Paul Thomas Mann (German: [paʊ̯l toːmas man]; 6 June 1875 – 12 August 1955) was a German novelist, short story writer, social critic, philanthropist, essayist, and the 1929 Nobel Prize in Literature laureate. His highly symbolic and ironic epic novels and novellas are 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 versions of German and Biblical stories, as well as the ideas of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Nietzsche and Arthur Schopenhauer.
Mann was a member of the Hanseatic Mann family and portrayed his family and class in his first novel, Buddenbrooks. His older brother was the radical writer Heinrich Mann and three of Mann's six children, Erika Mann, Klaus Mann and Golo Mann, also became significant German writers. When Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933, Mann fled to Switzerland. When World War II broke out in 1939, he moved to the United States, then returned to Switzerland in 1952. Mann is one of the best-known exponents of the so-called Exilliteratur, German literature written in exile by those who opposed the Hitler regime.
Mann in 1929
|Born||Paul Thomas Mann|
6 June 1875
Free City of Lübeck, German Empire
|Died||12 August 1955 (aged 80)|
|Resting place||Kilchberg, Switzerland|
|Occupation||Novelist, short story writer, essayist|
|Notable works||Buddenbrooks, The Magic Mountain, Death in Venice, Joseph and His Brothers, Doctor Faustus|
|Children||Erika, Klaus, Golo, Monika, Elisabeth, Michael|
|Relatives||Thomas Johann Heinrich Mann (father)|
Júlia da Silva Bruhns (mother)
Heinrich Mann (brother)
|Erika||9 November 1905||27 August 1969|
|Klaus||18 November 1906||21 May 1949|
|Golo||29 March 1909||7 April 1994|
|Monika||7 June 1910||17 March 1992|
|Elisabeth||24 April 1918||8 February 2002|
|Michael||21 April 1919||1 January 1977|
Paul Thomas Mann was born to a bourgeois family in Lübeck, the second son of Thomas Johann Heinrich Mann (a senator and a grain merchant) and his wife Júlia da Silva Bruhns, a Brazilian woman of German and Portuguese ancestry, who emigrated to Germany with her family when she was seven years old. His mother was Roman Catholic but Mann was baptised into his father's Lutheran religion. Mann's father died in 1891, and later his trading firm was liquidated. The family subsequently moved to Munich. Mann first studied science at a Lübeck gymnasium (secondary school), then attended the Ludwig Maximillians University of Munich as well as the Technical University of Munich, where, in preparation for a journalism career, he studied history, economics, art history and literature.
Mann lived in Munich from 1891 until 1933, with the exception of a year spent in Palestrina, Italy, with his elder brother, the novelist Heinrich. Thomas worked at the South German Fire Insurance Company in 1894–95. His career as a writer began when he wrote for the magazine Simplicissimus. Mann's first short story, "Little Mr Friedemann" (Der Kleine Herr Friedemann), was published in 1898.
In 1912, he and his wife moved to a sanatorium in Davos, Switzerland, which was to inspire his 1924 novel The Magic Mountain. He was also appalled by the risk of international confrontation between Germany and France, following the Agadir Crisis in Morocco, and later by the outbreak of the First World War.
In 1929, Mann had a cottage built in the fishing village of Nidden, Memel Territory (now Nida, Lithuania) on the Curonian Spit, where there was a German art colony and where he spent the summers of 1930–1932 working on Joseph and His Brothers. Today the cottage is a cultural center dedicated to him, with a small memorial exhibition.
In 1933, while travelling in the South of France, Mann heard from his eldest children Klaus and Erika in Munich, that it would not be safe for him to return to Germany. The family (except these two children) emigrated to Küsnacht, near Zurich, Switzerland but received Czechoslovak citizenship and a passport in 1936. In 1939, following the German occupation of Czechoslovakia, he emigrated to the United States. He moved to Princeton, New Jersey where he lived on 65 Stockton Road and began to teach at Princeton University. In 1942, the Mann family moved to 1550 San Remo Drive in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. The Manns were prominent members of the German expatriate community of Los Angeles, and would frequently meet other emigres at the house of Salka and Bertold Viertel in Santa Monica, and at the Villa Aurora, the home of fellow German exile Lion Feuchtwanger. On 23 June 1944 Thomas Mann was naturalized as a citizen of the United States. The Manns lived in Los Angeles until 1952.
