, I decided to give it a chance. There are literally hundreds of pages devoted to this book and this author all over the internet; so I am not going into great detail on the storyline itself, except to say that Mann literally becomes each character in a book that covers four generations of a Northern German family: the Buddenbrooks.
In 1837, as the book opens;Johann Buddenbrook and his wife Elizabeth hold an elegant dinner party. Their four children:Thomas, Antoni, Christian and Clara along with various family members celebrate at a true groaning table, celebrating the end of the Napoleonic conflicts and the beginning of better times.
The story then focuses on the family and its joys and dramas through school, work, love, choices-or lack of them, familial expectations, duty and honor. It is widely believed Thomas’s Mann used his own neighborhood of Lubeck as the basis for this rather long book. However, it reads like contemporary historical fiction (even with this 1993 translation), hooking you early on and keeping you there at births, deaths, struggles and triumphs.
But Mann also stays true to the times, solidly bring this book from 1837-the end of the 1800s; sprinkling historical, theological, ethical, economic and sociological “discoveries”. I do recommend this book with a 4 1/2 star rating and I will be returning to other Thomas Mann books in the future
First rate multigenerational novel of the Buddenbrook family and the way that hopes and dreams can crash against the rocks of fate.