Thomas Mann
Overview
Thomas Mann was a German novelist, short story writer, social critic, philanthropist, essayist, and 1929 Nobel Prize laureate, known for his series of highly symbolic and ironic epic novels and novellas, noted for their insight into the psychology of the artist and the intellectual. His analysis and critique of the European and German soul used modernized German and Biblical stories, as well as the ideas of Goethe
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a German writer, pictorial artist, biologist, theoretical physicist, and polymath. He is considered the supreme genius of modern German literature. His works span the fields of poetry, drama, prose, philosophy, and science. His Faust has been called the greatest long...

, Nietzsche
Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was a 19th-century German philosopher, poet, composer and classical philologist...

, and Schopenhauer
Arthur Schopenhauer
Arthur Schopenhauer was a German philosopher known for his pessimism and philosophical clarity. At age 25, he published his doctoral dissertation, On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason, which examined the four separate manifestations of reason in the phenomenal...

.
Quotations

We are most likely to get angry and excited in our opposition to some idea when we ourselves are not quite certain of our own position, and are inwardly tempted to take the other side.

Buddenbrooks|Buddenbrooks [Buddenbrooks: Verfall einer Familie, Roman] (1901). Pt 8, Ch. 2

Beauty can pierce one like pain.

Buddenbrooks [Buddenbrooks: Verfall einer Familie, Roman], Pt 11, Ch. 2

Extraordinary creature! So close a friend, and yet so remote.

Herr und Hund (A Man and his Dog) (1918)

The meeting in the open of two dogs, strangers to each other, is one of the most painful, thrilling, and pregnant of all conceivable encounters; it is surrounded by an atmosphere of the last canniness, presided over by a constraint for which I have no preciser name; they simply cannot pass each other, their mutual embarrassment is frightful to behold.

Herr und Hund (A Man and his Dog)

Encyclopedia
Thomas Mann was a German novelist, short story writer, social critic, philanthropist, essayist, and 1929 Nobel Prize laureate, known for his series of highly symbolic and ironic epic novels and novellas, noted for their insight into the psychology of the artist and the intellectual. His analysis and critique of the European and German soul used modernized German and Biblical stories, as well as the ideas of Goethe
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a German writer, pictorial artist, biologist, theoretical physicist, and polymath. He is considered the supreme genius of modern German literature. His works span the fields of poetry, drama, prose, philosophy, and science. His Faust has been called the greatest long...

, Nietzsche
Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was a 19th-century German philosopher, poet, composer and classical philologist...

, and Schopenhauer
Arthur Schopenhauer
Arthur Schopenhauer was a German philosopher known for his pessimism and philosophical clarity. At age 25, he published his doctoral dissertation, On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason, which examined the four separate manifestations of reason in the phenomenal...

. His older brother was the radical writer Heinrich Mann
Heinrich Mann
Luiz Heinrich Mann was a German novelist who wrote works with strong social themes. His attacks on the authoritarian and increasingly militaristic nature of pre-World War II German society led to his exile in 1933.-Life and work:Born in Lübeck as the oldest child of Thomas Johann Heinrich Mann...

, and three of his six children, Erika Mann
Erika Mann
Erika Julia Hedwig Mann was a German actress and writer, the eldest daughter of novelist Thomas Mann and Katia Mann.-Life:...

, Klaus Mann
Klaus Mann
- Life and work :Born in Munich, Klaus Mann was the son of German writer Thomas Mann and his wife, Katia Pringsheim. His father was baptized as a Lutheran, while his mother was from a family of secular Jews. He began writing short stories in 1924 and the following year became drama critic for a...

 and Golo Mann
Golo Mann
Golo Mann , born Angelus Gottfried Thomas Mann, was a popular German historian, essayist and writer. He was the third child of the novelist Thomas Mann and his wife Katia Mann.-Life:...

, also became important German writers. When Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 came to power in 1933, the anti-fascist Mann fled to Switzerland. When World War II broke out in 1939, he emigrated to the United States, from where he returned to Switzerland in 1952. Thomas Mann is one of the best-known exponents of the so-called Exilliteratur
Exilliteratur
German Exilliteratur is the name for a category of books in the German language written by writers of anti-nazi attitude who fled from Nazi Germany between 1933 and 1945...

.

Life

Mann was born Paul Thomas Mann in Lübeck
Lübeck
The Hanseatic City of Lübeck is the second-largest city in Schleswig-Holstein, in northern Germany, and one of the major ports of Germany. It was for several centuries the "capital" of the Hanseatic League and, because of its Brick Gothic architectural heritage, is listed by UNESCO as a World...