The outbreak of World War II on 1 September 1939, prompted Mann to offer anti-Nazi speeches (in German) to the German people via the BBC. In October 1940 he began monthly broadcasts, recorded in the U.S. and flown to London, where the BBC broadcast them to Germany on the longwave band. In these eight-minute addresses, Mann condemned Hitler and his "paladins" as crude philistines completely out of touch with European culture. In one noted speech he said, "The war is horrible, but it has the advantage of keeping Hitler from making speeches about culture."
Mann was one of the few publicly active opponents of Nazism among German expatriates in the U.S. While some Germans claimed after the war that in his speeches he had endorsed the notion of collective guilt, others felt he had been highly critical also of the politically unstable Weimar Republic that preceded the Third Reich.
With the start of the Cold War he was increasingly frustrated by rising McCarthyism. As a 'suspected communist', he was required to testify to the House Un-American Activities Committee, where he was termed "one of the world's foremost apologists for Stalin and company." He was listed by HUAC as being "affiliated with various peace organizations or Communist fronts." Being in his own words a non-communist rather than an anti-communist, Mann openly opposed the allegations: "As an American citizen of German birth I finally testify that I am painfully familiar with certain political trends. Spiritual intolerance, political inquisitions, and declining legal security, and all this in the name of an alleged 'state of emergency.' ... That is how it started in Germany." As Mann joined protests against the jailing of the Hollywood Ten and the firing of schoolteachers suspected of being Communists, he found "the media had been closed to him". Finally he was forced to quit his position as Consultant in Germanic Literature at the Library of Congress and in 1952 he returned to Europe, to live in Kilchberg, near Zurich, 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, attending celebrations in Frankfurt am Main and Weimar, as a statement that German culture extended beyond the new political borders. In 1955, he died of atherosclerosis in a hospital in Zurich and was buried in Kilchberg. Many institutions are named in his honour, for instance the Thomas Mann Gymnasium of Budapest.
Blanche Knopf of Alfred A. Knopf publishing house was introduced to Mann by H. L. Mencken while on a book-buying trip to Europe. Knopf would become Mann's American publisher and Blanche hired scholar Helen Tracy Lowe-Porter to translate Mann's books in 1924. Lowe-Porter would go on to translate Mann's complete works. Blanche Knopf continued to look after Mann. After Buddenbrooks proved successful in its first year they sent him an unexpected bonus. Later in the 1930s, Blanche helped arrange for Mann and his family emigrate to America.
Mann was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1929, after he had been nominated by Anders Österling, member of the Swedish Academy, principally in recognition of his popular achievement with the epic Buddenbrooks (1901), The Magic Mountain (Der Zauberberg, 1924) and his numerous short stories. (Due to the personal taste of an influential committee member, only Buddenbrooks was cited at any great length.) Based on Mann's own family, Buddenbrooks relates the decline of a merchant family in Lübeck over the course of four generations. The Magic Mountain (Der Zauberberg, 1924) follows an engineering student who, planning to visit his tubercular cousin at a Swiss sanatorium 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. The tetralogy Joseph and His Brothers is an epic novel written over a period of sixteen years, and is one of the largest and most significant works in Mann's oeuvre. Later, other novels included Lotte in Weimar (1939), in which Mann returned to the world of Goethe's novel The Sorrows of Young Werther (1774); Doktor Faustus (1947), the story of composer Adrian Leverkühn and the corruption of German culture in the years before and during World War II; and Confessions of Felix Krull (Bekenntnisse des Hochstaplers Felix Krull, 1954), which was unfinished at Mann's death.
Throughout his Dostoevsky essay, he finds parallels between the Russian and the sufferings of Friedrich Nietzsche. 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 Dostoevsky 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."
Mann's diaries reveal his struggles with his homosexuality, 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 (Der Tod in Venedig, 1912).
Anthony Heilbut's biography Thomas Mann: Eros and Literature (1997) uncovered the centrality of Mann's sexuality to his oeuvre. Gilbert Adair's work The Real Tadzio (2001) describes how, in the summer of 1911, Mann had stayed at the Grand Hôtel des Bains on the Lido of Venice with his wife and brother, when he became enraptured by the angelic figure of Władysław (Władzio) Moes, a 10-year-old Polish boy (see also "The real Tadzio" on the Death in Venice page). Mann's diary records his attraction to his own 13-year-old son, "Eissi" – Klaus Mann: "Klaus to whom recently I feel very drawn" (22 June). In the background conversations about man-to-man eroticism take place; a long letter is written to Carl Maria Weber on this topic, while the diary reveals: "In love with Klaus during these days" (5 June). "Eissi, who enchants me right now" (11 July). "Delight over Eissi, who in his bath is terribly handsome. Find it very natural that I am in love with my son ... Eissi lay reading in bed with his brown torso naked, which disconcerted me" (25 July). "I heard noise in the boys' room and surprised Eissi completely naked in front of Golo's bed acting foolish. Strong impression of his premasculine, gleaming body. Disquiet" (17 October 1920).
