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This vivid, sometimes tragic, and often humorous literary biography brings to life as never before the extraordinary talent and complex person who was Thomas Mann. Engrossing vignettes enable us to enter Mann's life and work from unique angles. We meet the difficult, even unsavory private man: hypochondriac and nervous, narcissistic and vainglorious, isolated and greedy for This vivid, sometimes tragic, and often humorous literary biography brings to life as never before the extraordinary talent and complex person who was Thomas Mann. Engrossing vignettes enable us to enter Mann's life and work from unique angles. We meet the difficult, even unsavory private man: hypochondriac and nervous, narcissistic and vainglorious, isolated and greedy for love, shy and often ungenerous. But we are also introduced to a man who lived an eventful life, was capable of great kindness, loved dogs, doted on his daughters, and listened to Jack Benny. We experience Mann's tragedy as the quintessential German forced by the rise of National Socialism first into inner exile and then into real exile in Switzerland, Princeton, and California. His letters from this time reveal the torment that exile represented for a writer whose work, indeed whose very self, was inextricably bound up with the German language. The book provides fresh and sometimes startling insights into both famous and little-known episodes in Mann's life and into his writing--the only realm in which he ever felt free. It shows how love, death, religion, and politics were not merely themes in Buddenbrooks, The Magic Mountain, and other works, but were woven into the fabric of his existence and preoccupied him unrelentingly. It also teases out what is known about what Mann considered his celibate homoeroticism and what others have labeled closeted homosexuality. In particular, we learn about his affection for the young man who inspired the character of Tadzio in Death in Venice. And, against the unfocused accusations of anti-Semitism that have been leveled at Mann, the book examines in human detail his relationships with Jewish writers, friends, and family members. This is the richest available portrait of Thomas Mann as man and writer--the place to start for anyone wanting to know anything about his life, work, or times.


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This vivid, sometimes tragic, and often humorous literary biography brings to life as never before the extraordinary talent and complex person who was Thomas Mann. Engrossing vignettes enable us to enter Mann's life and work from unique angles. We meet the difficult, even unsavory private man: hypochondriac and nervous, narcissistic and vainglorious, isolated and greedy for This vivid, sometimes tragic, and often humorous literary biography brings to life as never before the extraordinary talent and complex person who was Thomas Mann. Engrossing vignettes enable us to enter Mann's life and work from unique angles. We meet the difficult, even unsavory private man: hypochondriac and nervous, narcissistic and vainglorious, isolated and greedy for love, shy and often ungenerous. But we are also introduced to a man who lived an eventful life, was capable of great kindness, loved dogs, doted on his daughters, and listened to Jack Benny. We experience Mann's tragedy as the quintessential German forced by the rise of National Socialism first into inner exile and then into real exile in Switzerland, Princeton, and California. His letters from this time reveal the torment that exile represented for a writer whose work, indeed whose very self, was inextricably bound up with the German language. The book provides fresh and sometimes startling insights into both famous and little-known episodes in Mann's life and into his writing--the only realm in which he ever felt free. It shows how love, death, religion, and politics were not merely themes in Buddenbrooks, The Magic Mountain, and other works, but were woven into the fabric of his existence and preoccupied him unrelentingly. It also teases out what is known about what Mann considered his celibate homoeroticism and what others have labeled closeted homosexuality. In particular, we learn about his affection for the young man who inspired the character of Tadzio in Death in Venice. And, against the unfocused accusations of anti-Semitism that have been leveled at Mann, the book examines in human detail his relationships with Jewish writers, friends, and family members. This is the richest available portrait of Thomas Mann as man and writer--the place to start for anyone wanting to know anything about his life, work, or times.

30 review for Thomas Mann: Life as a Work of Art: A Biography

  1. 5 out of 5

    Viktoria

    Sehr gute Biografie über Thomas Mann! Hermann Kurzke bezieht die Werke (Romane, Erzählungen sowie politische Aufsätze und Essays) in die Biografie ein. Er zeigt, wie eng das Leben und das Werk Manns zusammenhängen, wie viel Thomas Mann aus seinem Leben in seine Arbeit hat einfließen lassen. Wenn man die Romane etc. nicht kennt, ist das Lesen der Biografie nicht einfach. Man kann die Gedankengänge von Kurzke nicht nachvollziehen bzw. sieht die große Verbundenheit von Werk und Leben nicht. Man sol Sehr gute Biografie über Thomas Mann! Hermann Kurzke bezieht die Werke (Romane, Erzählungen sowie politische Aufsätze und Essays) in die Biografie ein. Er zeigt, wie eng das Leben und das Werk Manns zusammenhängen, wie viel Thomas Mann aus seinem Leben in seine Arbeit hat einfließen lassen. Wenn man die Romane etc. nicht kennt, ist das Lesen der Biografie nicht einfach. Man kann die Gedankengänge von Kurzke nicht nachvollziehen bzw. sieht die große Verbundenheit von Werk und Leben nicht. Man sollte einiges von Thomas Mann gelesen haben, bevor man sich dieser sehr guten Biografie widmet.

  2. 4 out of 5

    John

    A beautifully focused biography (see pages 72-73), which the author executes quite brilliantly.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Raúl

    Para los amantes de la Obra de Thomas Mann, esta es la mejor biografía. 25 años de investigación la contemplan. Imprescindible

  4. 4 out of 5

    Fred

    If you're interested in Thomas Mann it's good.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Margot

  6. 5 out of 5

    René

  7. 5 out of 5

    Rick

  8. 4 out of 5

    Contresse

  9. 5 out of 5

    Andreu

  10. 5 out of 5

    Irina

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rodrigo Bauler

  12. 4 out of 5

    Deborah

  13. 5 out of 5

    Wilbert

  14. 4 out of 5

    Junie

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lilly

  16. 4 out of 5

    Frederick

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Fagervik

  18. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  19. 5 out of 5

    Peter Bloecker

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mads Kjær

  21. 4 out of 5

    Greta Macionytė

  22. 5 out of 5

    Eberhard Au

  23. 5 out of 5

    Liza

  24. 5 out of 5

    Christian Spahn

  25. 4 out of 5

    Orde

  26. 5 out of 5

    Aolda

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kristian Juul

  28. 4 out of 5

    Valentina

  29. 5 out of 5

    Antonia Falkenberg

  30. 5 out of 5

    Gladtogrowolder

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