Skip to main content

Mann, (Paul) Thomas

MANN, (Paul) Thomas

Nationality: German. Born: Lübeck, 6 June 1875; brother of the writer Heinrich Mann. Education: Dr. Bussenius's school, 1882-89; Gymnasium, Lübeck, 1889-94. Military Service: 1898-99. Family: Married Katja Pringsheim in 1905; six children, including the writers Erika and Klaus. Career: Worked in insurance company, Munich, 1894-95; professional writer from 1895. Lived in Switzerland, 1933-36 (deprived of German citizenship, 1936); lived in Princeton, New Jersey, 1938-41; lived in Santa Monica, California, 1941-52; lived in Switzerland, 1952-55. Awards: Bauernfeld prize, 1904; Nobel prize for literature, 1929; Goethe prize (Frankfurt), 1949; Feltrinelli prize, 1952. Honorary degree: University of Bonn (rescinded, 1936). Honorary Citizen, Lübeck, 1955. Died: 12 August 1955.

Publications

Collections

Gesammelte Werke. 14 vols., 1974.

Gesammelte Werke, edited by Peter de Mendelssohn. 1980—.

Selected Stories. 1993.

Short Stories and Novellas

Der kleine Herr Friedemann: Novellen. 1898; enlarged edition, 1909.

Tristan: Sechs Novellen. 1903.

Der Tod in Venedig. 1912; as Death in Venice, 1925; as Death in Venice: A New Translation, Backgrounds and Contexts, Criticism, 1994.

Das Wunderkind: Novellen. 1914.

Novellen. 2 vols., 1922.

Death in Venice and Other Stories. 1925.

Mario und der Zauberer: Ein tragisches Reiseerlebnis. 1930; asMario and the Magician, 1930.

Stories of Three Decades. 1936; enlarged edition, as Stories of a Lifetime, 1961.

Das Gesetz: Erzählung. 1944; as The Tables of the Law, 1945.

Ausgewählte Erzählungen. 1945.

Die Betrogene. 1953; as The Black Swan, 1954.

Six Early Stories. 1997.

Novels

Buddenbrooks: Verfall einer Familie. 1900; as Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family, 1924.

Königliche Hoheit. 1909; as Royal Highness: A Novel of German Court-Life, 1916; revised translation, 1979.

Herr und Hund: Ein Idyll. 1919; enlarged edition, 1919; as Basham and I, 1923; as A Man and His Dog, 1930.

Wälsungenblut. 192l.

Bekenntnisse des Hochstaplers Felix Krull; Buch der Kindheit.1922; additional chapter published as Die Begegnung, 1953; complete version, 1953; as Confessions of Felix Krull, Confidence Man: The Early Years, 1955.

Der Zauberberg. 1924; as The Magic Mountain, 1927; as The Magic Mountain: With a Postscript by the Author on the Making of the Novel, 1996.

Children and Fools. 1928.

Joseph und seine Brüder: Die Geschichten Jaakobs, Der junge Joseph, Joseph in Ägypten, Joseph der Ernährer. 4 vols., 1933-43; as Joseph and His (Joseph and His Brethren): The Tale of Jacob (Joseph and His Brothers), Young Joseph, Joseph in Egypt, Joseph the Provider, 4 vols., 1934-44.

Nocturnes. 1934.

Lotte in Weimar. 1939; translated as Lotte in Weimar, 1940; as The Beloved Returns, 1940.

Die vertauschten Köpfe: Eine indische Legende. 1940; as The Transposed Heads: A Legend of India, 1941.

Doktor Faustus: Das Leben des deutschen Tonsetzers Adrian Leverkühn, erzählt von einem Freunde. 1947; as Doctor Faustus: The Life of the German Composer, Adrian Leverkühn, as Told by a Friend, 1948.

Der Erwählte. 1951; as The Holy Sinner, 195l.

Play

Fiorenza. 1906.

Other

Bilse und Ich. 1908.

Friedrich und die grosse Koalition. 19l5.

Betrachtungen eines Unpolitischen. 1918; as Reflections of a Nonpolitical Man, 1983.

Rede und Antwort: Gesammelte Abhandlungen und kleine Aufsätze. 1922.

Vor deutscher Republik. 1923.

Okkulte Erlebnisse. 1924.

Bemühungen. 1925.

Pariser Rechenschaft. 1926.

Three Essays. 1929.

Die Forderung des Tages: Reden und Aufsätze aus den Jahren 1925-1929. 1930.

Lebensabriss. 1930; as A Sketch of My Life. 1930.

Goethe und Tolstoi: Zum Problem der Humanität. 1932.

Past Masters and Other Papers. 1933.

Leiden und Grösse der Meister: Neue Aufsätze. 1935.

Freund und die Zukunft: Vortrag. 1936.

Achtung, Europa! Aufsätze zur Zeit. 1938.

