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Marxist Mask And Romantic Face: Lukács On Thomas Mann

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Chapter Summary

The reason for doubting whether Thomas Mann's assurance was justified is simply that, in his references to Naphta, Lukács seems to rely upon his readers not actually having the text of The Magic Mountain available. Naphta (as Thomas Mann himself insisted) differs from the young Lukács in a large number of ways. Like Julien Sorel or Fabrice, Lukács has involved himself in countless stratagems; like Sorel, he has faced the death penalty, like Fabrice, he has avoided it. But the declining quality of his writing suggests that time has done its work, that the face behind the mask has taken on the aspect of the mask. Naphta's suicide was one way of paying the debts of romanticism to reality; the long, tortuous, intertwining of enlightenment and deception that Lukács has practised is another.

Keywords:Lukács; Marxist mask; Naphta; romanticism; The Magic Mountain; Thomas Mann

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