Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family Paperback – Jun 28 1994
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From Publishers Weekly
A superior new translation of Mann's 1901 saga about four generations of an affluent German family.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
The reissue of Mann's wonderful first novel in a new translation is a cause for rejoicing. In loving, ironic, and sympathetic detail, Mann portrays several generations of a merchant family who belong to the bourgeois aristocracy in Lubeck, tracking them from high point to decline. While the author himself helped Lowe-Porter in the authorized English translation (1938), Woods simply has a better ear for dialog and for smoothing Mann's German syntax into a more naturally flowing English one. He is even so bold as to tackle puns that Lowe-Porter pretended weren't there. Highly recommended.
- Michael T. O'Pecko, Towson State Univ., Md.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
"Buddenbrooks" is the story of a merchant family and their wholesale grain-trading business. It covers the rise of the Buddenbrook firm from the days of the German confederation, to its eventual dissolution during the early years of the Deutsches Reich. As the novel progresses, it becomes increasingly clear that the Buddenbrook firm is an unyielding prison from which escape is nearly impossible. Despite their wealth and status in the community, the Buddenbrooks were not truly free to pursue their own happiness. In the name of business prestige and family honor, Antonie Buddenbrook, daughter of patriarch Jean Buddenbrook, forgoes the love of her life to marry a cunning businessman who marries her for her dowry, which he uses to prop up his failing business. Thomas, the heir to the Buddenbrook empire, witnessing his sister's sacrifice, breaks off his youthful affair with a common girl and decides to focus his energies on learning the ropes of the world of business. Christian, Thomas's brother, was early on marked to be a scholar due to his wit; however, the untimely death of Jean Buddenbrook compels him to take up a position in the firm. In due course, events and personal circumstances unmask Christian's dissipation and mental incapacity for the practical pursuits of commerce. Gotthold, the 'prodigal son' and stepbrother of Jean Buddenbrook, decides to marry beneath his station, and is disowned in a particularly acrimonious manner.Read more ›
Mann grew up in a prosperous Luebeck family, son of a merchant father who died in 1891. The dissolution of the family firm, the artistic, Southern Creole background of Mann's mother and the struggle between the materialistic merchant side and the wild, artistic side are the backdrop for a deep regret, maybe even self-recrimination, for the family's ultimate decline. The family line ends, in Buddenbrooks with Hanno, son of successful and foppish Senator Thomas Buddenbrooks. When Thomas dies, the family firm is broken up and the family starts the deep decline already in process. Hanno's red-haired, violin-playing mother couldn't care less. ("I live for Art" would seem to have been written with her in mind.) Hanno's aunt Toni is left to mourn the family's end--though Toni's own earnest efforts to hold up family honor also ended in disaster. Some declines, apparently, are natural and cannot be prevented.
Interestingly, Mann puts a bit of himself in Toni as well as Hanno; he worked for a fire insurance company as did Toni's luckless son-in-law, he moved to Munich as Toni did in Buddenbrooks. The other characters, Thomas's ne'er-do-well brother Christian, and especially the grandparents are beautifully drawn and developed.
This is one of the best family chronicles written, and even if you don't love "great literature" you will enjoy this book. It's been filmed as well as a mini-series, but frankly, nothing comes up to reading this for yourself. I couldn't put this novel down once I started it. And it is a hefty book, though not the longest by Mann.Read more ›
I will always remember Tony's romance in Travemünde, and how an idilic place is beautifully described, only to be soon reminded, that it is only a romantic fantasy... no more than that. Her later marriage is memorable, too. It is heartbreaking and humilliating. Another memorable moment is the realization of Thomas', that his son is not to follow his footsteps into the family business. Finally, watch for that description of the last of the Buddenbrooks' normal day: how terrifying was school for him... his friendships and his ailment. It is just adorable and moving.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
A story about "duty to society" and "obligation to society" above any happiness to one's self and enjoyment of one's life. Read morePublished on June 27 2014 by BCReader
This is a very well written book, I like the short chapters, and this edition, even if as a paperback is fine. The problem is that I do not like Mann very much. Read morePublished on Jan. 15 2013 by Katah
I read this book for an Independent Study on the works of Thomas Mann. Although I found the beginning a tad slow, it soon picked up. Read morePublished on June 5 2003
Buddenbrooks is an amazing novel, both in scope and its beautifully rendered characters. The story concerns the Buddenbrook family and their life as prosperous merchants in Lubeck... Read morePublished on May 23 2003 by Randyll McDermott
Thomas Mann, whose birthday centennial was celebrated last year not only in German but also all over the world, is the most influential German prose writter from the 20th century... Read morePublished on Feb. 20 2003 by Roberto P. De Ferraz
Buddenbrooks is superbly written, splendidly elegant fiction of the best kind. The novel follows the life of a family (the Buddenbrook family) for the course of about fifty years,... Read morePublished on Jan. 27 2003 by bixodoido
A classy, modernistic literary magnum opus that is truly representative of global literature, Thomas Mann's masterpiece about the bourgeois-which is a tornado of unceasing... Read morePublished on Nov. 20 2001 by Christian Engler
The first third of this novel is wonderful, and the middle third is slow, but the final third was equal to the first. The characters are rich, the story is interesting. Read morePublished on Oct. 14 2001 by John Hovig