, Germany, and was the second son of Thomas Johann Heinrich Mann (a senator and a grain merchant), and his wife Júlia da Silva Bruhns
Júlia da Silva Bruhns
Júlia da Silva Bruhns was the wife of the Lübeck senator and grain merchant Johann Heinrich Mann, and mother of writers Thomas Mann and Heinrich Mann....

 (a Brazilian of partial German ancestry who emigrated to Germany when seven years old). His mother was Roman Catholic, but Mann was baptised into his father's Lutheran
Lutheranism
Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation...

 faith. Mann's father died in 1891, and his trading firm was liquidated. The family subsequently moved to Munich
Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

. Mann attended the science division of a Lübeck Gymnasium (school)
Gymnasium (school)
A gymnasium is a type of school providing secondary education in some parts of Europe, comparable to English grammar schools or sixth form colleges and U.S. college preparatory high schools. The word γυμνάσιον was used in Ancient Greece, meaning a locality for both physical and intellectual...

, then spent time at the Ludwig Maximillians University of Munich and Technical University of Munich
Technical University of Munich
The Technische Universität München is a research university with campuses in Munich, Garching, and Weihenstephan...

 where, in preparation for a journalism career, he studied history, economics, art history and literature.

He lived in Munich from 1891 until 1933, with the exception of a year in Palestrina
Palestrina
Palestrina is an ancient city and comune with a population of about 18,000, in Lazio, c. 35 km east of Rome...

, Italy, with his novelist elder brother Heinrich
Heinrich Mann
Luiz Heinrich Mann was a German novelist who wrote works with strong social themes. His attacks on the authoritarian and increasingly militaristic nature of pre-World War II German society led to his exile in 1933.-Life and work:Born in Lübeck as the oldest child of Thomas Johann Heinrich Mann...

. Thomas worked with the South German Fire Insurance Company 1894–95. His career as a writer began when he wrote for Simplicissimus
Simplicissimus
Simplicissimus was a satirical German weekly magazine started by Albert Langen in April 1896 and published through 1967, with a hiatus from 1944-1954. It became a biweekly in 1964...

. Mann's first short story, "Little Mr Friedemann" (Der Kleine Herr Friedemann), was published in 1898.

In 1905, he married Katia Pringsheim, daughter of a prominent, secular Jewish intellectual family. She later joined the Lutheran faith of her husband. The couple had six children.

Children

Name Birth Death
Erika
Erika Mann
Erika Julia Hedwig Mann was a German actress and writer, the eldest daughter of novelist Thomas Mann and Katia Mann.-Life:...

9 November 1905 27 August 1969
Klaus
Klaus Mann
- Life and work :Born in Munich, Klaus Mann was the son of German writer Thomas Mann and his wife, Katia Pringsheim. His father was baptized as a Lutheran, while his mother was from a family of secular Jews. He began writing short stories in 1924 and the following year became drama critic for a...

 
18 November 1906 21 May 1949
Angelus Gottfried Thomas "Golo"
Golo Mann
Golo Mann , born Angelus Gottfried Thomas Mann, was a popular German historian, essayist and writer. He was the third child of the novelist Thomas Mann and his wife Katia Mann.-Life:...

 
29 March 1909 7 April 1994
Monika
Monika Mann
Monika Mann was a German novelist.Born in Munich, she was the daughter of novelist Thomas Mann, sister to Klaus, Erika, Elisabeth, Michael and Golo Mann, and also a niece of the novelist Heinrich Mann....

 
7 June 1910 17 March 1992
Elisabeth
Elisabeth Mann-Borgese
Elisabeth Mann Borgese, CM was the youngest daughter of Thomas Mann and his wife Katia Pringsheim, sister to Klaus, Erika, Golo, Monika and Michael Mann, sister-in-law to W. H. Auden, and niece of the novelist Heinrich Mann.Elisabeth was born in Munich, Germany...

 
24 April 1918 8 February 2002
Michael  21 April 1919 1 January 1977


In 1929, Mann had a cottage built in the fishing village of Nidden (Nida, Lithuania
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

) on the Curonian Spit
Curonian Spit
The Curonian Spit is a 98 km long, thin, curved sand-dune spit that separates the Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea coast. Its southern portion lies within Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia and its northern within southwestern Lithuania...

, where there was a German art colony, and where he spent the summers of 1930–32 working on Joseph and His Brothers
Joseph and His Brothers
Joseph and His Brothers is a four-part novel by Thomas Mann, written over the course of 16 years. Mann retells the familiar stories of Genesis, from Jacob to Joseph , setting it in the historical context of the Amarna Period...

