By Herbert Lehnert, Eva Wessell
Thomas Mann is likely one of the maximum of German prose writers, and used to be the 1st German novelist to arrive a large English-speaking readership due to the fact that Goethe. Novels equivalent to Buddenbrooks, The Magic Mountain, and Doktor Faustus attest to his mastery of refined, distanced irony, whereas novellas similar to loss of life in Venice display him on the top of his mastery of language. as well as clean insights approximately those best-known works of Mann, this quantity treats less-often-discussed works comparable to Joseph and His Brothers, Lotte in Weimar, and Felix Krull, in addition to his political writings and essays. Mann himself was once a paradox: his position as family-father used to be either shelter and faГ§ade; his love of Germany was once matched via his contempt for its having embraced Hitler. whereas in exile through the Nazi interval, he functioned because the major consultant of the ''good'' Germany within the struggle opposed to fascism, and he has usually been remembered this manner in English-speaking lands. yet a brand new view of Mann is rising part a century after his demise: a view of him as one of many nice writers of a modernity understood as extending into our twenty first century. This quantity offers 16 essays through American and eu experts. They show the relevance of his writings for our time, making specific use of the biographical fabric that's now to be had. individuals: Ehrhard Bahr, Manfred Dierks, Werner Frizen, Clayton Koelb, Helmut Koopmann, Wolfgang Lederer, Hannelore Mundt, Peter PГјtz, Jens Rieckmann, Hans Joachim Sandberg, Egon Schwarz, and Hans Vaget.
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Additional info for A Companion to the Works of Thomas Mann
Under the influence of the writer and critic Hermann Bahr, who proclaimed a new 9 psychology in the vein of the fashionable novelist and critic Paul Bourget, the young bookseller’s apprentice wrote the story “Haltlos” (Drifting) in 1890, which was not published during his lifetime, although he must have shared it with his brother. The title “Haltlos,” literally “without support,” “without guidance,” expresses the condition of the alienated young son of a wealthy family at odds with the entire world, a condition of free-floating weakness, a kind of negative freedom apart from family and social order.
In the Weimar Republic the two cooperated, helping when the Prussian Academy of Arts established a section for poetry and writing, giving the profession of letters official status. Heinrich became president of the section. After the First World War Thomas Mann took a while to reorient himself. He had difficulties accepting the victory of the Western allies; he understood it as a victory of capitalism over German culture. Betrachtungen eines Unpolitischen had been published in the fall of 1918, only weeks before the German capitulation.
The object of his fictional biography, Adrian Leverkühn, the absolute artist, more distanced from society than his author, is nevertheless a scion of Germany, carrying allusions to Luther and Dürer. The narrator Zeitblom is a classical philologist like Nietzsche; like him he enters military service with a Naumburg artillery regiment. Leverkühn grows up in a countryside similar to the one of Nietzsche’s youth; he gives up theology; he contracts syphilis. But unlike Nietzsche, who was a composer of minor talent, Leverkühn becomes a composer of genius.
A Companion to the Works of Thomas Mann by Herbert Lehnert, Eva Wessell