The Artist as Daemon: "Tonio Kröger" and the Urge for Creativity

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This article explores the relationship between personality and creativity as reflected in Thomas Mann's novella,
Tonio Kröger. The interactions between love and suffering and creation, artist and audience are the main
intersections that will be examined. The central argument is that Tonio Kröger, the eponymous hero of this
novella, is a poet who clearly corresponds to the schizoid character type as defined by Anthony Storr (1972). This
serves as a successful means for self-expression and as compensation for his loneliness, sense of meaninglessness
in life and the impotence that derives from existential weakness, or as Laing puts it "ontological
insecurity"(Laing, 1960: 40-64). Engagement in creative work grants the schizoid artist the power to bear the
curse of his existence. The existential curse of the schizoid derives from his experience of profound contradictions
that prevent him from creating a consistent self-identity. Creative activity helps him to establishes an alternate
identity which is the valid form for an erroneous life.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-111
JournalInternational Journal of Language and Linguistics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2017


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