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Pick, D. (1988). A Psychoanalytic and Cultural Study of the Krupp Family. An Inquiry Into Some of the Roots of German Character Formation. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 15:531-534.
    

(1988). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 15:531-534

A Psychoanalytic and Cultural Study of the Krupp Family. An Inquiry Into Some of the Roots of German Character Formation

Review by:
Daniel Pick

By Roy C. Calogeras. New York: Vantage Press. 1987. Pp. 231.

Male Fantasies I. Women, Floods, Bodies, History. By Klaus Theweleit. Translated from the German by Stephen Conway in collaboration with Erica Carter and Chris Turner. Cambridge: Polity Press. 1987. Pp. 517.

'Like a link in a chain, ' Papa had written … Such was her significance and her responsibility, such her task: to share by deed and word in the history of her family. She turned back to the end of the great volume, where on a rough folio page was entered the genealogy of the whole Buddenbrook family, with parentheses and rubrics, indicated in the Consul's hand, and all the dates set down … (Thomas Mann, Buddenbrooks, 1902, Harmondsworth, 1957, p. 126.)

[Woman] wants to remain always and throughout–this is just her womanhood–purely passive, to feel herself under another's will. She demands only to be desired physically, to be taken possession of, like a new property. (Otto Weininger, Sex and Character, 1903, London, 1910, p. 292.)

Mann's great first novel Buddenbrooks charted the gathering crisis of a Hanseatic merchant family across the generations. Against the image of bourgeois familial stability (by the will and work of God 'who wonderfully guided the destinies of the family …' [p. 125]), it explored a chain of morbid filiations and vitiating transmissions. The novel was indeed subtitled The decline of a family. As the young Consul says to his profligate brother,

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