25+ quotes from Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family by Thomas Mann

Quotes from Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family

Thomas Mann ·  731 pages

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“Death was a blessing, so great, so deep that we can fathom it only at those moments, like this one now, when we are reprieved from it. It was the return home from long, unspeakably painful wanderings, the correction of a great error, the loosening of tormenting chains, the removal of barriers---it set a horrible accident to rights again.”
― Thomas Mann, quote from Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family


“Das Gute kommt immer zu spät, immer wird es zu spät fertig, wenn man sich nicht mehr recht darüber freuen kann.”
― Thomas Mann, quote from Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family


“Durch die Gitterfenster seiner Individualität starrt der Mensch hoffnungslos auf die Ringmauern der äußeren Umstände, bis der Tod kommt und ihn zu Heimkehr und Freiheit ruft …

Individualität!… Ach, was man ist, kann und hat, scheint arm, grau, unzulänglich und langweilig; was man aber nicht ist, nicht kann und nicht hat, das eben ist es, worauf man mit jenem sehnsüchtigen Neide blickt, der zur Liebe wird, weil er sich fürchtet, zum Haß zu werden.

Ich trage den Keim, den Ansatz, die Möglichkeit zu allen Befähigungen und Betätigungen der Welt in mir … Wo könnte ich sein, wenn ich nicht hier wäre! Wer, was, wie könnte ich sein, wenn ich nicht ich wäre, wenn diese meine persönliche Erscheinung mich nicht abschlösse und mein Bewußtsein von dem aller derer trennte, die nicht ich sind! Organismus! Blinde, unbedachte, bedauerliche Eruption des drängenden Willens! Besser, wahrhaftig, dieser Wille webt frei in raum- und zeitloser Nacht, als daß er in einem Kerker schmachtet, der von dem zitternden und wankenden Flämmchen des Intellektes notdürftig erhellt wird!”
― Thomas Mann, quote from Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family


“Often, the outward and visible material signs and symbols of happiness and success only show themselves when the process of decline has already set in. The outer manifestations take time - like the light of that star up there, which may in reality be already quenched, when it looks to us to be shining its brightest.”
― Thomas Mann, quote from Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family


“...when life still hesitates to touch us, when neither duty nor guilt dares lay a hand upon us”
― Thomas Mann, quote from Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family


“Thomas Buddenbrook's existence was no different from that of an actor - an actor whose lfe has become one long production, which but for a few hours for relaxation, consumes him unceasingly.”
― Thomas Mann, quote from Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family


“He was empty within. There was no stimulus, no absorbing task into which he could throw himself. But his nervous activity, his inability to be quiet,.........had indeed taken the upper hand and become his master. It was something artificial, a pressure on the nerves, a depressant, in fact......This craving for activity had become a martyrdom, but it was dissipated in a host of trivialities.”
― Thomas Mann, quote from Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family


“Il bene viene sempre troppo tardi, diventa realtà troppo tardi, quando non si è più capaci di goderne.”
― Thomas Mann, quote from Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family


“Attraverso le inferriate della sua individualità, l’uomo fissa senza speranza le mura di cinta delle circostanze esteriori, finché arriva la morte e lo richiama a casa, alla sua libertà… Individualità! Ah, quello che si è, che si può e che si ha, sembra povero, grigio, modesto e noioso; ma quello che non si è, non si può e non si ha, è proprio quello che guardiamo con invidia struggente, che diventa amore per paura che diventi odio. Io porto in me il germe, la radice, la possibilità per tutte le attitudini e le attività di questo mondo… Dove potrei essere, se non fossi qui? Chi, che cosa, come potrei essere se non fossi me stesso, se questa mia persona non mi chiudesse, se non separasse la mia conoscenza da tutti coloro che sono me! L’organismo! Cieca, sconsiderata, deplorevole eruzione dell’incalzante volontà! Meglio, per davvero, che questa volontà si liberi nella notte senza spazio e senza tempo, invece di languire in prigione, appena illuminata da una tremula e vacillante fiammella dell’intelletto!”
― Thomas Mann, quote from Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family


“Een jaar en twee maanden later, op een nevelige januarimorgen met sneeuw in de lucht van het jaar 1850, zaten de heer en mevrouw Grünlich met hun kleine, driejarige dochtertje in de met lichtbruin hout betimmerde eetkamer op stoelen, die 25 mark per stuk hadden gekost, aan het ontbijt.”
― Thomas Mann, quote from Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family


