Thomas Mann was only twenty-two years old when he began writing his first novel, Buddenbrooks: Verfall einer Familie [Buddenbrooks: Decline of a Family], in October 1897. The work was completed in July of 1900 and published in October 1901. From the start Mann’s ambitions were set high. He wanted to write “a society novel disguised as a family saga” in the tradition of the great nineteenth-century European social novels, such as Renée Mauperin (1864) by the Goncourt brothers, Stendhal’s Le Rouge et le noir [The Red and the Black, 1830], and Theodor Fontanes Die Poggenpuhls [The Poggenpuhls,1896]. Furthermore, he wanted to surpass the literary fame of his older …
Mundt, Hannelore G.. "Buddenbrooks: Verfall einer Familie". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 17 September 2003; last revised 30 November -1.
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=11461, accessed 21 April 2015.]