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Buddenbrooks
Verfall einer Familie
Buddenbrooks
Verfall einer Familie
Buddenbrooks
Verfall einer Familie
eBook1.062 Seiten13 Stunden

Buddenbrooks Verfall einer Familie

Bewertung: 4 von 5 Sternen

4/5

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SpracheDeutsch
HerausgeberArchive Classics
Erscheinungsdatum1. Nov. 1957
Buddenbrooks
Verfall einer Familie
Vorschau lesen
Autor

Thomas Mann

German essayist, cultural critic, and novelist, Thomas Mann was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1929. Among his most famous works are Buddenbrooks, published when he was just twenty-six, The Magic Mountain, and Doctor Faustus.

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Bewertung: 4.01593625498008 von 5 Sternen
4/5

1.004 Bewertungen29 Rezensionen

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  • Bewertung: 5 von 5 Sternen
    5/5
    Before there was The Magic Mountain and before Death in Venice Thomas Mann gained critical acclaim for Buddenbrooks. It is a long, beautifully written account of a declining bourgeois family, that some have suggested was inspired by his reading of Tolstoy among others. While the book has lighter moments it is overwhelmingly bleak. The Buddenbrooks' family success is behind them and there are few of the current and upcoming generations that are up to the task of maintaining the family much less improving it.When we first meet the family one is immediately impressed by their conservatism and traditional ways. It is set in the 1830s in a northern German trading city and the fine mansion where they live and everything else about them exudes the feeling of haute bourgeoisie. The central characters are introduced, Johann and Elisabeth the father and mother with three children, Antonie (Tony), Thomas, and his younger brother Christian. It is their lives that form the center of the story for the first half of the novel.With Thomas Mann every detail is important, so as time goes by (and it seems to fly by decade after decade) the background of the changes resulting from both the Industrial Revolution and the politics of the German states is as important as the family social struggles. And struggles they have as the Grandfather dies and the firm passes on to Johann who too few years later passes the firm on to his eldest son Thomas. If there is one central figure in the family saga it is TOny who first marries an older man rather than her young love as her father demands only to see that marriage end in divorce due to the bankruptcy of her husband who (wrongly) assumed the Buddenbrook family would bail him out. I hope you are beginning to get a feeling for the theme of decline.Buddenbrooks reminds me a bit of Booth Tarkington's The Magnificent Ambersons, a noel about another family who fails to change with the times and struggles to maintain their social standing. Mann's satirical side is borought home often and is best seen in a set piece when the workers challenge the leaders of the Town. The mini-revolt (it pales in comparison to the real revolution of 1848) is defused by Consul Johann while one of the town elders is parodied as he shows more concern for his carriage than anything the workers (who like children should be silent) might have to say.One of the keenest issues for me is the position of women in the Buddenbrooks family and society in general. That is the lack of standing and choice that they have. This is evident not only in Tony's failed marriages (she has a second divorce before the midpoint in the novel) but also in other female members of the family, particularly Tony's younger sister Clara who is considered unmarriageable until a Minister, Sievert Tiburtius, takes an interest in her. Most woman in this society are prepared for nothing in life with limited choices and the prospect of life as second class citizens. Throughout the novel Mann develops themes through the use of lietmotifs. These stem from his admiration for the operas of Richard Wagner, in the case of Buddenbrooks an example can be found in the description of the color – blue and yellow, respectively – of the skin and the teeth of the characters. Each such description alludes to different states of health, personality and even the destiny of the characters. Aspects of Thomas Mann's own personality are manifest in the two brothers, Thomas and Christian, whose find it difficult to live together. Christian is much the free spirit who cannot be happy working in the family firm, the leadership of which Thomas has inherited as the eldest son. It should not be considered a coincidence that Mann shared the same first name with one of them. The influence of Schopenhauer is also present and it is through the brothers that both Buddenbrooks reflect a conflict lived by the author: departure from a conventional bourgeois life to pursue an artistic one, although without rejecting bourgeois ethics.
  • Bewertung: 5 von 5 Sternen
    5/5
    A fantastic plunge into 19th-century German society. This book carries you along like a comforting drug trip gone just a little wrong, such that you wind up where you did not want to go. Recommended to anyone who likes Anna Karenina or Vanity Fair.
  • Bewertung: 5 von 5 Sternen
    5/5
    Apparently this was Faulkner's favorite novel from Mann. Aspects of it likely permeated his epic of the Compson family. Coincidentally I read this one while my wife's sister was staying with us over the holidays. The Sound and The Fury was read in 2004 when we visted her in London.