Handling the struggle between the Dionysiac and the Apollonian, Death in Venice has been made into a film and an opera. Blamed sarcastically by Mann's old enemy, Alfred Kerr, for having made pederasty 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, for whom he had feelings as a young man (at least until around 1903 when there is evidence that those feelings had cooled). The attraction that he felt for Ehrenberg, which is corroborated by notebook entries, caused Mann difficulty and discomfort and may have been an obstacle to his marrying an English woman, Mary Smith, whom he met in 1901. In 1950, Mann met the 19 year old waiter Franz Westermeier, confiding to his diary "Once again this, once again love". In 1975, when Mann's diaries were published, creating a national sensation in Germany, the retired Westermeier was tracked down in the United States: he was flattered to learn he had been the object of Mann's obsession, but also shocked at its depth.
Although Mann had always denied his novels had autobiographical components, the unsealing of his diaries revealing how consumed his life had been with unrequited and sublimated passion resulted in a reappraisal of his work.
Several literary and other works make reference to Mann's book The Magic Mountain, including:
Several literary and other works make reference to Death in Venice, including:
During World War I, Mann supported Kaiser Wilhelm II's conservatism, attacked liberalism and supported the war effort, calling the Great War "a purification, a liberation, an enormous hope". 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. 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 and Walt Whitman. 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 Nazism 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. When the Nazis came to power in 1933, Mann and his wife were on holiday in Switzerland. Due to his strident denunciations of Nazi policies, his son Klaus advised him not to return. In contrast to those of his brother Heinrich and his son Klaus, Mann's books were not among those burnt publicly by Hitler's regime in May 1933, possibly since he had been the Nobel laureate in literature for 1929. In 1936, the Nazi government officially revoked his German citizenship.
During the war, Mann made a series of anti-Nazi radio-speeches, published as Listen, Germany!. They were recorded on tape in the United States and then sent to Great Britain, where the BBC transmitted them, hoping to reach German listeners.
Mann expressed his belief in the collection of letters written in exile, Listen, Germany! (Deutsche Hörer!), that equating Russian communism with Nazi-fascism on the basis that both are totalitarian systems was either superficial or insincere in showing a preference for fascism. He clarified this view during a German press interview in July 1949, declaring that he was not a communist, but that communism at least had some relation to ideals of humanity and of a better future. He said that the transition of the communist revolution into an autocratic regime was a tragedy while Nazism was only "devilish nihilism".
Joseph and His Brothers (Joseph und seine Brüder) (1933–43)
The Bonn Stadtbahn (English: city rail) is a part of the local public transit system in Bonn and the surrounding Rhein-Sieg area, that also includes the Bonn Straßenbahn. Although with six actual Stadtbahn lines (as well as three tram lines) the network is relatively small, two of Bonn's Stadtbahn lines connect to the much larger Cologne Stadtbahn (and are numbered according to that system, not Bonn's).
The Stadtbahn network comprises 95.84 kilometres (59.55 mi) of route. There are 64 stations and stops in the city of Bonn proper, and another 17 in Siegburg and Bad Honnef. Additionally, 8.72 kilometres (5.42 mi) of the Stadtbahn is located underground, as are 12 of the Stadtbahn stations.Death in Venice
Death in Venice is a novella written by the German author Thomas Mann and was first published in 1912 as Der Tod in Venedig. The work presents a great writer suffering writer's block who visits Venice and is liberated, uplifted, and then increasingly obsessed, by the sight of a stunningly beautiful youth. Though he never speaks to the boy, much less touches him, the writer finds himself drawn deep into ruinous inward passion; meanwhile, Venice, and finally, the writer himself, succumb to a cholera plague.
The novella is intertextual, with the chief sources being first the connection of erotic love to philosophical wisdom traced in Plato's Symposium and Phaedrus, and second the Nietzschean contrast between the god of restraint and shaping form, Apollo, and the god of excess and passion, Dionysus.
