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Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family Paperback – Jun 28 1994

4.5 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 736 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (June 28 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679752609
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679752608
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 3.2 x 20.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 522 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #4,411 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In his 1762 treatise "The Social Contract," Rousseau wrote: "Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains." Mann's magnum opus, pregnant with bleak symbolism and teeming with lives lived in quiet desperation, highlights this stark fact.
"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.
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Format: Paperback
Buddenbrooks is the most autobiographical of Mann's works--and the one that most of all, earned Mann the Nobel Prize for Literature.
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.
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By A Customer on June 11 2001
Format: Hardcover
In the same league with Gabriel Garcia Marquez' "100 Years of Solitude," and Leo Tolstoy's "War and Peace." It's the mighty Buddenbrooks (noble German businessmen) versus the Industrial Revolution, and I won't let on who claims the victory. Mann tackles countless issues in this massive and wonderful novel, which is intricately set up and extremely engaging if you have no trouble immersing yourself in late 19th century Germany.
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Format: Paperback
This novel (from the hand of Thomas Mann) was published in the early years of the XXth century. It tells the story of the decadence of a burgouise family, from its highest point of economic power, to its desintegration. The beginning of the novel has to do with the new house that has been bought by the patriach of the family. We meet there the three brothers, whose actions will be followed in the novel. Thomas, Cristian and Tony (Antoinnete). As they grow up, they learn the rules to survive their society and maintain their status. Tony has to learn that she cannot follow her love, if it is against the interests of her family. Thomas learns that he must follow the footsteps of his father... and Christian learns that he has no role in the world, but to annoy his brother. The world changes as it brings new rich people to town, with new ways of making business. Slowly the Buddenbrooks begin to lose their economic stability. This novel from Thomas Mann (a somewhat autobiographical one) describes the spaces, making it clear through them the kind of world this family lives in. There is a sharp picture of the characters... not only physical, but mental.
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.
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