. The cottage now is a cultural center dedicated to him, with a small memorial exhibition. In 1933, after Hitler assumed power, Mann emigrated to Küsnacht
Küsnacht
Küsnacht is a municipality in the district of Meilen in the canton of Zurich in Switzerland.-History:Küsnacht is first mentioned in 1188 as de Cussenacho....

, near Zurich
Zürich
Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and the capital of the canton of Zurich. It is located in central Switzerland at the northwestern tip of Lake Zurich...

, Switzerland, but received Czechoslovak
Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

 citizenship and a passport in 1936. He then emigrated to the United States in 1939, where he taught at Princeton University
Princeton University
Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. The school is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and is one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution....

.

In 1942, the Mann family moved to Pacific Palisades, in west Los Angeles, California, where they lived until after the end of World War II. On 23 June 1944 Thomas Mann was naturalized as a citizen of the United States. In 1952, he returned to Europe, to live in Kilchberg, near Zurich
Kilchberg, Zurich
Kilchberg is a municipality in the district of Horgen in the canton of Zürich in Switzerland.Its coat of arms features a sky-blue shield with a trillium.Kilchberg is also the site of a regional cemetery.-History:...

, Switzerland.
He never again lived in Germany, though he regularly traveled there. His most important German visit was in 1949, at the 200th birthday of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a German writer, pictorial artist, biologist, theoretical physicist, and polymath. He is considered the supreme genius of modern German literature. His works span the fields of poetry, drama, prose, philosophy, and science. His Faust has been called the greatest long...

, attending celebrations in Frankfurt am Main and Weimar
Weimar
Weimar is a city in Germany famous for its cultural heritage. It is located in the federal state of Thuringia , north of the Thüringer Wald, east of Erfurt, and southwest of Halle and Leipzig. Its current population is approximately 65,000. The oldest record of the city dates from the year 899...

, as a statement that German culture extends beyond the new political borders.

Death

In 1955, he died of atherosclerosis
Atherosclerosis
Atherosclerosis is a condition in which an artery wall thickens as a result of the accumulation of fatty materials such as cholesterol...

 in a hospital in Zurich
Zürich
Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and the capital of the canton of Zurich. It is located in central Switzerland at the northwestern tip of Lake Zurich...

 and was buried in Kilchberg. Many institutions are named in his honour, for instance the Thomas Mann Gymnasium
Thomas Mann Gymnasium
Thomas Mann Gymnasium is a co-ed, independent German-Hungarian international school in Budapest, Hungary. It is part of the network of German Auslandsschulen...

 of Budapest
Budapest
Budapest is the capital of Hungary. As the largest city of Hungary, it is the country's principal political, cultural, commercial, industrial, and transportation centre. In 2011, Budapest had 1,733,685 inhabitants, down from its 1989 peak of 2,113,645 due to suburbanization. The Budapest Commuter...

.

Political views

During World War I Mann supported Kaiser Wilhelm II's
William II, German Emperor
Wilhelm II was the last German Emperor and King of Prussia, ruling the German Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia from 15 June 1888 to 9 November 1918. He was a grandson of the British Queen Victoria and related to many monarchs and princes of Europe...

 conservatism and attacked liberalism. Yet in Von Deutscher Republik (1923), as a semi-official spokesman for parliamentary democracy, Mann called upon German intellectuals to support the new Weimar Republic
Weimar Republic
The Weimar Republic is the name given by historians to the parliamentary republic established in 1919 in Germany to replace the imperial form of government...

. He also gave a lecture at the Beethovensaal in Berlin on 13 October 1922, which appeared in Die neue Rundschau in November 1922, in which he developed his eccentric defence of the Republic, based on extensive close readings of Novalis
Novalis
Novalis was the pseudonym of Georg Philipp Friedrich Freiherr von Hardenberg , an author and philosopher of early German Romanticism.-Biography:...

 and Walt Whitman
Walt Whitman
Walter "Walt" Whitman was an American poet, essayist and journalist. A humanist, he was a part of the transition between transcendentalism and realism, incorporating both views in his works. Whitman is among the most influential poets in the American canon, often called the father of free verse...

. Hereafter his political views gradually shifted toward liberal left and democratic principles.

In 1930 Mann gave a public address in Berlin titled "An Appeal to Reason", in which he strongly denounced National Socialism
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 and encouraged resistance by the working class. This was followed by numerous essays and lectures in which he attacked the Nazis. At the same time, he expressed increasing sympathy for socialist ideas. In 1933 when the Nazis came to power, Mann and his wife were on holiday in Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

. Due to his strident denunciations of Nazi policies, his son Klaus advised him not to return. But Thomas Mann's books, in contrast to those of his brother Heinrich and his son Klaus, were not among those burnt publicly by Hitler's
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 regime in May 1933, possibly since he had been the Nobel laureate in literature for 1929 (see below). Finally in 1936 the Nazi government officially revoked his German citizenship. A few months later he moved to California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

.

