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The Architecture of Narrative TimeThomas Mann and the Problems of Modern Narrative$
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Erica Wickerson

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198793274

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198793274.001.0001

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(p.127) 4 Myth
The Architecture of Narrative Time

Erica Wickerson

Oxford University Press

Mythology was of great interest to Mann and allusions to well-known myths appear in many guises across his works. It is also of interest in terms of narrative time. This chapter takes a selection of works in which Mann toys—to varying degrees of subtlety—with mythic tales, and explores the way in which nods to well-known mythological tales affect the subjective flow of time. I explore the different models presented in Felix Krull, Blood of the Walsungs, and Doctor Faustus, and compare these to Günter Grass’s The Tin Drum, a work that engages closely with Mann’s writing. This analysis illustrates the temporally stagnating effect of mythological repetition—at the level of both plot and story—as well as the instability caused by divergence from expectation.

Keywords:   mythological repetition, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Günter Grass, history, metaphor, expectations and derailment

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