Kister, Aglaia: Fragile Balance
Schwindelerfahrungen und Gleichgewichtsideale im Werk Thomas Manns
"I am a man of equilibrium" is one of Thomas Mann's famous self-characterizations. In his work, balancing figures as a basic movement of human life, which, however, always remains endangered by counterforces – dizziness, melancholy, radicalism. Aglaia Kister undertakes a metaphorological analysis of the imagery Thomas Mann's balancing ideals are informed by, entailing implications that are decisive for his thinking. As her reading of selected novels and essays shows, Mann's passionately courted concepts of balance emerge precisely from the loss of balance specific to modernity: Dizziness in particular is a leading symptom of gender theory, existential philosophy and poetology. For Thomas Mann, balance figures as a state as serendipitous as it is fragile that must be constantly wrested anew from the crises of political, mental, or physical loss of balance.
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