Dieser Friede. 1938; as This Peace, 1938.

Schopenhauer. 1938.

Dieser Krieg: Aufsatz. 1940; as This War. 1940.

Order of the Day: Political Essays and Speeches of Two Decades. 1942.

Deutsche Hörer! 25 Radiosendungen nach Deutschland. 1942; asListen, Germany! Twenty-Five Radio Messages to the German People over B.B.C., 1943; enlarged edition (55 messages), 1945.

Adel des Geistes: Sechsehn Versuche zum Problem der Humanität.1945; enlarged edition, 1956.

Leiden an Deutschland: Tagebuchblätter aus den Jahren 1933 und 1934. 1946.

Essays of Three Decades. 1947.

Neue Studien. 1948.

Die Entstehung des Doktor Faustus: Roman eines Romans. 1949; as The Story of a Novel: The Genesis of Doctor Faustus, 1961.

Goethe und die Demokratie (lecture). 1949.

Michelangelo in seinen Dichtungen. 1950.

The Mann Reader, edited by Joseph Warner Angel. 1950.

Altes und Neues: Kleine Prosa aus fünf Jahrzehnten. 1953; revised edition, 1956.

Ansprache im Schillerjahr 1955. 1955.

Versuch über Schiller. 1955.

Zeit und Werk: Tagebücher und Schriften zum Zeitgeschehen. 1956.

Nachlese: Prosa 1951-55. 1956.

Last Essays. 1959.

Briefe an Paul Amann 1915-1952, edited by Herbert Wegener.1959; as Letters, 1961.

Gespräch in Briefen, with Karl Kerenyi, edited by Kerenyi. 1960; as Mythology and Humanism: Correspondence, 1975.

Briefe an Ernst Bertram 1910-1955, edited by Inge Jens. 1960.

Briefe 1899-1955, edited by Erika Mann. 3 vols., 1961-65; as Letters, edited by Richard and Clara Winston, 2 vols., 1970.

Briefwechsel, with Robert Faesi, edited by Faesi. 1962.

Wagner und unsere Zeit, edited by Erika Mann. 1963; as Pro and Contra Wagner, 1985.

Briefwechsel 1900-1949, with Heinrich Mann, edited by HansWysling, revised edition, edited by Ulrich Dietzel. 1968; revised edition, 1975.

Briefwechsel, with Hermann Hesse, edited by Anni Carlsson.1968; revised edition, 1975; as Letters, 1975; also edited by Hans Wysling, 1984; as The Hesse/Mann Letters: The Correspondence of Hermann Hesse and Mann, 1910-1955, 1975.

Das essayistische Werk, edited by Hans Bürgin. 8 vols., 1968.

Briefwechsel im Exil, with Erich Kahler, edited by Hans Wysling.1970; as An Exceptional Friendship: Correspondence, 1975.

The Letters to Caroline Newton, edited by Robert F. Cohen. 1971.

Briefwechsel 1932-1955, with Gottfried Bermann Fischer, edited by Peter de Mendelssohn. 1973.

Briefe an Otto Grautoff 1894-1901, und Ida Boy-Ed, 1903-1928, edited by Peter de Mendelssohn. 1975.

Briefwechsel, with Alfred Neumann, edited by Peter de Mendelssohn. 1977.

Tagebücher, edited by Peter de Mendelssohn. 1977—; as Diaries, 1918-1939, edited by Hermann Keston, 1982—.

Briefwechsel mit Autoren: Rudolf Georg Binding, edited by HansWysling. 1988.

Dichter oder Schriftsteller? der Briefwechsel zwischen Mann und Josef Ponten, 1919-1930, edited by Hans Wysling. 1988.

Jahre des Unmuts: Mann's Briefwechsel mit René Schickele, 1930-1940, edited by Hans Wysling and Cornelia Bernini. 1992.

Thomas Mann—Félix Bertaux: Correspondence, 1923-1948. 1993.

On Myself and Other Princeton Lectures. 1997.

Letters of Heinrich and Thomas Mann. 1997.

Editor, The Living Thoughts of Schopenhauer. 1939.

Editor, The Permanent Goethe. 1948.

*

Bibliography:

Fifty Years of Mann Studies by Klaus Werner Jonas, 1955, and Mann Studies by Klaus Werner and Ilsedore B. Jonas, 1967.