“Wußtest du nicht, daß man auch in einer kleinen Stadt ein großer Mann sein kann? Daß man ein Cäsar sein kann an einem mäßigen Handelsplatz an der Ostsee? Freilich, dazu gehört ein wenig Phantasie, ein wenig Idealismus ... und den besaßest du nicht, was du auch von dir selbst gedacht haben magst.”
― Thomas Mann, quote from Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family


“Dorintele si actiunile noastre izvorasc din anumite necesitati ale nervilor pe care cuvintele cu greu le pot defini.”
― Thomas Mann, quote from Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family


“His games have a deeper meaning and fascination that adults can no longer fathom and require nothing more than three pebbles, or a piece of wood with a dandelion helmet, perhaps; but above all they require only the pure, strong, passionate, chaste, still-untroubled fantasy of those happy years when life still hesitates to touch us, when neither duty nor guilt dares lay a hand upon us, when we are allowed to see, hear, laugh, wonder, and dream without the world's demanding anything in return, when the impatience of those whom we want so much to love has not yet begun to torment us for evidence, some early token, that we will diligently fulfill our duties. Ah, it will not be long, and all that will rain down upon us in overwhelming, raw power, will assault us, stretch us, cramp us, drill us, corrupt us.”
― Thomas Mann, quote from Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family


“We are the bourgeoisie—the third estate, as they call us now—and what we want is a nobility of merit, nothing more. We don't recognize this lazy nobility we now have, we reject our present class hierarchy. We want all men to be free and equal, for no one to be someone else's subject, but for all to be subject to the law. There should be an end of privileges and arbitrary power. Everyone should be treated equally as a child of the state, and just as there are no longer any middlemen between the layman and his God, so each citizen should stand in direct relation to the state. We want freedom of the press, of employment, of commerce. We want all men to compete without any special privileges, and the only crown should be the crown of merit.”
― Thomas Mann, quote from Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family


“- Que ondas enormes... - exclamou Thomas Buddenbrook.- Repara como se aproximam e rebentam, se aproximam e rebentam, uma atrás da outra, sem fim, sem propósito, mecânica e desordenadamente. E, no entanto, o seu marulhar é tão tranquilizador e reconfortante, como todas as coisas simples e necessárias da vida. Aprendi a gostar cada vez mais do mar... dantes, talvez preferisse as montanhas, porque ficavam mais longe daqui. Agora já não me atraem nada. Creio que apenas sentiria medo e vergonha. É que elas são muito caprichosas, tão irregulares, tão diversas... de certeza que me iria sentir muito pequeno ao pé delas. Que espécie de pessoas serão essas que preferem a monotonia do mar? Tenho a impressão de que são as que observaram por demasiado tempo- e com demasiada profundidade- as teias do seu mundo interior e que a única coisa que exigem agora, pelo menos do mundo exterior, é simplicidade... Não se trata de comparar as escaladas audazes pela montanha com o descanso sereno na areia da praia. Adiferença reside no olhar que se dirige numa e noutra direcção. Olhos seguros, obstinados e felizes, transbordantes de iniciativa, determinação e vitalidade, erram de cume em cume, ao passo que sobre a imensidão do mar- e das ondas que, conduzidas por um fatalismo místico e hipnótico, dançam e volteiam- repousa um olhar sonhador e velado, sábio e desalentado, o olhar de quem já alguma vez espreitou as profundezas e vislumbrou o triste caos da existência... Saúde e doença, é essa a grande diferença. Intrépidos, escalamos a extraordinária diversidade das montanhas denteadas e acidentadas, das alturas que rasgam os céus, a fim de pormos à prova a nossa vitalidade, intacta ainda. Repousamos, contudo, na ampla simplicidadedo mundo exterior, quando estamos cansados do caos que reina no interior.”
― Thomas Mann, quote from Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family


“Jest, i kod njega, kome je nekoć bila tako strana svaka sitničavost, razvila se neka vrsta pedanterije, premda je ta pedanterija imala svoj korijen u drugom tjelesnom ustrojistvu i rodila se iz drugačijeg raspoloženja.

