Music in the Works of Broch, Mann, and Kafka

Music in the Works of Broch, Mann, and Kafka

John A. Hargraves


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Camden House



This book throws new light on aspects of the works of Broch, Mann, and Kafka.
The German Romantic critic Friedrich Schlegel saw music as a paradigm of art, and wished to bring the qualities of music to literature. Schopenhauer saw in music a direct manifestation of the Will, and thus as the highest form of art. This study examines the ironic influence of these and similar ideas of music's primacy among the arts on three of the most important modern writers of German: Hermann Broch, Thomas Mann, and Franz Kafka. Of the three, Broch takes Schlegel's idea furthest: His novel The Death of Vergil uses the constructive techniques and sonorities of music to extend the cognitive reach of his writing to the non- or supraverbal, and Hargraves traces similar concerns across Broch's career. Unlike Broch, Mann saw in musicality a peculiarly German access to the dark forces within the human psyche. Music is the `glass' through which the reader sees the development of the anti-hero Hans Castorp in Mann's Magic Mountain. In Doktor Faustus, on the other hand, the hero Leverkuhn conjures with demonic powers to create fictional music; his `strict style' is itself an allegory of the political realities of the 20th century. Kafka admitted that he had little appreciation for music, but two of his important shorter works. `Josefine the Singer,' and `Investigations of a Dog,' transform this `unmusicality' into an enigmatic essay on the uses and limits of art. Hargraves uncovers surprisingly parallel concerns among these three very different writers.

John Hargraves is assistant professor of German at Connecticut College, New London, Connecticut.


November 2001
224 pages
9x6 in
Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture
ISBN: 9781571132086
Format: Hardback
Camden House
BISAC LIT004170, MUS000000
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Table of Contents

Hermann Broch: Biographical Background
Broch's Discursive Writings on Music
The Spell
The Guiltless and Don Giovanni
Musical Ideas in Hugo von Hofmannsthal and His Time
Music in The Sleepwalkers
Music, Silence and Time: The Architectonics of The Death of Virgil
Thomas Mann's Two Music Novels: The Magic Mountain and Doctor Faustus
Kafka and Silence: a Negative View
Works Cited


Erudite, persuasively written... MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW

Lucidly written, this book exposes creative and unexpected musical connections among the three artists Broch, Mann, and Kafka. Particularly the main section on Hermann Broch will be a valuable resource for any Broch scholar. MONATSHEFTE

Hargraves transcends the customary boundaries of simply analyzing literary works that center on the story of a real or fictional musician...; rather, he sets out to find "music" (as broadly implied in the title) in the writings of Hermann Broch, Thomas Mann, and Franz Kafka based on these writers' own relationship with music. GERMAN STUDIES REVIEW

...rewards the reader with profound insights that are bound to expand his or her view of Broch and Kafka. GERMAN QUARTERLY

Author Bio

Assistant professor of German at Connecticut College, New London, Connecticut, 06320-4196.

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