Mit dem Typhus ist es folgendermaßen bestellt

My previous post touched on the tension between the lived experience of a place and an objective view. Perhaps only literature can bridge the gap. In Buddenbrooks, Thomas Mann attempts to capture the diabolical horror of the death of Hanno Buddenbrook by switching to an account of the general course of typhus from a medical encyclopedia. With Nepomuk in Doktor Faustus, Mann achieves a fusion of the gruesome details of another such death with the movement of the narrative. In both cases the effect is powerful, but in the later novel, a veil is removed, and the achievement greater. Death, like sex, is an intractable subject for prose. I would like to post on these two passages in more detail when I have the books to hand.


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