Jacket Image

Enlarge Image

200 × 130 × 10 mm
208 pages
32 illustrations
11 Mar 2019
Critical Lives

Thomas Mann Eva Wessell, Herbert Lehnert

This concise yet thorough critical biography throws new light on the work of German novelist, short-story writer, essayist, social critic and philanthropist Thomas Mann. The book looks closely at how his brother Heinrich, as well as the work of philosophers, notably Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and Goethe, influenced Mann’s work. Mann’s fictional worlds criticized the prevailing bourgeois order, and his first novel Buddenbrooks signalled the need for change. The Magic Mountain and Death in Venice were ground-breaking works that remain significant today. The author also investigates Mann's political views, from his anti-Nazi speeches to his anti-McCarthyist activities.

This is an engaging new account of a significant German writer, which illustrates how the context of Mann’s life shaped his achievements. It will appeal to students and scholars of German literature, as well as all with an interest in the history and culture of the twentieth century.

‘This book provides an excellent, clear and concise summary of Thomas Mann’s life and work.’ — Ernest Schonfield, Lecturer in German, University of Glasgow

Show all

Eva Wessell has been a lecturer in the School of Humanities at the University of California, Irvine.

Herbert Lehnert is emeritus Professor of German at the University of California, Irvine, and has published many books on German literature.

Texts and Abbreviations

1 Thomas Mann, the Outsider Writer, in the Shadow of his Brother
2 From Buddenbrooks, a Novel of Liberation, to Fiorenza, a Play of Power
3 Two Loves and their Literary Outcomes
4 ‘Death in Venice’, the First World War and The Magic Mountain
5 The Weimar Republic and Two Joseph Novels
6 Joseph and his Author in Exile, Lotte in Weimar
7 In America: The Second World War and Joseph the Provider
8 Doctor Faustus and Discord with Germany
9 A Second Emigration: Tales of Forgiveness and Joy Emerge
Afterword: Modern Perspectives

Select Bibliography
Photo Acknowledgements