Thomas Mann: Der Erwählte [The Holy Sinner]

(2249 words)
  • Maria Dobozy (University of Utah)

If a monumental novel with a tragic aura like Doktor Faustus tells of the depths to which humanity can fall, Thomas Mann's next novel, Der Erwählte [The Holy Sinner, 1951], is a comedic text in the tradition of Dante that relates how high a human being can rise even when weighed down by egregious human failings. The text is more than a modern adaptation of Hartmann von Aue's (q.v.) Gregorius (q.v.) – although it closely follows the plot line of the medieval text: a boy, born out of princely brother-sister incest, is put upon the sea by his mother and subsequently rescued and educated by an abbot who wants to make him a monk. The boy Gregorius, however, follows his calling to …

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Dobozy, Maria. "Der Erwählte". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 03 October 2006
[, accessed 30 September 2016.]