THE BELOVED RETURNS by Thomas Mann

THE BELOVED RETURNS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In a novel of Goethe, Mann is spokesman for that world of which Goethe was perhaps the greatest citizen. He restates faith in artist and scholar, the problem of the artist in relation to the bourgeois world. He shows Goethe embodying the cosmic principle of the Brotherhood of Man. To this remote plan, he brings a figure from the past, Lotte, immortalized in Werther, now at 65 striving to emerge from a world bounded by bread and butter. Weimer is the setting for the reunion. Lotte is acclaimed by the people; there is a near-tragic episode in her appearance at a dinner given by Goethe, wearing a dress copied from the past; she sits alone in Goethe's box at the theatre; she meets him in the carriage afterwards, and in farewell he shows himself eternally flame to her moth... As a novel, this has ""intellectual snob appeal"" quite surely, but Mann does not intend it as ""caviar to the general"". Its real significance lies in its presentation of Mann's philosophy as artist rising above the burning metamorphosis of a changing world. As a novel, it is an interlude in his career, not an epic.

Pub Date: Aug. 26th, 1940
Publisher: Knopf