    I thought of this novel yesterday while reading Nancy Mitford's Pursuit of Love. One almost needs to polish silver when pondering these works.
  • Bewertung: 5 von 5 Sternen
    5/5
    Given the subtitle (Verfall einer Familie/Decline of a Family), reviewers don't need to worry about spoilers. The real surprise is that a book with this gloomy subtitle and written by someone in his early twenties has engaged so many readers for so many decades, even readers who don't much care for German literature in general. Why do so many readers get wrapped up in the problems of Tony and Tom when you know in advance it will not end well? Some reviewers called it a soap opera, and there is a certain soap quality to it. You want to shake Tony and say "don't marry that guy" not once, but twice..actually with her daughter's husband, three times....There is also a fairy tale quality to it. Gerda, Tom's beautiful distant wife, is an ice queen who watches with benign indifference as things fall apart one step at a time. There is even the hint of a fairy tale curse. Tom abandons his sweet florist shop girl Anna to marry aristocratic Gerda for practical financial and class reasons. When Tom constructs an ostentatious house for his family, he compliments Iwersen the florist for the magnificent decoration at the party for the construction workers. Iwersen explains that his wife Anna made the floral decorations for the new house. In parts of norther Europe construction parties have a sense of blessing the house and warding off evil by making the workers happy. You get the feeling Tom doing Anna wrong does not placate bad spirits...The earnest med student Morten from a working class family is the only man Tony ever loved. At the seashore he has to wait for her sitting "on the rocks" while she talks to her fancy friends in the pavilion. Then her father forces her to give Morten up for an oily repulsive business associate, who it turns out is colluding others to drain the Buddenbrook wealth. The most horrific scene, Tony in the arms of the disgusting Bendix Gruenlich, is left completely off stage. When it comes to the inevitable end, Tony says to Tom that she's sitting "on the rocks". The story comes to its conclusion at a crucial time in German history. Mann provides precise dates, some before unification in 1870, at the end just afterwards. He only obliquely alludes to unification and only mentions Bismarck once, but I suspect a German reader would be more attuned to the momentous events taking place off stage. Business practices change with economic integration, and the Buddenbrooks are easily swindled because of their old fashioned way with transactions. There are very subtle references to technological change as oil lamps on chains across the street are replaced by gas lights, and at the end the servants' bell pulls are replaced by electric buzzers. Long rides in horse drawn carriages are described in loving detail, and at the end Gerda goes home to her father in Amsterdam on a train. The horrific final scene of Hanno's agony at school takes place under the rule of a new Prussian school director. The old gentler director who governed the school when his father and grandfather were children has died and been replaced. There is just one paragraph in the school scene that explicitly mentions how unification and military success have ushered in an era of harsh manners and bravado, an era Hanno just does not want to live in. His soul mate Kai is a writer and so we can hope Kai will tell Hanno's story...and Anna prepares the floral arrangements for Tom's funeral. She has children, the oldest is old enough to be Tom's child.
  • Bewertung: 5 von 5 Sternen
    5/5
    Buddenbrooks is not a book I would've likely noticed or picked up had it not been for an invitation from the Thomas Mann group. German literature has never attracted me and Thomas Mann was among that class of authors whose work, I felt, was probably more effort that it was enjoyable. (He had that look about him, okay?) So I made some assumptions based on nothing, so what? Had it not been for the subtitle of the book, “The Decline of a Family,” I probably still would be ignorant of Mann's abilities; but that subtitle pulled me in—I wanted to know more about this family tragedy. I'm glad Mann included it as part of his title.What I most appreciated about Mann's writing was his use of description. I'm not a big fan of descriptive passages, authors that drone on and on about the shape of the table and how the hands of a grandfather clock move. Normally, I find it irrelevant, tiring, and detrimental to the forward movement of the plot. But Mann succeeds in this regard. His descriptions give life to the story. It paints the background and sets the stage for the scene. Colors and props become meaningful to the theme. In fact, I think it would be easy to say that his scenery is a character of its own.Aside from scenery, excellent characters were also found in Toni and Hanno. Both were developed wonderfully, and I looked forward to their every scene. I think I could've like Christian had he been similarly developed, but he was more of a plot device than a character. Unfortunately for me, a large part of the novel focused on Thomas and I was never able to connect with him. By the novel's conclusion, I was completely ambivalent toward his character.In the end, I enjoyed Buddenbrooks greatly. There were moments I lost interest, particularly when Thomas was at the center, but this did not take away from the grand setting and story that made this novel fabulous. Thank you, Thomas Mann, for reminding me not to make assumptions.
  • Bewertung: 4 von 5 Sternen
    4/5