Osjećao se praznim; nedostajao mu jeplan koji bi mu dao poticaja, neki zanimljiv posao kome bi se mogao s veseljem i zadovoljstvom posvetiti. Njegov nagon za djelatnošću, nesposobnost njegova duha da miruje, njegova aktivnost - bijahu oduvijek nešto posve drugo negoli prirodna i ustrajna volja za radom kod njegovih predaka: naime, nešto umjetno, impuls njegovih živaca, zapravo neko opojno sredstvo, baš kao male i oštre ruske cigarete koje je stalno pušio. Ta ga aktivnost nije napustila, njome je on vladao manje no ikada, ona je gospodarila njime i mučila ga, trošeći se na sijaset trica i ništavnosti. Gubio se u tisuću beznačajnih sitnica koje su se uglavnom odnosile na održavanje kuće i njegove toalete, a koje bi odlagao, jer su mu dojadile, te ih nije više mogao ni pamtiti, ni srediti, jer su ga stajale nerazmjerno mnogo pažnje i vremena.

Ono što su u gradu nazivali njegovom "taštinom" toliko se pogoršalo, da se već odavna počeo toga stideti, a ipak nije bio kadar okaniti se navika koje su se razvile u tom pravcu. Nije mogao napustiti kabinet sa sviješću da je nešto propustio ili samo površno obavio, jer se bojao da će mu izmaći onaj osjećaj svježine, mira, intaktnosti, koji ga je ipak napuštao poslije jednog sata, te ga je onda opet trebalo mukom obnoviti.

U kabinetu je provodio mnogo vremena, i to ne samo ujutro, već i prije svakog ručka, svake sjednice u senatu, svake javne skupštine, ukratko, uvijek pre no što će se pokazati pred ljudima i kretati se među njima.

Zaista! Život Thomasa Buddenbrooka pretvorio se u život glumca, i to takvog glumca kome je čitav život, do najmanje i najsvakodnevnije sitnice, postao samo velikom glumom koja ga stalno drži u napetosti i stalno iscrpljuje...

Potpuni nedostatak nekoga iskrenog i živog interesa koji bi ga zaokupio, osiromašenje i opustošenje njegova duševnog života, uz neumoljiv osjećaj dužnosti i upornu odlučnost da pod svaku cijenu dostojno reprezentira, da svim sredstvima prikrije koliko je iznemogao - svi su ti faktori učinili od njegova života glumu. Učinili su ga izvještačenim, proračunatim i usiljenim, tako da mu se svaka riječ, svaka kretnja, svaka i najmanja djelatnost među ljudima pretvorila u napornu i silno zamornu igru.”
― Thomas Mann, quote from Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family


“Zar nije svaki čovek po jedna omaška i promašaj? Zar on, već kako se rodi, ne dospeva u mučno zatočenje? Robija! Robija! Okovi i stege na sve strane! Kroz rešetke svoje individualnosti žuri čovek beznadno, na kružni zid spoljnih okolnosti, sve dok smrt ne dođe i ne zovne ga nazad u zavičaj i slobodu...”
― Thomas Mann, quote from Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family


“در فاصله ی میان دو جنگ، یوهان خردسال ... سرگرم بازی‌های چهار و نیم سالگی خود بود. بازی‌هایی‌ که هیچ آدم بالغی به معنا و مفهوم آن پی‌ نمی‌برد و از شیرینی‌ آن خبر نداشت. ... این بازی‌ها بیش از هر چیز به تخیل بی‌ آلایش، پرشور، نیرومند، دست نخورده و بی‌ حد و مرز سنّ و سال بی‌ دغدغه‌ای نیازمند است که در آن زندگی‌ هنوز قادر نیست به ما دست درازی کند، سنّ و سالی‌ که در آن هنوز نه گناهی به گردن داریم و نه وظیفه ای، سنّ و سالی‌ که در آن اجئزه داریم ببینیم، بشنویم، بخندیم، شگفت زده شویم و رویا ببافیم، بی‌ آن که دنیا هنوز از ما توقعی داشته باشد، سنّ و سالی‌ که در آن کسانی که می‌خواهیم دوست‌شان بداریم، هنوز با بی‌ صبری خود، آزارمان نمی‌دهند و در پی‌ آن نیستند که با دیدن نخستین نشانه‌ها و دلایل، اطمینان بیابند که در آینده به خوبی‌ از عهده ی توقعات زندگی‌ بر خواهیم آمد. اما طولی‌ نخواهد کشید که زندگی‌ با قدرت بی‌ چون و چرای خود بر سرمان بتازد، آلوده مان کند، به راه مان بیاورد، دراز و کوتاه مان کند، تباه مان کند.”
― Thomas Mann, quote from Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family