Tadzio, the boy in the story, is the nickname for the Polish name Tadeusz and based on a boy Mann had seen during his visit to Venice in 1911.Death in Venice (film)
Death in Venice (original Italian title: Morte a Venezia) is a 1971 Italian-French drama film directed in Panavision and Technicolor by Luchino Visconti and starring Dirk Bogarde and Björn Andrésen. It is based on the novella Death in Venice, first published in 1912 as Der Tod in Venedig by the German author Thomas Mann.Death in Venice (opera)
Death in Venice is an opera in two acts by Benjamin Britten, his last. The opera is based on the novella Death in Venice by Thomas Mann. Myfanwy Piper wrote the English libretto. It was first performed at Snape Maltings, near Aldeburgh, England, on 16 June 1973.
The often acerbic and severe score is marked by some haunting soundscapes of "ambiguous Venice". The boy Tadzio is portrayed by a silent dancer, to gamelan-like percussion accompaniment. The music of the opera is precise, direct and movingly understated.Doctor Faustus (1982 film)
Doctor Faustus (German: Doktor Faustus) is a 1982 West German drama film directed by Franz Seitz, based on the novel by Thomas Mann. It was entered into the 13th Moscow International Film Festival where it won the Silver Prize.Doctor Faustus (novel)
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: The Life of the German Composer Adrian Leverkühn, Told by a Friend").Faust (2011 film)
Faust is a 2011 Russian film directed by Alexander Sokurov. Set in the 19th century, it is a free interpretation of the Faust legend and its respective literary adaptations by both Johann Wolfgang von Goethe as well as Thomas Mann. The dialogue is in German. The film won the Golden Lion at the 68th Venice International Film Festival. At the 2012 Russian Guild of Film Critics Awards the film was awarded the prizes for Best Film, Best Director (Alexander Sokurov), Best Script (Yuri Arabov) and Best Male Supporting Actor (Anton Adasinsky).Golo Mann
Golo Mann (27 March 1909 – 7 April 1994), born Angelus Gottfried Thomas Mann, was a popular historian, essayist and writer. He was the third child of the novelist Thomas Mann and his wife Katia Mann.Golo Mann, originally a Bavarian German, held Czechoslovakian citizenship from 1936 on, American 1943–68, Swiss from 1968 on and additionally German since 1976.John E. Woods
John Edwin Woods is a translator who specializes in translating German literature, since about 1978. His work includes much of the fictional prose of Arno Schmidt and the works of contemporary authors such as Ingo Schulze and Christoph Ransmayr. He also translated all the major novels of Thomas Mann (a feat comparable, in simple page count, to a wholly new translation of Proust), as well as works by many other writers. Woods lives in Berlin.Joseph and His Brothers
Joseph and His Brothers (Joseph und seine Brüder) 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 (chapters 27–50), setting it in the historical context of the Amarna Period. Mann considered it his greatest work.
The tetralogy consists of:
The Stories of Jacob (Die Geschichten Jaakobs; written December 1926 to October 1930, Genesis 27–36)
Young Joseph (Der junge Joseph; written January 1931 to June 1932, Genesis 37)
Joseph in Egypt (Joseph in Ägypten; written July 1932 to 23 August 1936, Genesis 38–39)
Joseph the Provider (Joseph, der Ernährer; written 10 August 1940 to 4 January 1943, Genesis 40–50)Katia Mann
Katia Mann (born Katharina Hedwig Pringsheim; July 24, 1883 – April 25, 1980) was the youngest child and only daughter (among four sons) of the German Jewish mathematician and artist Alfred Pringsheim and his wife Hedwig Pringsheim, who was an actress in Berlin before her marriage. Katia was also a granddaughter of the writer and women's rights activist Hedwig Dohm. Her twin brother Klaus Pringsheim was a conductor, composer, music writer and music pedagogue, active in Germany and Japan. She married the writer Thomas Mann.Ona Narbutienė
Ona Narbutienė (October 26, 1930 in Kaunas - July 10, 2007, in Vilnius) was a Lithuanian musicologist and educator. She received the Lithuanian National Prize for arts and culture in 1999, and was the author of a number of articles on Lithuanian music history and several books on Lithuanian composers and musical personalities.
Narbutienė was born into the family of Lithuanian officer and spent her childhood in Klaipėda. In 1949, she was arrested in Vilnius and deported to Siberia, Irkutsk Oblast, where she was forced to work in brick factory. After some time she could finish her education and started working as a musical teacher in Irkutsk school. After Joseph Stalin's death she was allowed to return to Lithuania. 1955-1960 she studied at Vilnius Conservatory and started researching music history.