    As the (sub-)title implies, this is the story of the decadence of a family. Thomas Mann is one of the greatest German writers of the XXth century. The characters description is flawless and there is probably no better novel on the city of Lübeck. The book is full of northern German, hanseatic, Prussian rational mentality and, yet, it is equally sad and moving.
  • Bewertung: 5 von 5 Sternen
    5/5
    my favorite novel
  • Bewertung: 3 von 5 Sternen
    3/5
    Over het algemeen een louter chronologisch verhaal, beschreven vanuit derde persoon (onpersoonlijk). Af en toe briljant afgewisseld met dagboekfragmenten, uitwisseling van brieven en soms suggesties beschrijving van vreemde verschijnselen.Qua structuur niet echt evenwichtig: de grote lijn zit in op- en ondergang; maar daartussen gaat het verhaal een kronkelweg; het slothoofdstuk over Hanno doet echt epiloog-achtig aan; in feite was het al met de Buddenbrooks gedaan na de dood van Thomas; dat laatste hoofdstuk lijkt dan ook eerder een ander thema uit te werken (de strijd tussen kunstenaars- en koopmans-mentaliteit).Mooie karakterisering van het milieu, vooral via de persoon van Tonie, die alle mentale karaktertrekken weergeeft. Er is zeker geen identificatie tussen auteur en milieu, dat blijkt uit de soms pijnlijk gedetailleerde beschrijving van de kleinsburgerlijkheid; hoogstens is er bevlogenheid over de ruimdenkendheid van Thomas, die hoog boven de andere burgers verheven staat; even (in de persoon van Horsten Schwarzkopf en de revolutie van 1848) worden andere waarden aangereikt (opkomend socialisme), maar die worden ofwel niet uitgewerkt, ofwel belachelijk gemaakt.Al bij al een grote roman, van brede envergure, maar zeker geen meesterwerk.
  • Bewertung: 5 von 5 Sternen
    5/5
    Not much to say- it is that good. The fact that Mann went on to write Magic Mountain and Dr Faustus, among others, is staggering. Here he created a range of characters, generally unsympathetic, and as boring as people usually are. But just as in real life, you come to care about them and wish them well. As the subtitle of the novel suggests, it doesn't really work out for anyone. The translation is wonderful- transparent but also just a tiny bit lyrical. My only complaint is that the women in the book aren't anywhere near as well fleshed out as the men; but that makes a certain amount of sense, given that women in a nineteenth century family of this kind did mainly play a supporting role. There's no sense that Mann or the narrator approves of the shallowness of most of the women, or approves of the social structures that force them to be shallow. But I really wanted to hear more about Gerda. More Gerda! Otherwise, though, just a beautifully executed, reader-friendly novel full of gentle irony, vicious irony, and sympathy for the unsympathetic.
  • Bewertung: 4 von 5 Sternen
    4/5
    you probably have to be from north germany to understand the characters because when Tony meets people in Bavaria you can tell the difference. excellent insight of life of the nobility. reminds me of Anna Karenina.
  • Bewertung: 5 von 5 Sternen
    5/5
    This story is the debut novel of Thomas Mann, which he wrote when he was in his twenties and it won him the Nobel Prize. The story is about the Buddenbrook family and shows the decline of family, home, and business over the generations. It was semi autobiographical though it is fiction it does have many similarities with his own family and home town. It is long but a good read and one that was not hard to finish. I would rate it 5 stars.
  • Bewertung: 5 von 5 Sternen
    5/5
    A masterful work.
  • Bewertung: 4 von 5 Sternen
    4/5
    "Life was harsh: and business, with its ruthless unsentimentality, was an epitome of life." (Buddenbrooks, p.363)Had I been told that an objective, even detached depiction of the downfall of a merchant family in a North-German town in the nineteenth century would shake me they way Buddenbrooks has shaken me, I wouldn't have believed it possible. But what I find most impacting is that even though I was prepared to witness the much forewarned decline of this family I was swept away completely all the same by the pragmatic but intense tone of the narrative which stirred unintended, troubled feelings in me.Told in an omniscient, impartial voice and taking for background the first symptoms of major social and economic changes in Germany on its way into 20th Century modernity and uncertainty, Mann opens the narration with an opulent banquet in 1835 where the three generation of Buddendbrooks are celebrating their social and economic prominence and future prospects. Mann describes their world in detail and masterly pictures the characters with all their hopes, fears and ambitions, all this in a brilliantly flowing language.The story mainly follows two of the children: Thomas, the crown prince who has been prepared to take over the firm and to become the future ruling man in the family, and his beautiful sister Antoine, a spoiled, naive creature with bourgeois airs but good-natured heart who will see her life expectations vanish and her dreams disappear as years go by.While Thomas embodies the vitality, strength and vigor of a prosperous, responsible merchant of the time, his hypochondriac, indolent brother Christian and eventually Thomas’ introverted and frail son, Hanno, fail their merchant inheritance in allowing their artistic vocation to prevail over their duty to the firm, condemning the Buddenbrook name into oblivion.In this sense, Mann sets the tone for some themes in his forthcoming works, one of them being the refined and sophisticated artistic attitude opposed to the simple, healthy and pragmatic life of a merchant family, a poignant subject in this novel and one which could also have reminiscences of his own personal experience.Although Mann treats his characters lovingly he always keeps in an ironic distance which reminds the reader that the fate of the Buddenbrooks is a sealed one and that, like in life, eventual decay and