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FlirtationsRhetoric and Aesthetics This Side of Seduction$
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Daniel Hoffman-Schwartz, Barbara Natalie Nagel, and Lauren Shizuko Stone

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780823264896

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823264896.001.0001

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Life is a Flirtation

Life is a Flirtation

Thomas Mann’s Felix Krull

(p.64) Life is a Flirtation

Elisabeth Strowick

Fordham University Press

This chapter presents a reading of Thomas Mann’s Felix Krull. The forms of flirtation depicted in Felix Krull can be described using a phrase that comes from Felix Krull himself: “Forays upon the sweets of life [Griffe in die Süβ‎igkeiten des Lebens].” What this formula for flirtation implies is twofold: First, flirtation is taken out of the context of interpersonal relationships and opened up to become an aesthetic concept of life; second, to the extent that in Felix Krull it is impossible to separate life from the autobiographical project, the act of writing itself can be read as flirtation. The chapter traces out each aspect of this framework: the performance, epistemology, and temporality of the “forays upon the sweets of life” as well as the “appetite” articulated in them and its consequences with respect to an aesthetics of perception.

Keywords:   flirtation, Thomas Mann, Felix Krull, sweets of life, writing, perception

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