1st Edition

The Dangers of Interpretation Art and Artists in Henry James and Thomas Mann

By Ilona Treitel Copyright 1996

    First published in 1996. This comparative study investigates thematic and technical similarities in the works of the two authors who shared a cultural heritage and achieved comparable status in their separate literary traditions. Drawing upon theories by Bloom, Bakhtin, and Lacan, the book examines ways in which Henry James and Thomas Mann treat the creative artist and analyze the creative and interpretive processes in their fiction. The texts covered range from early works to their great modern novels: The Golden Bowl and Doctor Faustus To a great extent, the similarities between the works stem from the authors' preoccupation with artistic responsibility. Adopting Bloom's claim that the creative activity is an interpretive one, and that the reader, as well as the writer, interprets a text into being the book also investigates the reader's responsibility in confronting the dilemmas challenging James' and Mann's artist figures. Such challenges are the dangers of interpretation discussed in this book. Index. Bibliography.

    Introduction, 1 The Making of an Artist by Himself and Others: Little Herr Friedemann,The Dilettante, Little Lizzy, 2 The Crisis of Representativeness The Tragic Muse, Royal Highness 3 The Artist as Impostor, The Aspem Papers, The Sacred Fount 4 Two Beasts in the Jungle The Beast in the Jungle, Death in Venice 5 Art, Disease and Decay Buddenbrooks, The Wings of the Dove 6 Damnation or Salvation? The Golden Bowl, Doctor Faustus


    IIona Treitel