The relationship between fiction and fact from Sam Albee's blog

The relationship between fiction and fact

In the following, let us look at two very different texts with regard to the relationship between fiction and fact: Thomas Mann's "Buddenbrooks" (1901) and Tim Staffel's "Terrordrom" (1997). Both novels were written by young men, both novels capture the mood at the end of a century, both novels are firmly "located", one in the venerable Hanseatic city of Lubeck, the other in the old and new German capital Berlin, and both deal in their own way with the dissolution of what is supposedly firmly established.

In his novel " Die Buddenbrooks " (1901, see Figure 1), Thomas Mann gives the impression of faithfully telling the story of the dissolution of a Lubeck patrician family over four generations. Although Thomas Mann endowed "Die Buddenbrooks" with features of the upper middle-class Mann family and incorporated many episodes of family history - analogy helper , they are not identical to it. "Die Buddenbrooks" is an art product and the elements of reality it contains are ultimately irrelevant to the "functioning" of the text and the pleasure of reading; they are of more interest to literary scholars and biographers. The impact of his first novel would not have been so overwhelming if Thomas Mann had not captured "a piece of the history of the soul of the European bourgeoisie in general" (Thomas Mann), and that requires more than the mere depiction of reality.

A literary text mixes elements of reality with the invented/fictional. Therefore, the fictional is also considered possible by the reader.

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By Sam Albee
Added May 30 '22



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