ultimate death can’t be prevented. And this natural cycle of ups and downs both of the firm and the family, for they are bound together, is precisely what makes possible that a naturalistic story such as this one could reach one’s soul and fill it with wonder with its delicate and effortless language.In the end, nothing is left, no grand house, no flourishing firm, no prominent family. The Buddenbrooks sink back into meaninglessness. Only an old volume with the genealogy of the whole family remains, echo of a long gone world and the only proof of what once was and never will be again. But with the end comes freedom."Was not every human being a mistake and a blunder? Was he not in painful arrest from the hour of his birth? Prison, prison, bonds and limitations everywhere! The human being stares hopelessly through the barred window of his personality at the high walls of outward circumstances, till Death and calls him home to freedom!" (p.506)
  • Bewertung: 5 von 5 Sternen
    5/5
    Definitely one of the great novels, but it takes a long time before you really see where it's taking you. Mann feeds you an enormous quantity of fine detail about bourgeois life, business practices, and values in Lübeck in the second half of the 19th century, until you feel you could have a stab at buying and selling corn yourself, or you start to think that you're stuck in a Zola novel where — inexplicably — no-one has yet gone mad and committed a violent crime. But then in the last hundred pages we get Thomas Buddenbrooks's Schopenhauer epiphany and Hanno's day at school, and suddenly the sane, orderly realism of the preceding chapters is destabilised and you're forced to look back at them from a very 20th-century perspective. Quite a different sort of reading experience from the in-your-face philosophical debate of late Mann, and quite a different style of writing too, but extremely rewarding.
  • Bewertung: 4 von 5 Sternen
    4/5
    Buddenbrooks is a dull novel, but wonderful nonetheless. There are no great conflicts in its 700 pages, no grand plot twists, no suspense. Action unfolds, but slowly and without sensation. And yet, the book is hard to put down. Mann's portraits of his characters––especially those of Thomas, Christian, and Tony––are just so vivid, so artfully done. The entire cast of characters feels remarkably real, as do the city and spaces they occupy. And though Buddenbrooks is not a novel of ideas, either, Mann displays his wisdom throughout: his perceptive observations of everyday behaviour, his understanding of the inner workings and effects of society, and his keen apprehension of personality. This is realism as its finest, and John E. Woods' translation makes the novel shine even brighter.
  • Bewertung: 4 von 5 Sternen
    4/5
    Thomas Buddenbrook was a businessman, who followed in the family’s bourgeoisie pragmatism and achieved moderate success. But his brother Christian was the prodigal son, who squandered time and money in theater. And Thomas’s son Hanno, escaped harsh reality into the world of music. The conflict between the pragmatic and the ideal, reflected Thomas Mann’s struggles, and would surface again in The Magic Mountain. The reader sees the family’s decline in Christian’s worsening pain, in Thomas’s gloom, in Hanno’s unhealthy teeth, and in the failed marriages of Tony, Thomas’s sister. Although Tony tried to leverage her and her daughter’s marriages to uplift the family status, their failures pointed toward the finale, where Christian was permanently institutionalize and Hanno died without children. Not only had the wealthy dissipated, but also there was no heir. Buddenbrooks is a monumental family saga.
  • Bewertung: 5 von 5 Sternen
    5/5
    I read this book in December 1951. On Dec 19 I said of it: "Buddenbrooks is really good. In its way, of course. He is not at all overdevelped and so the shortcomings of the 1900 novel are not so apparent. Furthermore, being translated from the German helps a lot. There is a quaintness that is quite redeeming, though one can't feel very greatly for the aristocratic family." On Dec 22 I said: "Quite a book, written differently tfrom anything I've read before. The characters are all upper-class people and I can't rationally be concerned when they don't make too much money, etc. But yet, such is influenceability by the author that insticnctively I react as intended, with sympathy. Senator Tom Buddenbrook has just died and the only carefully delineated characters living are Antonie and Hanno, Tom's son. Antonie is his twice-divorced sister, whose daughter, Erica's husband, was imprisoned and then left her. But what is to become of the business? Hanno can't possibly take it over--nor Christian, Tom's brother. If Marcus runs it it will surely die. Will it be sold out--to Hegstrom? It is a fascinating story, better--though of a different type--than The Forsyte Saga--but not as good as Kristen Lavransdatter. But, then, Kristen has assumed to me such a classic greatness based on my knowledge of my reaction at the time I read it. Whether my ascribal of greatness is objectively valid could, I suppose, be questioned. " On Dec 23 I said: (SPOILER) "The book is very good; it became more detailed towards the end, portraYing Hanno as 15 very well. The Senator's will had the business sold. Hanno died of typhoid in his teens and the book ended, with the family as good as finished. Christian was in a crazy house, Antoine, 50, was still alive and herself, but to what she had fallen! The book was seldom joyful, more bad than good in the fortunes of the family. A noble book, grandioSe, and deserving of the accolades it has won. I did not get The Magic Mountain next as I did not want to satiate myself on Mann, after the graNdeur of this book has faded I'll read The Magic Mountain, but not now.
  • Bewertung: 5 von 5 Sternen
