Jahrbuch für Geschichte der Literatur und Wissenschaften / Yearbook for the History of Literature, Humanities and Sciences
Ed. by Albrecht, Andrea / Danneberg, Lutz / Regn, Gerhard / Schmidt-Biggemann, Wilhelm / Vollhardt, Friedrich
Editorial Board: Mahlmann, Barbara / Epple, Moritz / Fick, Monika / Grafton, Anthony / Jaumann, Herbert / Klippel, Diethelm / Kühlmann, Wilhelm / Müller, Jan-Dirk / Nisbet, Hugh Barr / Proß, Wolfgang / Schönert, Jörg / Strohschneider, Peter
»Ich will euch Wahrheiten in die Ohren schreien«.
Anthropologischer Wissensanspruch und narrative Wissensproblematisierung in Thomas Manns Der kleine Herr Friedemann und Der Weg zum Friedhof
Around 1900 anthropological ›knowledge‹ is in high demand. In contrary to the Platonist-Christian tradition human being is no longer defined as a duality of ›mind‹ and ›body‹ but as pure biological and physical nature. At first glance Thomas Mann’s early writings seem to adapt this monist anthropological concept. His characters seem to be determined by their hereditary predispositions and seem to be part of an unavoidable process of ›degeneration‹. Within the scope of a close narratological reading this article shows, however, that the possession of anthropological knowledge is often not claimed by the narrator but by the fictive characters themselves. The analysis of the short novels Der kleine Herr Friedemann (Little Herr Friedemann) and Der Weg zum Friedhof (The Road to the Curchyard) exemplarily shows that Thomas Mann creates - already in his early works - a firmly modern way of writing that marks contemporary claims of anthropological knowledge as depending on perspective and as normative decisions with a limited validity.