Narbutienė organized the musical program of the Thomas Mann Festival in Nida from its inception in 1995 until 2007. The summer festival, under her sponsorship, was dedicated to topics such as Thomas Mann and Richard Wagner (1998), Thomas Mann and the myth (2000), and Thomas Mann and the North (2001). The programs combined concerts, readings, exhibitions, theatre performances, and film screenings. She described the festival's concept as revolving around the connections of Thomas Mann to music. She also contributed to the inclusion of song and dance celebrations in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania in UNESCO's Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.The Magic Mountain
The Magic Mountain (German: Der Zauberberg) is a novel by Thomas Mann, first published in German in November 1924. It is widely considered to be one of the most influential works of 20th century German literature.
Mann started writing what was to become The Magic Mountain in 1912. It began as a much shorter narrative which revisited in a comic manner aspects of Death in Venice, a novella that he was preparing for publication. The newer work reflected his experiences and impressions during a period when his wife, who was suffering from a lung complaint, resided at Dr. Friedrich Jessen's Waldsanatorium in Davos, Switzerland for several months. In May and June 1912, Mann visited her and became acquainted with the team of doctors and patients in this cosmopolitan institution. According to Mann, in the afterword that was later included in the English translation of his novel, this stay inspired his opening chapter ("Arrival").
The outbreak of the First World War interrupted his work on the book. The savage conflict and its aftermath led the author to undertake a major re-examination of European bourgeois society. He explored the sources of the destructiveness displayed by much of civilised humanity. He was also drawn to speculate about more general questions related to personal attitudes to life, health, illness, sexuality and mortality. Given this, Mann felt compelled to radically revise and expand the pre-war text before completing it in 1924. Der Zauberberg was eventually published in two volumes by S. Fischer Verlag in Berlin.
Mann's vast composition is erudite, subtle, ambitious, but, most of all, ambiguous; since its original publication it has been subject to a variety of critical assessments. For example, the book blends a scrupulous realism with deeper symbolic undertones. Given this complexity, each reader is obliged to interpret the significance of the pattern of events in the narrative, a task made more difficult by the author's irony. Mann was well aware of his book's elusiveness, but offered few clues about approaches to the text. He later compared it to a symphonic work orchestrated with a number of themes. In a playful commentary on the problems of interpretation, he recommended that those who wished to understand it should read it through twice.Thomas Mann (actor)
Thomas Randall Mann, Jr. (born September 27, 1991) is an American actor. He is known for his roles in the films Project X (2012), Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013), Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2015), and Kong: Skull Island (2017).Thomas Mann Gymnasium (Budapest)
The German School of Budapest - Thomas Mann Gymnasium (commonly referred to as DSB) (German: Deutsche Schule Budapest - Thomas Mann Gymnasium) is a private international school in Budapest, Hungary. It was founded in 1908 to serve German families in Hungary. It now has a diverse student body with primarily children of the expatriate business and diplomatic communities. The school is part of the worldwide network of the German Auslandsschulen (German schools abroad). Considered to be one of the best schools of its kind, it was awarded a Certificate of Excellence by the Central Agency for German Schools Abroad in 2012.Thomas Mann Randolph Jr.
Thomas Mann Randolph Jr. (October 1, 1768 – June 20, 1828) was an American planter, soldier, and politician from Virginia. He served as a member of both houses of the Virginia General Assembly, a Representative in the U.S. Congress, and as the 21st Governor of Virginia, from 1819–1822. He married Martha Jefferson, the oldest daughter of Thomas Jefferson, third President of the United States. They had eleven children who survived childhood. As an adult, Randolph developed alcoholism, and he and his wife separated for some time before his death.Tom Mann
Thomas Mann (15 April 1856 – 13 March 1941) was a noted British trade unionist. Largely self-educated, Mann became a successful organiser and a popular public speaker in the labour movement.Tristan (novella)
Tristan is a 1903 novella by German writer Thomas Mann. It contains many references to the myth of Tristan and Iseult. The novella alludes in particular to the version presented in Richard Wagner's opera of the same name. As such, it can be seen as an ironic paraphrase, juxtaposing the romantic heroism of Wagner's characters with their essentially flawed counterparts in the novella. It also heavily deals with psychology and a major part of the novel is set in a sanatorium and details the lives of two people who are patients at the sanatorium.University and State Library Düsseldorf
The University and State Library Düsseldorf (German: Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Düsseldorf, abbreviated ULB Düsseldorf) is a central service institution of Heinrich Heine University. Along with Bonn and Münster, it is also one of the three State Libraries of North Rhine-Westphalia.