Arnon Grunberg

New incentives


In the last issue of the New York Review of Books John Banville reviews “How Fiction Works” by James Wood. Banville quotes from an earlier collection of essays by Wood “The Broken Estate” in which Wood quoted Thomas Mann: “To the artist new experiences of ‘truth’ are new incentives to the game, new possibilities of expression, no more. He believes in them, he takes them seriously, just so far as he needs to in order to give them the fullest and profoundest expression. In all that he is very serious, serious even to tears – but yet not quite – and by consequence, not at all. His artistic seriousness is of an absolute nature, it is ‘dead-earnest playing.’” I wonder where in Thomas Mann’s work these (beautiful) words can be found.