During the war, Mann made a series of anti-Nazi radio-speeches, Deutsche Hörer! ("German listeners!"). They were taped in the USA and then sent to Great Britain, where the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 transmitted them, hoping to reach German listeners.

Work

Thomas Mann's works were first translated into English by H. T. Lowe-Porter
H. T. Lowe-Porter
Helen Tracy Lowe-Porter was an American translator, most celebrated for her translations of the works of Thomas Mann....

 beginning in 1924. Mann was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature
Nobel Prize in Literature
Since 1901, the Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded annually to an author from any country who has, in the words from the will of Alfred Nobel, produced "in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction"...

 in 1929, principally in recognition of his popular achievement with the epic Buddenbrooks
Buddenbrooks
Buddenbrooks was Thomas Mann's first novel, published in 1901 when he was twenty-six years old. The publication of the 2nd edition in 1903 confirmed that Buddenbrooks was a major literary success in Germany....

 (1901), The Magic Mountain
The Magic Mountain
The Magic Mountain is a novel by Thomas Mann, first published in November 1924. It is widely considered to be one of the most influential works of 20th century German literature....

 (Der Zauberberg 1924), and his numerous short stories. (Due to the personal taste of an influential committee member, only Buddenbrooks was cited explicitly.)
Based on Mann's own family, Buddenbrooks relates the decline of a merchant family in Lübeck over the course of three generations. The Magic Mountain
The Magic Mountain
The Magic Mountain is a novel by Thomas Mann, first published in November 1924. It is widely considered to be one of the most influential works of 20th century German literature....

 (Der Zauberberg, 1924) follows an engineering
Engineering
Engineering is the discipline, art, skill and profession of acquiring and applying scientific, mathematical, economic, social, and practical knowledge, in order to design and build structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes that safely realize improvements to the lives of...

 student who, planning to visit his tubercular
Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis, MTB, or TB is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body...

 cousin at a Swiss sanatorium
Sanatorium
A sanatorium is a medical facility for long-term illness, most typically associated with treatment of tuberculosis before antibiotics...

 for only three weeks, finds his departure from the sanatorium delayed. During that time, he confronts medicine and the way it looks at the body and encounters a variety of characters who play out ideological conflicts and discontents of contemporary European civilization. Later, other novels included Lotte in Weimar
Lotte in Weimar: The Beloved Returns
Thomas Mann's 1939 novel, Lotte in Weimar: The Beloved Returns, or otherwise known by Lotte in Weimar or The Beloved Returns, is a story written in the shadow of Goethe; Thomas Mann developed the narrative almost as a response to Goethe's novel The Sorrows of Young Werther, although Goethe's work...

 (1939), in which Mann returned to the world of Goethe's novel The Sorrows of Young Werther
The Sorrows of Young Werther
The Sorrows of Young Werther is an epistolary and loosely autobiographical novel by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, first published in 1774; a revised edition of the novel was published in 1787...

 (1774); Doktor Faustus
Doktor Faustus
Doctor Faustus is a German novel written by Thomas Mann, begun in 1943 and published in 1947 as Doktor Faustus. Das Leben des deutschen Tonsetzers Adrian Leverkühn, erzählt von einem Freunde Doctor Faustus (in German, Doktor Faustus) is a German novel written by Thomas Mann, begun in 1943 and...

 (1947), the story of composer Adrian Leverkühn and the corruption of German culture
Culture of Germany
German culture began long before the rise of Germany as a nation-state and spanned the entire German-speaking world. From its roots, culture in Germany has been shaped by major intellectual and popular currents in Europe, both religious and secular...

 in the years before and during World War II; and Confessions of Felix Krull
Confessions of Felix Krull
An unfinished 1954 novel by the German author Thomas Mann. It is a parody of Goethe's autobiography Poetry and Truth, particularly in its pompous tone. The original title is Bekenntnisse des Hochstaplers Felix Krull...

 (Bekenntnisse des Hochstaplers Felix Krull, 1954), which was still unfinished at Mann's death.

Mann's diaries, unsealed in 1975, tell of his struggles with his homosexuality
Homosexuality
Homosexuality is romantic or sexual attraction or behavior between members of the same sex or gender. As a sexual orientation, homosexuality refers to "an enduring pattern of or disposition to experience sexual, affectional, or romantic attractions" primarily or exclusively to people of the same...

