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A daily record of what I'm thinking about what I'm reading

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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Thomas Mann Tonio Kroger

Tonio keeps heading north. After a few days in Copenhagen that Mann does not describe in detail Tonio heads for a remote Baltic resort in Sweden. Here he is largely alone and at peace ( he is fortunate to have plenty of family money - his bourgeois resources support his bohemian tastes as his Russian girlfriend notes) he has an odd encounter w a drunken young man on the boat which I thought was strongly homoerotic reprising them of first section but Tonio rebuffs the man contemptuously linking him w the foolish amateur poets he despises. At seaside resort Tonio sees Hans and the dancing school girl both of whom he'd loved and both of whom knew him when he was weak and humiliated and shamed. He does not approach them. He watches them through a glass door always on the outside. He sees another young woman who falls on the dance floor remind him of his youthful uncertainty. There is a sense that this whole encounter or non- encounter could be a hallucination. Also a sense that now there is something hard and cruel about Hans. Mann has a youthful premonition of the personality of the nazi prototype in Hans - stupidly secure in his social position indifferent to others contemptuous of the weak and the different.


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