    5/5
    Buddenbrooks was written by Thomas Mann when he was only 25 years old, but this reads as the work of a much older and more experienced writer. Buddenbrooks explores four generations of the Buddenbrooks family, a family that has everything going for it at the beginning of the book and declines through the 731 pages of this novel. The 19th century German family experiences business set backs, divorces, ill health, and death, all of which contribute to their demise. The family values itself very highly and refuses initially to see the problems occurring, instead relying on their pride in family to carry them along. I loved this book. The detail of characterization and the exploration of family history were fantastic. I also loved the themes of entitlement vs. work ethic - sometimes both hard work and a sense of entitlement being balanced in one character, sometimes in contrasting characters. I haven't read much German literature, but I've read a lot of family epics from this general era. This differed in the specifics of money that were always present and the decline of all parts of the family - no one in the family is really successful here. Despite the decline of the family, and the multiple deaths (which by the way are written very convincingly - hit a little too close to home for me), it isn't an unrelentingly dark novel. I found it very readable and captivating. Definitely a 5 star read.
  • Bewertung: 4 von 5 Sternen
    4/5
    To sum up Buddenbrooks it is a four-generational story about the downfall of a middle class family. There is no storyline other than following the lives of the Buddenbrooks from 1835 to 1977. The Buddenbrooks are a typical family. They have their problems like everyone else. Faulty business deals, unstable health, failed marriages, partnerships made and broken. My favorite parts involved daughter Tony and her relationships with her family and the men who pursued her. The way her father simultaneously protects her and throws her to the wolves is eyebrow raising, but pretty typical of a father-know-best attitude.
  • Bewertung: 2 von 5 Sternen
    2/5
    This is a really oppressive book.
  • Bewertung: 5 von 5 Sternen
    5/5
    I found this book to be surprisingly readable considering it's age (I read the original English translation). Also, considering the plot was just basic life events it was a real page turner. The character development is sublime throughout. The best thing about Buddenbrooks though is the interesting perspective into family decline and societal evolution. If you try and find the parallels in today's world, in your own family, it is very eye-opening. Mann finds and reveals so many timeless truths. Some passages are worth re-reading, even commiting to memory. I highly recommend this book to anyone-- do not be put off the length, age, or origin. This book is for everyone and very accessible.
  • Bewertung: 5 von 5 Sternen
    5/5
    I wished that this book had no ending, that it could have continued on and on, because no other book I have read in ages felt so satisfying. Mann's exploration of a Lubeck merchant family is so involved, and so passionate, and so sad.
  • Bewertung: 5 von 5 Sternen
    5/5
    After seeing a reference to this book -- not once but twice -- from a blogger whose literary opinions I respect highly, I decided to take the plunge and buy this in hardcover. My experience with German lit is slender, but I'm so glad I decided to read Buddenbrooks! I was impressed by the psychological detail of the characters. The chapters of the family Christmas and Hanno's school day are nothing short of stunning. A classic, truly.
  • Bewertung: 5 von 5 Sternen
    5/5
    The audacity - to review Mann's Buddenbrooks. I adore this book, and I still can't shake the revelatory feeling I got while reading it for the first time back in my teens. Because of Buddenbrooks, Thomas Mann became fast one of my favorite authors. And that is easy to understand - judging by my library choices, it is clear I have a preference for generational novels, family sagas and German literature in general. I just love the descriptions, the subtle eloquence (ok, that's borderline oxymoronic - and now neologistic!! - but that is how I felt about it), the restraint, the convoluted emotions, the complicated relationship with the German state and so on. What more could I possibly say? This is one of the greatest works of literature and I could never imagine owning a book collection that did not include this one.
  • Bewertung: 4 von 5 Sternen
    4/5
    It's a slog at the beginning. The novel concerns a prosperous German family so wrapped up in business and family honor that it becomes their downfall. The characters are beautiful realized and there are many vivid moments. There is an exquisite description of the family Christmas that I particularly enjoyed. I do believe that Mann, like so many writers of the period, equates creativity and an artistic temperament with physical weakness. This is not a book for those who like a lively plot, but rather a study of character and the times as capitalism rises Godzilla-like to dominate the world.
  • Bewertung: 5 von 5 Sternen
    5/5
    Living with this family for a while makes you never want to part from them.
  • Bewertung: 3 von 5 Sternen
    3/5
    Ok, so this is a "great" novel. They even made a mini-series out of it for Public TV. So let's just assume it is a work of genius, and then we dont have to subject ourselves to the neverending sinking story of this German family.
  • Bewertung: 5 von 5 Sternen
    5/5
    A book about decadence as it develops over three generations
  • Bewertung: 5 von 5 Sternen
    5/5
    My first Thomas Mann novel. I loved it. A long, delicious soap-opera of a novel. There's a more extensive review at my xanga site (Daylily02) date January 3, 2007.