, which found reflection in his works, most prominently through the obsession of the elderly Aschenbach for the 14-year-old Polish boy Tadzio in the novella Death in Venice
Death in Venice
The novella Death in Venice was written by the German author Thomas Mann, and was first published in 1913 as Der Tod in Venedig. The plot of the work presents a great writer suffering writer's block who visits Venice and is liberated and uplifted, then increasingly obsessed, by the sight of a...

 (Der Tod in Venedig, 1912). Anthony Heilbut
Anthony Heilbut
Anthony Heilbut , is an American writer, and record producer of gospel music. He is noted for his biography of Thomas Mann, and has also won a Grammy Award.-Life:He has a doctorate in English from Harvard University....

's biography Thomas Mann: Eros and Literature (1997) was widely acclaimed for uncovering the centrality of Mann's sexuality to his oeuvre. Gilbert Adair
Gilbert Adair
Gilbert Adair is a Scottish author, film critic and journalist. He won the Author's Club First Novel Award in 1988 for his novel The Holy Innocents. In 1995 he won the Scott Moncrieff Translation Prize for his book A Void, which is a translation of the French book La Disparition by Georges Perec...

's work The Real Tadzio (2001) describes how, in the summer of 1911, Mann had been staying at the Grand Hôtel des Bains
Grand Hotel des Bains
The Grand Hotel des Bains is a hotel on the Lido of Venice, northern Italy. Built in 1900 to attract wealthy tourists, it is remembered amongst other things for Thomas Mann's stay there in 1911, which inspired his novella Death in Venice...

 on the Lido of Venice
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

 with his wife and brother when he became enraptured by the angelic figure of Władysław (Władzio) Moes, an 11-year-old Polish boy (see also "The Real Tadzio" on the Death in Venice page).
Handling the struggle between the Dionysiac and the Apollonian, Death in Venice
Death in Venice
The novella Death in Venice was written by the German author Thomas Mann, and was first published in 1913 as Der Tod in Venedig. The plot of the work presents a great writer suffering writer's block who visits Venice and is liberated and uplifted, then increasingly obsessed, by the sight of a...

 has been made into a film and an opera. Blamed sarcastically by Mann’s old enemy, Alfred Kerr
Alfred Kerr
Alfred Kerr , born Alfred Kempner, was an influential German-Jewish theatre critic and essayist, nicknamed the Kulturpapst ....

, to have ‘made pederasty
Pederasty
Pederasty or paederasty is an intimate relationship between an adult and an adolescent boy outside his immediate family. The word pederasty derives from Greek "love of boys", a compound derived from "child, boy" and "lover".Historically, pederasty has existed as a variety of customs and...

 acceptable to the cultivated middle classes’, it has been pivotal in introducing the discourse of same-sex desire into general culture.
Mann was a friend of the violinist and painter Paul Ehrenberg
Paul Ehrenberg
Paul Ehrenberg was a German violinist and impressionist painter, brother of Carl Ehrenberg and half-brother of Hilde Distel.Ehrenberg was a student of the painter Heinrich von Zügel. He was a member of the Luitpoldsgruppe and Künstlergenossenschaft. His work, shown in many Munich exhibitions,...

, for whom he had feelings as a young man. Despite certain homosexual overtones in his writing, Mann fell in love with Katia Mann, whom he married in 1905. His works also present other sexual themes, such as incest
Incest
Incest is sexual intercourse between close relatives that is usually illegal in the jurisdiction where it takes place and/or is conventionally considered a taboo. The term may apply to sexual activities between: individuals of close "blood relationship"; members of the same household; step...

 in The Blood of the Walsungs (Wälsungenblut) and The Holy Sinner
The Holy Sinner
The Holy Sinner is a German novel written by Thomas Mann. Published in 1951 it is based on the medieval verse epic Gregorius written by the German Minnesinger Hartmann von Aue . The book explores a subject that fascinated Thomas Mann to the end of his life—the origins of evil and evil's...

 (Der Erwählte).

Throughout his Dostoyevsky essay, he finds parallels between the Russian and the sufferings of Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was a 19th-century German philosopher, poet, composer and classical philologist...

