Again I am reflecting on Mann’s “voice” in these chapters and why he chose Goethe. Again we know in the English translation in 1940 that Mann found a newly published archival Goethe journal that Latte returns to Weimar 40 years later. (Cited in the translater’s preface).
I agree late with Boes that Latte is the central character in the first six chapters.
It is true we see more voice from these she is cornered into encountering by Mager, but we do also hear her thoughts, conversations and push back on Mager.schedule” with Heir Dr.
Riemer and Adele in chapters 4and 5 and it seems clear she learns not just motives, but also about the Goethe as a young man and the one they know, and she refuses to do to the window, or to the entrance of the inn, that Mager tries to persuade her to do.
She extends her time beyond Magar’s planned schedule that he reveals to her one at a time.
There seems to be a change in the aesthetics of Goethe over this 40 year period, but not in his view of women. Goethe has also become famous and given a title of sorts and gains power and influence. Wonder at what cost? Also there is a hint of the conflict between poetics and politics. I remain confused about Goethe’s enduring embrace of Napoleon. I also find empathy for August, Goethe’s son, as does Ottilie…more so than her friend Adele.
I also want to correct my mistake in that when Latte sort of smirks twice in first meeting Adele and her Saxon (not Pressian) dialect of German. Which made me pay attention to social class issues and the German perception of Others such as Russians, etc.as
at times referred to as barbarians, and then also a kind of necessary evil to reclaim ther lands and to eventually unite the states into a nation.
I look forward to finishing this book. It is a challenging read, but for me new frontiers in understanding history. Not everyone’s cup of tea, as is clearly reflected in how this is well represented in how few libraries even have the book!