His mother was Roman Catholic but Mann was baptised into his father's Lutheran religion. Mann's father died in , and after that his trading firm was liquidated. The family subsequently moved to Munich. Mann lived in Munich from until [ clarification needed ] , with the exception of a year spent in Palestrina , Italy, with his elder brother, the novelist Heinrich.
His career as a writer began when he wrote for the magazine Simplicissimus. In , Mann married Katia Pringsheim , who came from a wealthy, secular Jewish industrialist family. She later joined the Lutheran church.
The couple had six children. In , he and his wife moved to a sanatorium in Davos , Switzerland, which was to inspire his 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 , 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 — working on Joseph and His Brothers.
Today the cottage is a cultural center dedicated to him, with a small memorial exhibition. In , 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. In , following the German occupation of Czechoslovakia , he emigrated to the United States. 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.
The Manns lived in Los Angeles until In October he began monthly broadcasts, recorded in the U. 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.
While some Germans [ citation needed ] claimed after the war that in his speeches he had endorsed the notion of collective guilt , others [ citation needed ] 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.
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. He never again lived in Germany, though he regularly traveled there. His most important German visit was in , at the th 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. Blanche Knopf of Alfred A. Knopf publishing house was introduced to Mann by H.
Mencken while on a book-buying trip to Europe. After Buddenbrooks proved successful in its first year, they sent him an unexpected bonus. Later in the s, Blanche helped arrange for Mann and his family to emigrate to America. The Magic Mountain Der Zauberberg , 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. 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 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.
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.
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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 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 year-old Polish boy Tadzio in the novella Death in Venice Der Tod in Venedig , Anthony Heilbut 's biography Thomas Mann: Eros and Literature uncovered the centrality of Mann's sexuality to his oeuvre. Mann's diary records his attraction to his own year-old son, "Eissi" — Klaus Mann: "Klaus to whom recently I feel very drawn" 22 June.
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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. 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. Strong impression of his premasculine, gleaming body. Disquiet" 17 October Handling the struggle between the Dionysiac and the Apollonian , [ citation needed ] 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. 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 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:.
In Depth: Essayists for Our Time
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 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 , which appeared in Die neue Rundschau in November in which he developed his eccentric defence of the Republic, based on extensive close readings of Novalis and Walt Whitman.
Thereafter, his political views gradually shifted toward liberal left and democratic principles. In , 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 , 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 , possibly since he had been the Nobel laureate in literature for In , the Nazi government officially revoked his German citizenship.
During the war, Mann made a series of anti-Nazi radio-speeches, published as Listen, Germany! Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide.
In Depth: Essayists for Our Time by Carl H. Klaus
Institutional Login. LOG IN. Fourth Genre: Explorations in Nonfiction. In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: Interview with Carl Klaus. The emergence of creative nonfiction as a discipline, as an art and a craft worthy of practice and study—in short, as a fourth literary genre—has been a significant and enduring achievement in literature of the last third of the twentieth century.