. Speaking of Nietzsche, he says: "his personal feelings initiate him into those of the criminal ... in general all creative originality, all artist nature in the broadest sense of the word, does the same. It was the French painter and sculptor Degas who said that an artist must approach his work in the spirit of the criminal about to commit a crime." Nietzsche's influence on Mann runs deep in his work, especially in Nietzsche's views on decay and the proposed fundamental connection between sickness and creativity. Mann held that disease is not to be regarded as wholly negative. In his essay on Dostoyevsky we find: "but after all and above all it depends on who is diseased, who mad, who epileptic or paralytic: an average dull-witted man, in whose illness any intellectual or cultural aspect is non-existent; or a Nietzsche or Dostoyevsky. In their case something comes out in illness that is more important and conductive to life and growth than any medical guaranteed health or sanity... in other words: certain conquests made by the soul and the mind are impossible without disease, madness, crime of the spirit."

Balancing his humanism
Humanism
Humanism is an approach in study, philosophy, world view or practice that focuses on human values and concerns. In philosophy and social science, humanism is a perspective which affirms some notion of human nature, and is contrasted with anti-humanism....

 and appreciation of Western culture, was his belief in the power of sickness and decay to destroy the ossifying effects of tradition and civilisation. Hence the "heightening" of which Mann speaks in his introduction to The Magic Mountain
The Magic Mountain
The Magic Mountain is a novel by Thomas Mann, first published in November 1924. It is widely considered to be one of the most influential works of 20th century German literature....

 and the opening of new spiritual possibilities that Hans Castorp experiences in the midst of his sickness. In Death in Venice he makes the identification between beauty and the resistance to natural decay, embodied by Aschenbach as the metaphor for the Nazi vision of purity (akin to Nietzsche's version of the ascetic ideal that denies life and its becoming). He also valued the insight of other cultures, notably adapting a traditional Indian fable in The Transposed Heads. His work is the record of a consciousness of a life of manifold possibilities, and of the tensions inherent in the (more or less enduringly fruitful) responses to those possibilities. In his own summation (on receiving the Nobel Prize
Nobel Prize
The Nobel Prizes are annual international awards bestowed by Scandinavian committees in recognition of cultural and scientific advances. The will of the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, established the prizes in 1895...

), "The value and significance of my work for posterity may safely be left to the future; for me they are nothing but the personal traces of a life led consciously, that is, conscientiously."

Cultural references

Martin Mauthner's German Writers in French Exile 1933–1940 (London, 2007) devotes several chapters to Thomas Mann and his family.

Mann's 1896 short story "Disillusionment" is the basis for the Leiber and Stoller song "Is That All There Is?
Is That All There Is?
"Is That All There Is?" is a song written by American songwriting team Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller during the 1960s. It became a hit for American singer Peggy Lee from her recording in November 1969...

", famously recorded in 1969 by Peggy Lee
Peggy Lee
Peggy Lee was an American jazz and popular music singer, songwriter, composer, and actress in a career spanning six decades. From her beginning as a vocalist on local radio to singing with Benny Goodman's big band, she forged a sophisticated persona, evolving into a multi-faceted artist and...

.

"Magic Mountain" by the band Blonde Redhead
Blonde Redhead
Blonde Redhead is an American alternative rock band composed of vocalist/rhythm guitarist Kazu Makino and twin brothers Simone and Amedeo Pace , which formed in New York City in 1993....

, is based on Mann's novel of the same title.

"Magic Mountain (after Thomas Mann)" is a painting made by Christiaan Tonnis
Christiaan Tonnis
Christiaan Tonnis is a German symbolist/realist painter, draftsman, video artist and published author. He studied at the HfG Offenbach with Dieter Lincke and Herbert Heckmann, and lives in Frankfurt, Germany.-Work:...

 in 1987. "The Magic Mountain" is a chapter in his 2006 book "Illness as a Symbol" as well.

The 2006 movie "A Good Year
A Good Year
A Good Year is a 2006 British romantic comedy film, set in London and Provence. It was directed by Ridley Scott, with an international cast including Russell Crowe, Marion Cotillard, Didier Bourdon, Abbie Cornish and Albert Finney...

" directed by Ridley Scott
Ridley Scott
Sir Ridley Scott is an English film director and producer. His most famous films include The Duellists , Alien , Blade Runner , Legend , Thelma & Louise , G. I...

, starring Russell Crowe
Russell Crowe
Russell Ira Crowe is a New Zealander Australian actor , film producer and musician. He came to international attention for his role as Roman General Maximus Decimus Meridius in the 2000 historical epic film Gladiator, directed by Ridley Scott, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Actor, a...

 and Albert Finney
Albert Finney
Albert Finney is an English actor. He achieved prominence in films in the early 1960s, and has maintained a successful career in theatre, film and television....

, features a paperback version of Death in Venice. It is the book the character named Christie Roberts is reading while she visits her deceased father's vineyard.