Buchvorschau

Buddenbrooks Verfall einer Familie - Thomas Mann

MANN

Buddenbrooks

Verfall

einer

Familie

DEUTSCHE BUCH-GEMEINSCHAFT

GMBH

Berlin

Mit Genehmigung von S. Fischer Verlag, Berlin

Copyright 1909 by S. Fischer Verlag, Berlin

Alle Rechte vorbehalten

Buddenbrooks

Erster Teil

Erstes Kapitel

»Was ist das. – Was – ist das …«

»Je, den Düwel ook, c'est la question, ma très chère demoiselle!«

Die Konsulin Buddenbrook, neben ihrer Schwiegermutter auf dem geradlinigen, weiß lackierten und mit einem goldenen Löwenkopf verzierten Sofa, dessen Polster hellgelb überzogen waren, warf einen Blick auf ihren Gatten, der in einem Armsessel bei ihr saß, und kam ihrer kleinen Tochter zu Hilfe, die der Großvater am Fenster auf den Knien hielt.

»Tony!« sagte sie, »ich glaube, daß mich Gott –«

Und die kleine Antonie, achtjährig und zartgebaut, in einem Kleidchen aus ganz leichter changierender Seide, den hübschen Blondkopf ein wenig vom Gesichte des Großvaters abgewandt, blickte aus ihren graublauen Augen angestrengt nachdenkend und ohne etwas zu sehen ins Zimmer hinein, wiederholte noch einmal: »Was ist das«, sprach darauf langsam: »Ich glaube, daß mich Gott«, fügte, während ihr Gesicht sich aufklärte, rasch hinzu: »– geschaffen hat samt allen Kreaturen«, war plötzlich auf glatte Bahn geraten und schnurrte nun, glückstrahlend und unaufhaltsam, den ganzen Artikel daher, getreu nach dem Katechismus, wie er soeben, anno 1835, unter Genehmigung eines hohen und wohlweisen Senates, neu revidiert herausgegeben war. Wenn man im Gange war, dachte sie, war es ein Gefühl, wie wenn man im Winter auf dem kleinen Handschlitten mit den Brüdern den »Jerusalemsberg« hinunterfuhr: es vergingen einem geradezu die Gedanken dabei, und man konnte nicht einhalten, wenn man auch wollte.

»Dazu Kleider und Schuhe«, sprach sie, »Essen und Trinken, Haus und Hof, Weib und Kind, Acker und Vieh …« Bei diesen Worten aber brach der alte M. Johann Buddenbrook einfach in Gelächter aus, in sein helles, verkniffenes Kichern, das er heimlich in Bereitschaft gehalten hatte. Er lachte vor Vergnügen, sich über den Katechismus mokieren zu können, und hatte wahrscheinlich nur zu diesem Zwecke das kleine Examen vorgenommen. Er erkundigte sich nach Tonys Acker und Vieh, fragte, wieviel sie für den Sack Weizen nähme und erbot sich, Geschäfte mit ihr zu machen. Sein rundes, rosig überhauchtes und wohlmeinendes Gesicht, dem er beim besten Willen keinen Ausdruck von Bosheit zu geben vermochte, wurde von schneeweiß gepudertem Haar eingerahmt, und etwas wie ein ganz leise angedeutetes Zöpflein fiel auf den breiten Kragen seines mausgrauen Rockes hinab. Er war, mit seinen siebenzig Jahren, der Mode seiner Jugend nicht untreu geworden; nur auf den Tressenbesatz zwischen den Knöpfen und den großen Taschen hatte er verzichtet, aber niemals im Leben hatte er lange Beinkleider getragen. Sein Kinn ruhte breit, doppelt und mit einem Ausdruck von Behaglichkeit auf dem weißen Spitzen-Jabot.

Alle hatten in sein Lachen eingestimmt, hauptsächlich aus Ehrerbietung gegen das Familienoberhaupt. Mme. Antoinette Buddenbrook, geborene Duchamps, kicherte in genau derselben Weise wie ihr Gatte. Sie war eine korpulente Dame mit dicken, weißen Locken über den Ohren, einem schwarz und hellgrau gestreiften Kleide ohne Schmuck, das Einfachheit und Bescheidenheit verriet, und mit noch immer schönen und weißen Händen, in denen sie einen kleinen, sammetnen Pompadour auf dem Schoße hielt. Ihre Gesichtszüge waren im Laufe der Jahre auf wunderliche Weise denjenigen ihres Gatten ähnlich geworden. Nur der Schnitt und die lebhafte Dunkelheit ihrer Augen redeten ein wenig von ihrer halb romanischen Herkunft; sie stammte großväterlicherseits aus einer französisch-schweizerischen Familie und war eine geborene Hamburgerin.

