7 Sep 2017

Tonio Kröger

Just read an old school report from my VI form German teacher who said I was a bit like Tonio Kröger when I was 17. Tonio who?

Here is what Wikipedia has to say: Tonio Kröger is one of  Thomas Mann's autobiographical novellas (forming a pair with the more famous Death in Venice), written 1901, when Mann was 25, and published in 1903.
The narrative follows the course of a man's life from his schoolboy days to his adulthood. The son of a north German merchant and a "Southern" mother (Consuelo) with artistic talents, Tonio inherited qualities from both sides of his family. As a child, he experiences conflicting feelings for the bourgeois people around him. He feels both superior to them in his insights and envious of their innocent vitality. This conflict continues into Tonio's adulthood, when he becomes a famous writer living in southern Germany. "To be an artist," he comes to believe, "one has to die to everyday life." These issues are only partially resolved when Tonio travels north to visit his hometown. While there, Tonio is mistaken for an escaped criminal, thereby reinforcing his inner suspicion that the artist must be an outsider relative to "respectable" society. 
Hmm. No sign so far of becoming a famous artist in southern Germany. There is also a film version of Tonio Kröger.

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