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Book Reviews203 contextual approaches—questions of authorial intention, source, audience, intellectual milieu, and other extratextual considerations —squared well with the realization that the nature of Taylor's Puritan imagination was only just beginning to be understood. (53-4) From the tone of this passage, it is not surprising to learn that, in his own criticism, "Hammond opposed the New Critical isolation of [Taylor's] texts" (106-07); the end of New Criticism marks the beginning of wisdom. Those who de-historicized and de-Puritanized Taylor are seen as the agents of literary nationialism and as blind to Taylor's true merits and meaning. Roy Harvey Pearce serves as Hammond's whipping boy several times (17, 40, 75); those of us who have been inspired by the celebration of Taylor as the model American poet in Pearce's The Continuity of American Poetry (1961) stand corrected. Hammond is not unaware of the irony that just as proper understanding via New Historicism was being achieved, Taylor and his fellow Puritans were being denied their central position in American culture: "As pluralistic social perspectives and historicized aesthetic perspectives began to influence the profession, it became harder to see Taylor as representative of an 'American' literary tradition. Which America? Whose literature? And finally , Which Taylor?" (123). Hammond might also have mentioned that, in the scholarship and anthologies, Taylor has of late lost some ground to Anne Bradstreet, perceived to be a more marginalized and conflicted Puritan poet than Taylor, and thus more accessible to post-modern Americans. In his final paragraph, Hammond tries to bestow the mantle of marginality on Taylor by asserting that, although much studied, he remains one of the "least understood figures in American literature" (142). Hammond thus legitimatizes spending further academic energy in the pursuit of Edward Taylor. WALTER HESFORD University ofIdaho VOLKMAR HANSEN, ed. Interpretationen: Thomas Mann, Romane und Erzählungen. Stuttgart: Reclam, 1993. 360 p. 1 his book, which comprises eleven interpretative essays on Thomas Mann's major novels and selected novellas, is a valuable addition to the literature on one of Germany's finest modern writers. Volkmar Hansen, the editor, is to be commended for assembling contributions by an international group of knowledgeable scholars with—for the most part—distinguished credentials in the field of German studies. Their essays, which cover Mann's oeuvre from the early Buddenbrooks (1901) to the unfinished Bekenntnisse des Hochstaplers Felix Krull (1954), are insightful and well-researched. 204Rocky Mountain Review Georg Wenzel, the author of the opening chapter on Buddenbrooks (subtitled : Verfall einer Familie), regards family decline as a theme "das im 19. Jahrhundert wurzelt und im Prozeß der Entbürgerlichung ins 20. Jahrhundert weist" (11-12). By focusing on the history of the novel's composition , Wenzel shows how painstakingly Mann collected and marshaled his material: autobiographical elements, historical incidents, sociological and psychological components. Of equal importance was Mann's contact with 19th-century music and philosophy (Richard Wagner, Arthur Schopenhauer, Friedrich Nietzsche), whose noteworthy imprints made Buddenbrooks, according to Wenzel, a very German novel and also contributed significantly to its enduring interest. The next essay, Jehuda Galor's interpretation of the novella "Tristan" (1903), is well-pondered, elaborately documented, but rather one-sided. It concentrates only on one figure , the effete aesthete Detlev Spinell, through whom Mann is said to be "sitting in judgment" on his own parlously aesthetic inclinations. In the third chapter, entitled " Tonio Kroger'—ein Beispiel der 'imitatio Goethe's' bei Thomas Mann," Yasushi Sakurai seeks—with some heavy-handedness —to establish parallels between Goethe's novel Die Leiden des jungen Werther (1774) and Mann's most lyrical, personal story "Tonio Kroger" (1903). Thomas Mann's most complex novella, "Der Tod in Venedig" (1912), is analyzed by Bernhard Böschenstein, whose erudite interpretation provides a wealth of fascinating detail. He views the narrative (its theme, style, and structure) as an expressive complex of richly allusive antitheses, ambiguities , inversions and counterpoints. Thus the story features "'Zucht und Zügellosigkeit'" (110), Apollonian beauty, Dionysiac vitality along with barbarity and death. Böschenstein notes the polarization of life and art, of body and spirit. Because of the ambivalence of the principal figures and motifs, Mann's depiction interweaves individualization...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-2833
Print ISSN
1948-2825
Pages
pp. 203-206
Launched on MUSE
2016-01-06
Open Access
No
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