“–¡Un hombre de negocios no puede ser un burócrata! –le decía a Stephan Kistenmaker, de Kistenmaker & Hijos; y el que había sido su antiguo compañero de colegio, y seguía siendo su amigo, escuchaba con suma atención cada una de las palabras de Thomas, conscientes ambos de la mayor inteligencia de éste, para después repetirlas como una opinión propia–. Hay que tener carácter, ésa es mi opinión. No creo que pueda alcanzarse un gran éxito desde el escritorio de una oficina…, al menos a mí no me causaría ninguna satisfacción. El éxito no es sólo cuestión de cálculos sobre el papel… Yo siempre siento la necesidad de dirigir el curso de los acontecimientos en directo: con la mirada, la palabra y el gesto; que sea el resultado directo de mi voluntad, de mi talento, de mi suerte, si quieres llamarlo así. Claro que, por desgracia, se está perdiendo cada vez más esta forma de entender los negocios, esta intervención personal del comerciante… Los tiempos avanzan, pero, en mi opinión, están dejando atrás las mejores costumbres…”
― Thomas Mann, quote from Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family


“They walked, and the long waves rolled and murmured rhythmically beside them; the fresh salty wind blew free and unobstructed in their faces, wrapped itself around their ears, and made them feel slightly numb and deliciously dizzy. They walked along in that wide, peaceful, whispering hush of the sea that gives every sound, near or far, some mysterious importance.”
― Thomas Mann, quote from Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family


“-Da- reče Tony zamišljeno -Svakako- Bila je svesna svojih dužnosti prema obitelji i prema firmi, i bila je ponosna zbog tih dužnosti. Ona, Antonija Buddenbrook, pred kojom je nosač Matthiesen duboko skidao svoj rutavi cilindar i koja je, kao kćerka konzula Buddenbrooka, hodala kroz grad kao mala kraljica, bila je sva prožeta povješću svoje obitelji.”
― Thomas Mann, quote from Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family


“He completely lacked any ardent interest that might have occupied his mind. His interior life was impoverished, had undergone a deterioration so severe that it was like the almost constant burden of some vague grief. And bound up with it all was an implacable sense of personal duty and the grim determination to present himself at his best, to conceal his frailties by any means possible, and to keep up appearances. It had all contributed to making his existence what it was: artificial, self-conscious, and forced—until every word, every gesture, the slightest deed in the presence of others had become a taxing and grueling part in a play.”
― Thomas Mann, quote from Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family


“Čitajući te izjave kod svoje kuće, konzul se nije mogao suzdržati od smiješka, jer uprkos bola koji se očitovao u tim riječima, osjećao se je u njima i neki šaljivi ponos. Znao je da je Tony Boddenbrook ostala dijete, i da je svoje vrlo "odrasle" doživljaje doživljavala najpre kao da pravo ne vjeruje, a onda djetinjasto ozbiljno i dijetinjasto važno, i što je glavno, s djetinjom otpornošću.”
― Thomas Mann, quote from Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family


“Demek ki insanların bizim acımıza saygı duymasını ölüm sağlıyor, en hazin acılar bile ölümle saygınlık kazanıyordu.”
― Thomas Mann, quote from Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family


“Mali Johann stekao je dojam da dolaziti među ljude, razgovarati, vladati se, kretati se i djelovati među ljudima nije neko prirodno i gotovo nesvjesno zastupanje praktičnih interesa koji su nam zajednički s drugim ljudima, ili koje hoćemo provesti protiv njih, već da je to nešto što je samo sebi svrha, neki svjestan i umjetan napor za koji je, umjesto iskrenih i jednostavnih osjećaja, potrebna strahovito teška i zamorna virtuoznost. I kad bi pomislio da će i on jednom morati da se javlja na javnim skupštinama, da govori i da se kreće ispred toliko ljudi, protrnuo bi od straha i odvratnosti i zatvorio bi oči...”
― Thomas Mann, quote from Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family


About the author

Thomas Mann
Born place: in Lübeck, Germany
Born date June 6, 1875
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