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Die vertauschten Köpfe. Eine indische Legende Thomas Mann

Die vertauschten Köpfe. Eine indische Legende

Thomas Mann

Published
ISBN :
Hardcover
190 pages
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 About the Book 

Mann takes the Cartesian split--the war between mind & body, galvanized on one side by Descartes battle cry I think, therefore I am--illustrating the conflict using two young friends, in this Indian legend turned fantastical tale of theMoreMann takes the Cartesian split--the war between mind & body, galvanized on one side by Descartes battle cry I think, therefore I am--illustrating the conflict using two young friends, in this Indian legend turned fantastical tale of the absurd. Nanda is a farmer & blacksmith, a strong, earthy youth rooted in the physical. The contemplative Shridaman is a merchants son with Brahman blood. Tho opposites, theyve a friendship built on mutual admiration & a hint of health envy.Their differences manifest during a journey when they come upon the sight of a beautiful young woman at a remote, ritual bathing-place. They observe the woman secretly as she bathes. Nanda enjoys the sight without shame. Shridaman is by turns embarrassed, then inspired. They launch into a hushed philosophical discussion--a frequent attribute of the novel. Shirdaman says, Yet we are...guilty if we simply feast on the sight of beauty without inquiring into its being, & promptly falls in love with her, Sita, languishing over her with the exaggerated fatalism of the smitten lover in a Shakespearean comedy. Eventually, Sita & Shridaman are married. From this scenario springs one of the most bizarre love triangles in literature, leading to a confrontation with Kali, earth mother & patron of the body, & later to another meeting, at the other end of the spectrum, with an ascetic. These powerful archetypes impel the pendulum of fate back & forth above the three characters. Again & again the question is asked: Is it the head or the body which is most closely linked with the Beloved? Tragedy is inevitable, visiting the trio more than once. In the end all hope for the future lies with Andhaka, Shridaman & Sitas young son. The boy is a nearsighted introvert whose quiet innocence hints at some vague potential for change, for bridging the gap between mind & body.Am element detracting from the book is the 41 translation. While not without merit--in chapter 5, for example, the passage describing Shridamans descent into Kalis dark, heady, womb-like temple begs to be read aloud--the prose is sometimes choppy with convoluted, problematic sentence structure. The novels potential among English readers is hampered by its being overdue for new translation.--A.C. Walter (edited)