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The interplay of Sein and Bedeuten in Thomas Mann's Joseph und seine Brüder

Nolte, Charlotte Irene Annette; (1992) The interplay of Sein and Bedeuten in Thomas Mann's Joseph und seine Brüder. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

The interplay and theme of Sein and Bedeuten in Thomas Mann's novel tetralogy Joseph und seine Brüder has hitherto received comparatively little critical attention. I attempt to show that this issue unites the tetralogy's stylistic and thematic structure. My introduction deals extensively with the theoretical foundation and with the cognitive implications of Sein and Bedeuten. The first two chapters contain a closely contextualized examination of stylistic devices. They deal with central pairs of opposites (and their inherent duality), with (leit)motifs and central metaphors. In these two chapters I attempt to show how Mann uses these stylistic devices to reinforce and reflect the constant interplay of Sein and Bedeuten. Chapter Three is concerned with the psychology of characters other than Joseph. It examines the concept of mythical consciousness and of identification and imitation as a source of identity. Mann portrays people whose ego-consciousness is only partially or not at all developed. I try to show how he succeeds in this portrayal of minds which appear so different from the self-consciousness and awareness of the modern individual. The second half of the chapter deals with the central female character of the novel's third volume, with her role and function as both personal and transpersonal figure. Chapter Four is entirely devoted to the central character of Joseph, whom Mann uses to draw a microscopic picture of the development of consciousness in mankind. In the final volume Joseph becomes the Provider, in whom the separation between the individual and the collective, between being and meaning has finally been overcome. He becomes a symbol of a genuine union of opposites, where conflicting elements are joined in a synthesis, in which they maintain their inherent nature and in which neither agency dominates. Chapter Five investigates the development of the narrator, which often parallels that of the characters. It also examines how the central theme is not only expressed by but embodied in the narrative voice. In the Conclusion the tetralogy's concept of reality, the issues of mediacy versus fact, of metaphor and meaning, the movement from the actual to the symbolic which we observe in the novel, particularly in the changing concept of sacrifice and the divinity, are given a final consideration in terms of the interplay of Sein and Bedeuten.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: The interplay of Sein and Bedeuten in Thomas Mann's Joseph und seine Brüder
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Language, literature and linguistics; Mann, Thomas
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10112581
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