In the Philip Roth
Philip Roth
Philip Milton Roth is an American novelist. He gained fame with the 1959 novella Goodbye, Columbus, an irreverent and humorous portrait of Jewish-American life that earned him a National Book Award...

 novel The Human Stain
The Human Stain
The Human Stain is a novel by Philip Roth. It is set in late 1990s rural New England. Its first person narrator is 65-year-old author Nathan Zuckerman, a character in previous Roth novels, including American Pastoral and I Married a Communist ; these two books form a loose trilogy with The Human...

 (2000), several references are made to Mann's Death in Venice.

Hayavadana (1972), a play by Girish Karnad
Girish Karnad
Girish Raghunath Karnad is a contemporary writer, playwright, screenwriter, actor and movie director in Kannada language...

 was based on a theme drawn from The Transposed Heads and employed the folk theatre form of Yakshagana
Yakshagana
Yakshagana is a musical theater popular in the coastal and Malenadu regions of Karnataka, India. Yakshagana is the recent scholastic name for what are known as kēḷike, āṭa, bayalāṭa, bayalāṭa, daśāvatāra . It is believed to have evolved from pre-classical music and theatre during Bhakti movement...

. A German version of the play, was directed by Vijaya Mehta
Vijaya Mehta
Vijaya Mehta is an Indian Theatre and film director and also an actor in many films from the Parallel Cinema. She is most known for her acclaimed role in film Party and for her directorial ventures, Rao Saheb and Pestonjee ....

 as part of the repertoire of the Deutsches National Theatre, Weimar. A staged musical version of The Transposed Heads, adapted by Julie Taymor
Julie Taymor
Julie Taymor is an American director of theater, opera and film. Taymor's work has received many accolades from critics, and she has earned two Tony Awards out of four nominations, the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Costume Design, an Emmy Award and an Academy Award nomination for Original Song...

 and Sidney Goldfarb
Sidney Goldfarb
Sidney Goldfarb is a Harvard College-educated American poet and experimental playwright, whose work continues the tradition of poetic theater. Goldfarb co-founded the acclaimed Creative Writing Program at the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1975, serving as its first director. He continues to...

, with music by Elliot Goldenthal
Elliot Goldenthal
Elliot Goldenthal is an American composer of contemporary classical music. He was a student of Aaron Copland and John Corigliano, and is best known for his distinctive style and ability to blend various musical styles and techniques in original and inventive ways...

, was produced at the American Music Theater Festival in Philadelphia and The Lincoln Center in New York in 1988.

Joseph Heller
Joseph Heller
Joseph Heller was a US satirical novelist, short story writer, and playwright. His best known work is Catch-22, a novel about US servicemen during World War II...

's 1994 novel, Closing Time
Closing Time (novel)
Closing Time is a 1994 novel by Joseph Heller, written as a sequel to the popular Catch-22. It takes place in New York City in the 1990s, and revisits some characters of the original, including Yossarian, Milo Minderbinder and Chaplain Tappman....

, makes several references to Thomas Mann and Death in Venice.

The Andrew Crumey
Andrew Crumey
Andrew Crumey is a novelist and former literary editor of the Scotland on Sunday newspaper. He was born in Kirkintilloch, north of Glasgow, Scotland. He graduated with First Class Honours from the University of St Andrews and holds a PhD in theoretical physics from Imperial College, London. In...

 novel Mobius Dick
Mobius Dick
Mobius Dick is a novel by Andrew Crumey.It features a parallel world in which Nazi Germany invaded Britain and Erwin Schrödinger failed to find the wave equation that bears his name. This world becomes connected to our world due to experiments with quantum computers.The science-fiction plot...

 (2004) makes extensive references to Mann, and imagines an alternative universe where an author named Behring has written novels resembling Mann's. These include a version of The Magic Mountain
The Magic Mountain
The Magic Mountain is a novel by Thomas Mann, first published in November 1924. It is widely considered to be one of the most influential works of 20th century German literature....

 with Erwin Schrödinger
Erwin Schrödinger
Erwin Rudolf Josef Alexander Schrödinger was an Austrian physicist and theoretical biologist who was one of the fathers of quantum mechanics, and is famed for a number of important contributions to physics, especially the Schrödinger equation, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1933...

 in place of Castorp.

In Fringe Episode 14 Season 2 The Bishop Revival Dr. Walter Bishop states that his father a scientist in Nazi Germany who was a spy for the OSS. And that when he came to America he smuggled notes about a gene targeting poison in Thomas Mann's first edition notes.