Critical Studies:

Mann: An Introduction to His Fiction, 1952, revised edition, 1962, and From "The Magic Mountain": Mann's Later Masterpieces, 1979, both by Henry Hatfield; Mann: The World as Will and Representation by Fritz Kaufmann, 1957; The Ironic German: A Study of Mann by Erich Heller, 1958, revised edition, 1981; The Last Year of Mann by Erika Mann, translated by Richard Graves, 1958; The Two Faces of Hermes, 1962, and Understanding Mann, 1966, both by Ronald D. Miller; Essays on Mann by Georg Lukács, translated by Stanley Mitchell, 1964; Mann by J. P. Stern, 1967; Mann: A Chronicle of His Life by Hans Bürgin and Hans-Otto Mayer, translated by Eugene Dobson, 1969; Mann: Profile and Perspectives by André von Gronicka, 1970; Mann: A Critical Study by Reginald J. Hollingdale, 1971; Mann: The Uses of Tradition by Terence J. Reed, 1974; Unwritten Memories by Katia Mann, edited by Elisabeth Plessen and Michael Mann, translated by Hunter and Hildegarde Hannum, 1975; Montage and Motif in Mann's "Tristan" by Frank W. Young, 1975; The Devil in Mann's "Doktor Faustus" and Paul Valéry's "Mon Faust" by Lucie Pfaff, 1976; Mann: The Devil's Advocate by T. E. Apter, 1978; The Preparation of the Future: Techniques of Anticipation in the Novels of Theodor Fontane and Mann by Gertrude Michielsen, 1978; The Brothers Mann: The Lives of Heinrich and Mann, 1871-1950 and 1875-1955 by Nigel Hamilton, 1978; The Ascetic Artist: Prefiguratios in Mann's "Der Tod in Venedig" by E. L. Marson, 1979; Mann: A Study by Martin Swales, 1980; Mann: The Making of an Artist 1875-1911 by Richard Winston, 1981; Brother Artist: A Psychological Study of Mann's Fiction by James R. McWilliams, 1983; Myth and Politics in Mann's Joseph und seine Brüder by Raymond Cunningham, 1985; Mann's Recantation of Faust: "Doctor Faustus" in the Context of Mann's Relationship to Goethe by David J. T. Ball, 1986; Mann edited by Harold Bloom, 1986; Sympathy for the Abyss: A Study in the Novel of German Modernism: Kafka, Broch, Musil and Mann by Stephen D. Dowden, 1986; Mann the Magician; or, the Good Verus the Interesting by Alan F. Bance, 1987; Vision and Revision: The Concept of Inspiration in Mann's Fiction by Karen Draybeck Vogt, 1987; Critical Essays on Mann edited by Inta M. Ezergailis, 1988; Mann's Short Fiction: An Intellectual Biography by Esther H. Léser, edited by Mitzi Brunsdale, 1989; Mann and His Family by Marcel Reich-Ranicki, translated by Ralph Manheim, 1989; Music, Love, Death, and Mann's Doctor Faustus by John F. Fetzer, 1990; Mann's Doctor Faustus: A Novel at the Margin of Modernism edited by Herbert Lehnert and Peter C. Pfeiffer, 1991; Approaches to Teaching Mann's Death in Venice and Other ShortFiction edited by Jeffrey B. Berlin, 1993; Thomas Mann's Images of Women: Dispositions So Close Akin to Art by Lois Peters Agnew, 1995; Thomas Mann: Eros and Literature by Anthony Heilbut, 1995; Thomas Mann's Death in Venice by Boria Sax, 1996; Thomas Mann: The Uses of Tradition by T. J. Reed, 1996; The Dangers of Interpretation: Art and Artists in Henry James and Thomas Mann by Ilona Treitel, 1996; History, Myth, and Music: Thomas Mann's Timely Fiction by Susan von Rohr Scaff, 1997.

* * *

Thomas Mann, renowned as the author of Buddenbrooks, Der Zauberberg (The Magic Mountain), and Doktor Faustus, is arguably better known for these novels than his short fiction. Although his reputation as a story writer rests on a handful of early masterpieces ("Tristan," "Tonio Kröger," "Death in Venice"), Mann's output of more than 30 works spans six decades—from the prose sketch "Vision" (1893) to his final novella Die Betrogene (The Black Swan) in 1953.

Until the appearance of Buddenbrooks Mann devoted his energies exclusively to short fiction, producing a series of cynical cameo portraits of eccentrics and artistic dilettantes whose background very often prefigured that of Hanno Buddenbrook, the sensitive final member of a declining merchant family. A master of psychological character dissection, Mann created a whole gallery of fragile, introspective misfits and failures unable to compete with their successful counterparts in the Hanseatic trading world; invariably struggling to survive in a society whose Protestant work ethic and unquestioningly healthy normality tended to marginalize such outsiders, the characters are assailed not only by corrosive self-doubt but often by a profound sense of metaphysical inadequacy. Even when their tales do not end in death or suicide, Mann's early protagonists usually attain little more than a precarious protection against a world they continue to shun and fear. Whether they are artistes manqués (Spinell in "Tristan," the unnamed hero of "Der Bajazzo" ["The Dilettante"]), unsuccessful in love ("Little Herr Friedemann," Hofmann in "The Will to Happiness"), unable to get on even with a dog ("Tobias Mindernickel"), or maladjusted to their North German environments ("Tonio Kröger"), such figures are given to viewing their predicaments as symptomatic of life's destructiveness and, on the whole, seem to derive little consolation from any compensatory cultivation of the spiritual realm.

