Book//mark – Tonio Kröger | Thomas Mann, 1903

Tonio Kroger Thomas Mann 1903 2
Thomas Mann, 1900s / Tonio Kröger, 1903


“Whoever loves the more is at a disadvantage and must suffer”

“Yet he received this love with joy, surrendered himself to it, and cherished it with all the strength of his being; for he knew that love made one vital and rich, and he longed to be vital and rich, far more than he did to work tranquilly on anything to give it permanent form.”

“Mere knowledge of human psychology would in itself infallibly make us despondent if we were not cheered and kept alert by the satisfaction of expressing it.”

“He looked at her, and remembered a line of poetry, a line he had long forgotten and which was nevertheless so close to his mind and heart: ‘I long to sleep, to sleep, but you must dance.’ He knew so well the melancholy northern mood it expressed, awkward and half-articulate and heartfelt. To sleep… To long to be able to live simply for one’s feelings alone, to rest idly in sweet self-sufficient emotion, uncompelled to translate it into activity, unconstrained to dance – and to have to dance nonetheless, to have to be alert and nimble and perform the difficult, difficult and perilous sword-dance of art, and never to be able quite to forget the humiliating paradox of having to dance when one’s heart is heavy with love…”

“He worked, not like a man who works that he may live; but as one who is bent on doing nothing but work; having no regard for himself as a human being but only as a creator; moving about grey and unobtrusive among his fellows like an actor without his make-up, who counts for nothing as soon as he stops representing something else.”

” Literature is not a calling, it is a curse, believe me! When does one begin to feel the curse? Early, horribly early. At a time when one ought by rights still to be living in peace and harmony with God and the world. It begins by your feeling yourself set apart, in a curious sort of opposition to the nice, regular people; there is a gulf of ironic sensibility, of knowledge, scepticism, disagreement between you and the others; it grows deeper and deeper, you realize that you are alone; and from then on any rapprochement is simply hopeless!” 

“He undressed, lay down, put out the light. Two names he whispered into his pillow, the few chaste northern syllables that meant for him his true and native way of love, of longing and happiness; that meant to him life and home, meant simple and heartfelt feeling. He looked back on the years that had passed. He thought of the dreamy adventures of the senses, nerves, and mind in which he had been involved; saw himself eaten up with intellect and introspection, ravaged and paralysed by insight, half worn out by the fevers and frosts of creation, helpless and in anguish of conscience between two extremes, flung to and fro between austerity and lust; raffiné, impoverished, exhausted by frigid and artificially heightened ecstasies; erring, forsaken, martyred, and ill — and sobbed with nostalgia and remorse.”

“What they, in their innocence, cannot comprehend is that a properly constituted, healthy, decent man never writes, acts, or composes.”

“To feel stirring within you the wonderful and melancholy play of strange forces and to be aware that those others you yearn for are blithely inaccessible to all that moves you―what a pain is this! And yet! He stood there aloof and alone, staring hopelessly at a drawn blind and making, in his distraction, as though he could look out. But yet he was happy. For he lived. His heart was full…”

“It’s strange. If a thought dominates you, you will find it expressed everywhere, you can even smell it in the wind.” 

“For happiness, he told himself, is not in being loved – which is a satisfaction of the vanity and mingled with disgust. Happiness is in loving and perhaps in snatching fugitive little approaches to the beloved object” 

Thomas Mann, Tonio Kröger, 1903

Jean Claude Brialy as Tonio Kroger 1964. Director Rolf Thiele
Jean-Claude Brialy as Tonio Kröger, 1964 /  Director: Rolf Thiele


Sanary-sur-Mer | German writers in exile, 1930s

Γράμματα στην Katia Pringsheim | Thomas Mann, 1904

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