Former “Tennessean” book reviewer Roy E. Perry discusses the works of Thomas Mann

Editor’s Note: “Underground Nashville” covers artists, authors, musicians, poets, political figures, and other compelling people and happenings not typically covered by the mainstream Nashville media. It also presents reflections and commentary from an underground/indie perspective. As I told ‘The Tennessean’ in 2008, “since moving to Nashville twenty-five years ago, I have met people whose lives do not remotely reflect the caricature of what many outside our city presume to be a ‘Nashvillian’ or the Nashville experience.” “Underground Nashville” thus explores the soul of the city, not its surface—offering “thoughts from the shadows of a great American city.”

Dave Carew
Do you want to help homeless people in Nashville learn culinary arts and other employment skills that provide a specific, effective path off the streets? Please visit  Thank you.


Former “Tennessean” book reviewer Roy E. Perry discusses the works of Thomas Mann

By Dave Carew

“It is most certainly a good thing that the world knows only the beautiful opus but not its origins, not the conditions of its creation; for if people knew the sources of the artist’s inspiration, that knowledge would often confuse them, alarm them, and thereby destroy the effects of excellence.”
– – Thomas Mann

Roy E. Perry was a freelance book reviewer for the Nashville Banner and The Tennessean for more than thirty years. Now retired to his long-time home in Nolensville, Tennessee, Mr. Perry remains a passionate reader of great literature. In a recent series of email conversations with Underground Nashville, Mr. Perry discussed his current love of the works of Thomas Mann, particularly Death in Venice and Other Tales.

Mr. Perry notes that “there’s a common psychological theme running through [several of] these stories: the artist as an outsider—an ‘underground man,’ if you will—who is misunderstood and unappreciated. Whether he is ‘born different,’ or has chosen to be different, the fact remains that he is indeed ‘different from others.’ He has aspirations and ambitions of ‘the interior life,’ an appreciation for art, music, poetry, and literature, and is bored with bourgeois banalities which characterize people who lead what—from his perspective—are lives that are superficial, inane, and insipid.”

Mr. Perry notes that this creates a “tension” in the protagonists; both a happiness and a torment.

“In one sense,” he says, “the protagonists are ‘happy’ to be different from the unthinking multitude; yet, on the other hand, they are tortured, divided, and lonely individuals, who both despise and covet ‘bourgeois happiness.’”

Whatever resolution there can be takes place, says Mr. Perry, “when the artist resigns himself to his alienation from ‘the unthinking mob,’ and wanders in the lonely path he treads. He yearns to be understood, appreciated, loved—but knows that, in the final analysis, he must pay the price of the ‘gift’ with which he has been blessed (or cursed). He persists in the hope that one day he will find some kindred spirit to share his ‘different kind of love.’”

David M. (Dave) Carew is writer/editor of “Underground Nashville” and the author of the novels “Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville” and “Voice from the Gutter.” He also is a freelance book editor, publicist, and advertising/marketing/public relations writer.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: