Buddenbrooks (Martin Swales) pdf, epub, doc

The Twayne’s Masterwork Studies series bills itself as offering studies of a single “classic text”, each including “separate thought-provoking discussions of the work’s influence, historical context, and critical reception in addition to a chronology, bibliography, and index.”Like Mann Buddenbrooks by Hugh Ridley (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30...), I started reading this during a group read of Buddenbrooks. Also like Ridley’s book, I did not finish this one.

This book appears to be addressed to a smaller audience than Ridley’s. Even in the chapters that sound like they would be of general interest (and are), the reader is subjected to a lot of what I can only call, perhaps unfairly, graduate school gibberish. Swales appears to feel it is absolutely necessary to use phrases and terminology by which his peer group of professors could not mistake that he is writing for their plaudits, not really for the edification of those choosing, or forced, to read his book.

Here’s an example. Only 16 pages into the book, we arrive at Chapter 3 – Critical Reception. Here, Swales hastens to make clear, he us speaking of “those responses in which critical engagement with the text is serious”. That is, not about reception by the unwashed masses, or even by intelligent reviewers, but by members of the professional literary establishment ensconced in their ivory towers.

The first camp, Swales says, was “based in Lubeck” (and I wonder now how many readers whose critical engagement with the text was serious really were “based in Lubeck” – but no matter). What Swales is at pains to mention is that there are several famous critics (he names them) from much later, who “in thoughtful and sophisticated (though not unrelated) ways” have joined themselves to this early camp, attempting to show that the novel “provides a genuine and important illumination of the extratextual world whose existence has been verified by the work of political scientists, sociologists, and historians. (Aren’t we all fortunate that this extratextual world has been verified! One recoils in horror at imagining what might have transpired in early twentieth century Lubeck if it couldn’t have been (later) verified by those hard-working academics!) (And please be clear, we are merely speaking of an extratextual world, not of an extraterrestrial world.)

The second camp, again identified by association with three early academics and five of more recent vintage,
responds to Buddenbrooks not in terms of what it says about experiential realms outside of its own aesthetic existence; rather, it sees the book essentially and primarily as a supreme example of sustained artistic craftsmanship … a whole chorus that perceives it as being “about itself” … it is intensely structured, richly – almost claustrophobically – patterned, sustained by a dense web of leitmotivs, of parallel and contrasting scenes, of almost hermetic recurrences.
Well, okay, this is fine, but does this interpretation have to be described in quite so dramatic a manner? Reminds me of a Monty Python script.

I could go on. Really, most of what I saw scanning the book looked like a thoughtful analysis of Mann’s work. But oh my, the language used. Not for me.

Of course, this book, like Ridley’s, might be perfectly useful to a reader much more knowledgeable about literary criticism than I am. More power to you if you are one of these, and please don’t be offended by my own ignorance. But since no one else has ever rated this book before on Goodreads, I suspect that readers of this review (if any) will be few and far between.

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share_spare-buddenbrooks.zip8,7 MbShare-Spare

Book info

  • Author:
  • Publisher:Twayne Publishers
  • File: 6 Mb
  • Release: 01.09.1991
  • ISBN: 9780805785517
  • Pages 127
  • Rating: 3.7 (1 votes)

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