Thomas Mann: Tonio Kröger

(1162 words)
  • Hannelore G. Mundt

Thomas Mann's early novella Tonio Kröger (1903) ranks amongst his most popular narratives. Written over a period of two years and regarded by the author himself as his “favorite literary child” (“literarisches Lieblingskind”), the text's central theme is the antagonism between life and art, an antagonism that also plays a major role in some of Mann's previous works. This can be seen in the novella Der kleine Herr Friedemann [Little Herr Friedemann, 1897], where a crippled outsider escapes into the realm of art to avoid life. In the novel Buddenbrooks (1901) the renunciation of a bourgeois existence is coupled with life-negating aestheticism and death. Art and life are also diametrically opposed in …

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Mundt, Hannelore G.. "Tonio Kröger". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 12 February 2004
[, accessed 06 July 2015.]