Ihre Schwiegertochter, die Konsulin Elisabeth Buddenbrook, eine geborene Kröger, lachte das Krögersche Lachen, das mit einem pruschenden Lippenlaut begann, und bei dem sie das Kinn auf die Brust drückte. Sie war, wie alle Krögers, eine äußerst elegante Erscheinung, und war sie auch keine Schönheit zu nennen, so gab sie doch mit ihrer hellen und besonnenen Stimme, ihren ruhigen, sicheren und sanften Bewegungen aller Welt ein Gefühl von Klarheit und Vertrauen. Ihrem rötlichen Haar, das auf der Höhe des Kopfes zu einer kleinen Krone gewunden und in breiten künstlichen Locken über die Ohren frisiert war, entsprach ein außerordentlich zartweißer Teint mit vereinzelten kleinen Sommersprossen. Das Charakteristische an ihrem Gesicht mit der etwas zu langen Nase und dem kleinen Munde war, daß zwischen Unterlippe und Kinn sich durchaus keine Vertiefung befand. Ihr kurzes Mieder mit hochgepufften Ärmeln, an das sich ein enger Rock aus duftiger, hellgeblümter Seide schloß, ließ einen Hals von vollendeter Schönheit frei, geschmückt mit einem Atlasband, an dem eine Komposition von großen Brillanten flimmerte.

Der Konsul beugte sich mit einer etwas nervösen Bewegung im Sessel vornüber. Er trug einen zimmetfarbenen Rock mit breiten Aufschlägen und keulenförmigen Ärmeln, die sich erst unterhalb des Gelenkes eng um die Hand schlossen. Seine anschließenden Beinkleider bestanden aus einem weißen, waschbaren Stoff und waren an den Außenseiten mit schwarzen Streifen versehen. Um die steifen Vatermörder, in die sich sein Kinn schmiegte, war die seidene Krawatte geschlungen, die dick und breit den ganzen Ausschnitt der buntfarbigen Weste ausfüllte … Er hatte die ein wenig tief liegenden, blauen und aufmerksamen Augen seines Vaters, wenn ihr Ausdruck auch vielleicht träumerischer war; aber seine Gesichtszüge waren ernster und schärfer, seine Nase sprang stark und gebogen hervor, und die Wangen, bis zu deren Mitte blonde, lockige Bartstreifen liefen, waren viel weniger voll als die des Alten.

Madame Buddenbrook wandte sich an ihre Schwiegertochter, drückte mit einer Hand ihren Arm, sah ihr kichernd in den Schoß und sagte:

»Immer der nämliche, mon vieux, Bethsy …?« »Immer« sprach sie wie »Ümmer« aus.

Die Konsulin drohte nur schweigend mit ihrer zarten Hand, so daß ihr goldenes Armband leise klirrte; und dann vollführte sie eine ihr eigentümliche Handbewegung vom Mundwinkel zur Frisur hinauf, als ob sie ein loses Haar zurückstriche, das sich dorthin verirrt hatte.

Der Konsul aber sagte mit einem Gemisch von entgegenkommendem Lächeln und Vorwurf in der Stimme:

»Aber Vater, Sie belustigen sich wieder einmal über das Heiligste!…«

Man saß im »Landschaftszimmer«, im ersten Stockwerk des weitläufigen alten Hauses in der Mengstraße, das die Firma Johann Buddenbrook vor einiger Zeit käuflich erworben hatte und das die Familie noch nicht lange bewohnte. Die starken und elastischen Tapeten, die von den Mauern durch einen leeren Raum getrennt waren, zeigten umfangreiche Landschaften, zartfarbig wie der dünne Teppich, der den Fußboden bedeckte, Idylle im Geschmack des 18. Jahrhunderts, mit fröhlichen Winzern, emsigen Ackersleuten, nett bebänderten Schäferinnen, die reinliche Lämmer am Rande spiegelnden Wassers im Schoße hielten oder sich mit zärtlichen Schäfern küßten … Ein gelblicher Sonnenuntergang herrschte meistens auf diesen Bildern, mit dem der gelbe Überzug der weiß lackierten Möbel und die gelbseidenen Gardinen vor den beiden Fenstern übereinstimmten.

Im Verhältnis zu der Größe des Zimmers waren die Möbel nicht zahlreich. Der runde Tisch mit den dünnen, geraden und leicht mit Gold ornamentierten Beinen stand nicht vor dem Sofa, sondern an der entgegengesetzten Wand, dem kleinen Harmonium gegenüber, auf dessen Deckel ein Flötenbehälter lag. Außer den regelmäßig an den Wänden verteilten, steifen Armstühlen gab es nur noch einen kleinen Nähtisch am Fenster, und, dem Sofa gegenüber, einen zerbrechlichen Luxus-Sekretär, bedeckt mit Nippes.

Durch eine Glastür, den Fenstern gegenüber, blickte man in das Halbdunkel einer Säulenhalle hinaus, während sich linker Hand vom Eintretenden die hohe, weiße Flügeltür zum Speisesaale befand. An der anderen Wand aber knisterte, in einer halbkreisförmigen Nische und hinter einer kunstvoll durchbrochenen Tür aus blankem Schmiedeeisen, der Ofen.

