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Bourgeois ambivalence: a comparative investigation of Thomas Mann’s Der Zauberberg and T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land

Young, Primrose May Deen (2017)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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The thesis explores important similarities and differences between responses to bourgeois society in Thomas Mann’s Der Zauberberg (1924) and T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land (1922). It examines these texts’ presentations of the shifting morality of bourgeois culture, the prevailing sense of paralysis and fragmentation at the beginning of the twentieth century, and compares the authors’ use of allusions to myth, and their explorations of concepts of time. However, by considering the ambivalent responses to bourgeois society as they are presented within these texts, and a selection of Mann and Eliot’s other creative and critical works, the thesis also highlights significant differences in the authors’ responses to bourgeois society, which are indicative of the broader divergent traditions in which they positioned themselves. Eliot subscribes to a tradition based upon the framework of the Christian faith, and the classical literary canon, with an ‘impersonal’ approach to artistic creation. By contrast, Mann places the German ‘burgher’ at the core of the tradition to which he subscribes, emphasising personality, and favouring a humanistic approach, which values the individual’s capacity for ethical judgement based on reason. This framework demonstrates that the thematic similarities and common allusions in Mann and Eliot’s creative works are underscored by radically different authorial approaches and belief systems.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Martin, Nicholas and Ellis, Steve (1952-)
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music, Department of Modern Languages
Additional Information:

Young, Primrose. ‘The still point of the turning world': a comparative investigation of the portrayal of cyclical time and rebirth in TS Eliot’s' The Waste Land' and Thomas Mann’s' Der Zauberberg'. M.Phil. Diss. University of Birmingham, 2013.

Subjects:PR English literature
PT Germanic literature
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:7250
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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