‘Een échte ironicus’ - De rol van Thomas Mann in de ironieopvatting van Harry Mulisch | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 51, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 1876-9071
  • E-ISSN: 2214-5729


The concept of ‘irony’ is important in the oeuvre of Harry Mulisch. His selfpresentation was often labelled ‘arrogant’ or ‘vainglorious’, but Mulisch himself referred to it as a form of ‘self-irony’. In his dispute with Gerard van het Reve in the first half of the 1970s, Mulisch rejected Van het Reve’s irony. To illustrate his complaints, Mulisch referred to Thomas Mann as a ‘true ironist’, as opposed to the ‘flat ironist’ Van het Reve. Already in the early years of his writing career, in the 1950s, Mulisch had devoted a couple of articles to the function of irony in the work of Thomas Mann. In this article, I examine the writings of Mulisch on the irony concept of Mann and its potential influence on his own ideas about irony. In addition, I compare Mulisch’s interpretation with dominant interpretations in the ‘Mann-Forschung’, in order to be able to differentiate between more objective and more subjective observations of the Dutch author. This allows me to account for the image Mulisch may have created of Mann’s irony concept, so that it would be more in line with his own goals and needs as a young, still relatively unknown author.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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