Denn es war frühzeitig kalt geworden. Draußen, jenseits der Straße, war schon jetzt, um die Mitte des Oktober, das Laub der kleinen Linden vergilbt, die den Marienkirchhof umstanden, um die mächtigen gotischen Ecken und Winkel der Kirche pfiff der Wind, und ein feiner, kalter Regen ging hernieder. Madame Buddenbrook, der Älteren, zuliebe hatte man die doppelten Fenster schon eingesetzt.

Es war Donnerstag, der Tag, an dem ordnungsmäßig jede zweite Woche die Familie zusammenkam; heute aber hatte man, außer den in der Stadt ansässigen Familiengliedern, auch ein paar gute Hausfreunde auf ein ganz einfaches Mittagbrot gebeten, und man saß nun, gegen vier Uhr nachmittags, in der sinkenden Dämmerung und erwartete die Gäste …

Die kleine Antonie hatte sich in ihrer Schlittenfahrt durch den Großvater nicht stören lassen, sondern hatte nur schmollend die immer ein bißchen hervorstehende Oberlippe noch weiter über die untere geschoben. Jetzt war sie am Fuße des »Jerusalemsberges« angelangt; aber unfähig, der glatten Fahrt plötzlich Einhalt zu tun, schoß sie noch ein Stück über das Ziel hinaus …

»Amen«, sagte sie, »ich weiß was, Großvater!«

»Tiens! Sie weiß was!« rief der alte Herr und tat, als ob ihn die Neugier im ganzen Körper plage. »Hast du gehört, Mama? Sie weiß was! Kann mir denn niemand sagen …«

»Wenn es ein warmer Schlag ist«, sprach Tony und nickte bei jedem Wort mit dem Kopfe, »so schlägt der Blitz ein. Wenn es aber ein kalter Schlag ist, so schlägt der Donner ein!«

Hierauf kreuzte sie die Arme und blickte in die lachenden Gesichter wie jemand, der seines Erfolges sicher ist. Herr Buddenbrook aber war böse auf diese Weisheit, er verlangte durchaus zu wissen, wer dem Kinde diese Stupidität beigebracht habe, und als sich ergab, Ida Jungmann, die kürzlich für die Kleinen engagierte Mamsell aus Marienwerder, sei es gewesen, mußte der Konsul diese Ida in Schutz nehmen.

»Sie sind zu streng, Papa. Warum sollte man in diesem Alter über dergleichen Dinge nicht seine eigenen wunderlichen Vorstellungen haben dürfen …«

»Excusez, mon cher!… Mais c'est une folie! Du weißt, daß solche Verdunkelung der Kinderköpfe mir verdrüßlich ist! Wat, de Dunner sleit in? Da sall doch gliek de Dunner inslahn! Geht mir mit eurer Preußin …«

Die Sache war die, daß der alte Herr auf Ida Jungmann nicht zum besten zu sprechen war. Er war kein beschränkter Kopf. Er hatte ein Stück von der Welt gesehen, war anno

13 vierspännig nach Süddeutschland gefahren, um als Heereslieferant für Preußen Getreide aufzukaufen, war in Amsterdam und Paris gewesen und hielt, ein aufgeklärter Mann, bei Gott nicht alles für verurteilenswürdig, was außerhalb der Tore seiner giebeligen Vaterstadt lag. Abgesehen vom geschäftlichen Verkehr aber, in gesellschaftlicher Beziehung, war er mehr als sein Sohn, der Konsul, geneigt, strenge Grenzen zu ziehen und Fremden ablehnend zu begegnen. Als daher eines Tages seine Kinder von einer Reise nach Westpreußen dies junge Mädchen – sie war erst jetzt zwanzig Jahre alt – als eine Art Jesuskind mit sich ins Haus gebracht hatten, eine Waise, die Tochter eines unmittelbar vor Ankunft der Buddenbrooks in Marienwerder verstorbenen Gasthofsbesitzers, da hatte der Konsul für diesen frommen Streich einen Auftritt mit seinem Vater zu bestehen gehabt, bei dem der alte Herr fast nur Französisch und Plattdeutsch sprach … Übrigens hatte Ida Jungmann sich als tüchtig im Hausstande und im Verkehr mit den Kindern erwiesen und eignete sich mit ihrer Loyalität und ihren preußischen Rangbegriffen im Grunde aufs beste für ihre Stellung in diesem Hause. Sie war eine Person von aristokratischen Grundsätzen, die haarscharf zwischen ersten und zweiten Kreisen, zwischen Mittelstand und geringerem Mittelstand unterschied, sie war stolz darauf, als ergebene Dienerin den ersten Kreisen anzugehören und sah es ungern, wenn Tony sich etwa mit einer Schulkameradin befreundete