In the novel Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
Haruki Murakami
is a Japanese writer and translator. His works of fiction and non-fiction have garnered him critical acclaim and numerous awards, including the Franz Kafka Prize and Jerusalem Prize among others.He is considered an important figure in postmodern literature...

, the main character is criticized for reading The Magic Mountain while visiting a friend in a sanatorium.

The Alan Bennett
Alan Bennett
Alan Bennett is a British playwright, screenwriter, actor and author. Born in Leeds, he attended Oxford University where he studied history and performed with The Oxford Revue. He stayed to teach and research mediaeval history at the university for several years...

 play The Habit of Art
The Habit of Art
The Habit of Art is a 2009 play by English playwright Alan Bennett, centred on a fictional meeting between WH Auden and Benjamin Britten while Britten is composing the opera Death in Venice...

 concerns Benjamin Britten
Benjamin Britten
Edward Benjamin Britten, Baron Britten, OM CH was an English composer, conductor, and pianist. He showed talent from an early age, and first came to public attention with the a cappella choral work A Boy Was Born in 1934. With the premiere of his opera Peter Grimes in 1945, he leapt to...

 visiting W.H. Auden to discuss the possibility of Auden writing the libretto for Britten's opera version of Death in Venice
Death in Venice
The novella Death in Venice was written by the German author Thomas Mann, and was first published in 1913 as Der Tod in Venedig. The plot of the work presents a great writer suffering writer's block who visits Venice and is liberated and uplifted, then increasingly obsessed, by the sight of a...

.

Hans-Peter Haack: Erstausgaben Thomas Manns. Ein bibliographischer Atlas. [First prints of Thomas Mann]. [D] Leipzig 2010, 233 S., ISBN 978-3-00-031653-1

Harry Mulisch
Harry Mulisch
Harry Kurt Victor Mulisch was a Dutch author. He wrote more than 80 novels, plays, essays, poems and philosophical reflections. These have been translated into more than 20 languages....

 considered Mann as one of his most important inspirations. His novel The discovery of heaven
The Discovery of Heaven
The Discovery of Heaven is a 1992 novel by Dutch author Harry Mulisch. It describes the intense friendship between two men and the mystical journey of another to return to Heaven the stone tablets containing the Ten Commandments....

 was called The Magic Mountain after 70 years.

In the 1941 film "The 49th Parallel", the character Philip Armstrong Scott unknowingly praises Mann's work with an escaped World War II Nazi u-boat commander, who later responds by burning Scott's copy of "The Magic Mountain".

In a 1994 essay, Umberto Eco
Umberto Eco
Umberto Eco Knight Grand Cross is an Italian semiotician, essayist, philosopher, literary critic, and novelist, best known for his novel The Name of the Rose , an intellectual mystery combining semiotics in fiction, biblical analysis, medieval studies and literary theory...

 suggests that the media discuss "Whether reading Thomas Mann gives one erections" as an alternative to "Whether Joyce is boring".

See also

  • German literature
    German literature
    German literature comprises those literary texts written in the German language. This includes literature written in Germany, Austria, the German part of Switzerland, and to a lesser extent works of the German diaspora. German literature of the modern period is mostly in Standard German, but there...

  • Exilliteratur
    Exilliteratur
    German Exilliteratur is the name for a category of books in the German language written by writers of anti-nazi attitude who fled from Nazi Germany between 1933 and 1945...

  • Dohm-Mann family tree
    Dohm-Mann family tree
    The Dohm-Mann family tree contains a number of famous writers, musicians and actors. This family tree is not complete but is focused on showing the relationship of the well-known members of the family....

    , Klaus Mann
    Klaus Mann
    - Life and work :Born in Munich, Klaus Mann was the son of German writer Thomas Mann and his wife, Katia Pringsheim. His father was baptized as a Lutheran, while his mother was from a family of secular Jews. He began writing short stories in 1924 and the following year became drama critic for a...

    , Heinrich Mann
    Heinrich Mann
    Luiz Heinrich Mann was a German novelist who wrote works with strong social themes. His attacks on the authoritarian and increasingly militaristic nature of pre-World War II German society led to his exile in 1933.-Life and work:Born in Lübeck as the oldest child of Thomas Johann Heinrich Mann...

  • Patrician (post-Roman Europe)
  • Erich Heller
    Erich Heller
    Erich Heller was a British essayist, known particularly for his critical studies in German-language philosophy and literature of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.- Biography :...

     (esp. s.v. Life in Letters)
  • Terence James Reed
    Terence James Reed
    T. J. Reed is a prominent British Germanist, an emeritus fellow of the Queen's College, Oxford and a Fellow of the British Academy; he was formerly Taylor Professor of German in the University of Oxford....


External links

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