Mann’s Felix Krull
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It is noted in this study that in Felix Krull, Mann seems to give authorial approval to Felix’s rationale for his own deceitful life. Since so much in life is deceitful, why then meet it with naive submission to society’s rules, “the moral order”? The line between natural charm and manipulative charm is wavering. Charm is a kind of deceit, yet it can open the mind. In Felix Krull, charm is slippery but defensible. In The Magic Mountain, awareness of charm (in particular, the magnetic charm Hans finds in Clavdia’s elbow) was part of his development. There are lessons everywhere, all double-edged. Felix, exploits his talent for charming people and is himself deeply charmed by others, He is Mann’s star student in this Bildungsroman.