I had never read Goethe or about him prior to the Mann novel. I found I had to do some research and reading and reflections in additionally listening and reading this novel. Also there has been a lot happening in our world today that I feel obligated to follow at some level.
That said, I will write on chapter 3 and respond to both of your writings on the first 3 chapters. I do agree with the introduction of the dress and ribbon ( intentionally missing one) anticipates Mann’s coming perspective in following chapters.
I was struck with learning that Mann got access to Goethe’s diary where Charlotte returns after yo years, but this is not in “the sorrows of Werner” written in 1772. Charlotte is featured in this “Storm und Drang” period novel that launched his career. The story Mann writes is created with “Wahrheit und Dichtung”. Probably best translated as “truth and make believe” rather than “truth and poetry”. Clearly Mann, in my understanding anyhow is making a connection between German cultural ideology in his lifetime and a kind of dialtictical connection with Weimar Germany in the second half of the 18th century into the early 19th century. German identity was hierarchical in comparing themselves to Prussians , for example (and the seven years war …American and French Revolution, and the Napolionic wars and defeat).
Who is Charlotte? The name comes from the French 14 hundreds, thereabouts when King Charles 2 named his two illegitimate daughters this female name as an appended title rather than a surname. Any connection?
We also know not by chapter 3 of Mann’s novel, but background research or having read Goethe, that his novel his fiction self commits suicide having lost this deep love.
Lotte in chapter 3 is overwhelmed by the quickly spread gossip of her name…and being the Lotte in Goethe’s novel 40years later arriving in their town they proudly identify as being “true” German. From Heir Maher, a laborer at the “elephant” inn, who also lines up a series of visitors from the Irish pencil / charcoal drawer seeking an opportunity to grab an object
That will have value..,into a conversation, a long one, with Dr. Wilhelmina Riemer who brags about his work with Goethe, but stumbles on quoting coherently Goethe’s dialectical approach in his works. After the back and forth when he tries to get Lotte to talk about her relationship with Goethe and trying to learn about her feeling about her being exploited and unwilling fame.. we reach a point where Latte realizes that she is being used by this ludicrous line up of characters who are visiting her for their own gains, be it a take away drawing, signed documents, or a means to ends for access to the genius or monitory gain, or just being in a crowd that seeks to basque in a historical moment…thanks to the gossip.
I also am fascinated by Mann’s being quoted in Goethe’s name at the Nuremberg trials, and one of the prosecutors points out he could not find that in Goethe’ works. Mann replied something like I have studied him so well that I am sure that is something he would have said. Chapter 3 shows us Mann’s voice in this developing story of truth and make believe.
More later as the conversation develops..and what is the next reading chapters ?