5 March 09 | Chad W. Post

Over at Conversational Reading, Scott Esposito is trying out an online book club experiment. Over the next month he will be reading Thomas Mann’s Buddenbrooks along with two friends—Sacha Arnold and John Lingan—and discussing the book online.

Hopefully this will generate an interesting conversation and will pull in some other readers along the way. (I’m tempted to join in, but I have thousands of manuscript pages and submissions waiting to be read . . .)

In case you’re interested in participating, here’s a bit of Scott’s intro to Buddenbrooks:

It was Mann’s first novel, published in 1901 when he was 26, and it charts (as called out in the book’s subtitle) the decline over multiple generations of the titular Buddenbrooks clan. Although I’ve never seen substantiation of this, it is commonly said that Mann, who received the Nobel prize in 1929, was awarded the Nobel for Buddenbrooks.

Although Mann would later take up 20th-century Germany in major works like Doctor Faustus and The Magic Mountain, Buddenbrooks is basically his statement on the lands that would become Germany during the 19th century. Although the book remains centered on the Buddenbrooks’, Mann does reach out broadly to include a wide cross-section of the society they inhabited. The exact location of the Buddenbrooks family mansion, and cheif theater of the novel, is never explicitly stated, but it is generally understood to be the northern German city of Lübec. Mann is said to have conducted detailed research into life int he 19th century to realistically depict the Buddenbrooks’ daily lives.


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