Elena Alessiato

Cultural topographies: Thomas Mann and the history of political thought

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Thomas Mann draws more and more the attention of philosophers and philosophy scholars. Indeed, his work shows a remarkable degree of conceptual intensity. The cultural refinement and richness of many of his writings are notewhorty and contribute to the discussion of themes and questions which traditionally are associated with philosophical studies. By reviewing and illustrating them, the present essay gives an account of some interpretative perspectives and traditions which over the last years have enriched the comprehension of Thomas Mann's works and have integrated them into larger intellectual debates: from cultural history and philosophy of culture (Kulturphilosophie) to music and musicology, from theories about the irony of art to political culture. A particular stress is put on the recent German critical edition of Betrachtungen eines Unpolitischen by Hermann Kurzke: his commentary and philological findings provide new interpretative perspectives and ideas which show how much that essay, written by Mann during the years of the First World War, can be of interest also for history of political thought scholars.


  • Thomas Mann
  • Max Weber
  • apolitical man
  • irony
  • music
  • Conservative Revolution


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