Physically and psychologically crippled, the hero of "Little Herr Friedemann" (1897) is typical of Mann's early characters. Having at an early age renounced all hope of love and rejecting the bourgeois concerns of those around him, Friedemann establishes a self-insulating lifestyle, only to have his world shattered when he falls in love with Gerda, a virago-like newcomer to his small town. He rapidly goes to pieces, no longer able to bear the burdens of a reality here represented, as so often in Mann's fiction, by the challenge of love, and he commits suicide. Against the backdrop of such a bleak world (in some part influenced by Schopenhauer's pessimistic philosophy), Mann offers an unsympathetic treatment—if not satirical demolition—of fashionable fin-de-siècle decadence.

Gradually emerging in the early fiction, especially from "Tristan" onwards, is a fundamental contrast between the normal citizen ("der Bürger")—biologically robust, successful in the practical world, and able to relate socially—and the sickly introspective central figures with their artistic inclinations. It is a polarity representing the realms of life and spirit, often underscored by leitmotifs, the most salient being the symbolism of blond hair and blue eyes depicting the carefree "Bürger," and dark hair, brown eyes, and pronounced veins to suggest the artist-figures. (A characteristic of much of Mann's writing is the assumption that bourgeois normality goes hand in hand with health, and consequently characters representing the realm of the spirit and creative potential axiomatically manifest symptoms of either physical or psychological sickness or an amalgam of both.) Yet despite such a predilection for the schematic and the typical, even Mann's early writings rejoice in an amazingly fertile set of illustrative variations on a limited number of themes—the "Bürger" versus the artist, the conjunction of sickness and spirituality, and the decline of the "Bürgertum" due to increased introspection and aesthetic proclivities—subject matter that remains the author's stock-in-trade for virtually his entire creative life.

With his first story of substance, "Tristan," Mann continues to explore the dualism of spirit and life, but now by applying an evenhanded form of irony that treats the representatives of both camps with an admixture of sympathy and criticism. Spinell, the artist-protagonist, is thus presented as more sensitive than those around him, even if he may cosmeticize reality and be of dubious artistic integrity; but we are nevertheless made aware that there are moments in this love story (a burlesque version of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde) where he looks impossibly narcissistic and unworldly when set alongside the pragmatic "Bürger"-husband of Frau Klöterjahn, the delicate patient with whom he falls in love. Such calculatingly ironic presentation is the predominant feature of Mann's stories from this point onwards—a narrative stance whose sophistication increases beyond the early parochial treatment of artist-figures in a North German context to the more political material that emerges with the depiction of Gustav von Aschenbach's downfall and its cultural-political implications in "Death in Venice" (1912).

With the hypnotist Cipolla in Mario und der Zauberer ("Mario and the Magician") Mann goes on to create a powerful image of the totalitarianism threatening Europe at the time and of the complicity of those acquiescing to such a change in climate. Partly a continuation of the artist-theme from the early fiction, Mann's political parable gives a sense of the seductive hold of early fascism and the xenophobia gripping the Italian seaside resort where the German narrator and his family are staying. Through a bravura account of Cipolla's performance Mann satirizes the irrational politics of the day. If Cipolla is Mann's response to Europe's cult of the mesmerizing leader-figure, the German family witnessing these events clearly represent, in their vacillations, those caught up in the mood of the moment, despite their better instincts. Gone now are the intricate layers of intertextuality and elaborate symbol-laden patterns, the hall-marks of "Tonio Kröger" and "Death in Venice"; the writing has become less convoluted, and the parable dimension more pronounced.

After "Mario" Mann's energies in exile were divided between the fight against national socialism and the need to complete his two remaining major novels: the Joseph-tetralogy and Doktor Faustus. His few subsequent sallies into short fiction ("The Law," a humorous account of Moses bringing down the tablets from the mountain, and The Black Swan, an account of an aging woman's Roman spring, shattered by the discovery that she has a fatal illness) lack the conviction and representativeness of the early stories or the novels. As his sweep became more epic, Mann evidently regarded the short story as a lesser genre, more appropriate to the anecdotal and the whimsical than it had been for him up to the start of the 1930s.

—John J. White

See the essays on "Death in Venice" and "Tonio Kröger."

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Mann, (Paul) Thomas." Reference Guide to Short Fiction. . Encyclopedia.com. 12 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Mann, (Paul) Thomas." Reference Guide to Short Fiction. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 12, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/mann-paul-thomas

"Mann, (Paul) Thomas." Reference Guide to Short Fiction. . Retrieved November 12, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/mann-paul-thomas

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.