German literature was many times in a revolution. Society once struggled to recognize a genius like Thomas Mann. Prejudice, politics and the human fear in front of the unknown.
Phenomenal people with great minds and new ideas come in all generations.
Thomas Mann is surely one of that kind. German’s past generations count many famous writers, storytellers, and novelists. Friedrich Schiller, E.T.A Hoffman, Gunter Grass, and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe are just some of them. Their works are unforgettable.
Where I am, there is Germany. I carry my German culture in meThomas Mann answers to reporters in New York in February 1938
Thomas Mann, a German short story writer, essayist, philanthropist, and novelist too. His influence survived the oppression of the Nazi-regime. He never truly stopped living among the German nation, wherever he was.
Thomas Mann’s beginning and family
The father, Thomas Johann Heinrich Mann was a senator and a grain merchant. His mother, Julia da Silva-Bruhns, was Brazilian women of Portuguese and German provenance.
He was born in Lubeck, Germany, a traditionally protestant region. His mother was a Roman Catholic. Although he was baptized into his father’s Lutheran religion.
What will bring Thomas to Munich?
Unfortunately, the death of his father in 1891 is one of the main reasons why that happened.
His father’s trading company came to its end after this tragic event. And because of that, a whole family moved to Munich. Destiny is a nonwritten path and maybe this was something necessary on his road becoming a writer.
This extravagant man’s works caught the interests even in the world of psychology and the human intellect. This noticeable since his day one as a writer.
His novellas and epic novels with an ironic tone are well-known among actual writers and academic careers. His heritage will accompany literature for many generations. Part of this heritage is surely his analyzes and critiques about the German and European souls in general. Typical for his late works are the dogmatical and mythological subjects.
He is famous for his position about the ideas of popular writers. Some of them are Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Artur Schopenhauer.
His first novel Buddenbrooks portrays his class and family. What I must not forget to mention is that he was a member of the Hanseatic Mann family.
The family Mann had truly notorious as writers. His older brother, for example, called Heinrich Mann is also well-known as a writer. One interesting aspect is that Thomas Mann was the father of 6 children. Three of them, Erika Mann, Klaus Mann, and Golo Mann became significant German writers too.
Thomas Mann’s school days
Thomas Mann started his school days in Lübeck. Like Einstein, his teachers misinterpreted his geniality. He declared many times how he disliked the school years.
His eclectic interests after school inspired him to new areas of interest. After that, he managed to attend the Ludwig Maximillian’s University of Munich. His presence at the Technical University of Munich prepared him for his journalism career. He was studying economics, history, art history, and literature here.
Later on, Thomas has been working at the South German Fire Insurance Company in 1894-95. And soon after, his first short book will get to its shining. In the year of 1898, he publishes ‘Little Mr. Friedemann’. Seven years later, Thomas Mann married Katia Pringsheim.
He had a major personal conflict with the raise from Hitler to power.
He fleed to Switzerland for many reasons. One of these was the family his wife, who was partially jews. After that, he moved to the USA because World Warr II started but returned to Switzerland in 1952.
German literature gains with Buddenbrooks novel a new path
This first novel by Thomas Mann had a big significance in German and international literature. Thomas Mann publishes this book in 1901 when he was twenty-six years old. This book is being marked as a success after its second edition publication two years after. For English language readers, it became available in 1924 when the book got translated by Helen Tracy Lowe-Porter.
Thomas Mann started to write it in 1897 and published in 1901.
In this book, he describes his point of view from society and conflicts in a new environment. Partially can be understood as the conflicts between the artist’s worlds and businessman.
The biggest success of this book is not its two editions, of course. With this book, Thomas Mann will be nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1929. This is the highest-ranked award that can be given to any writer.
Buddenbrooks is certainly Thomas Mann’s most popular novel and it will remain that forever. In Germany, it is valued for its intimate portrait of 19th-century German bourgeois life.
Thomas Mann’s homosexuality
One of his central concerns was to accept and live with is his homosexuality. Although he concluded a marriage and got children, that couldn’t cover his true nature.
We can find the first signs of his homosexuality in Anthony Heilbut’s biography. He uncovered his nature and his feelings about the same gender.
Sources in his works
There is an anecdote about Thomas reacting to the angelic figure of the Polish ten years boy. Also, his personal diary can give us some conclusions too.
Based on the affirmations in those, is easy to understand his attraction for his own son. Especially when Klaus Mann was thirteen years old.
He will keep writing about his attraction to his son in his diary though. It will not be the rare case when Thomas write some erotic compliments on his son’s looking.
In addition, there is a letter where Thomas Mann wrote to Carl Maria Weber about his feeling. He was constantly focused on Klaus’s body and his appearance.
It is known that Thomas Mann in younger years had feelings for his friend Paul Ehrenberg. This case will have an impact on his potential marriage with an English woman, Mary Smith, in 1901.
It happened again to him in 1950. He met the nineteen years old waiter in Grand Hotel Dolder, Franz Westermeier. This young man brought him to some depressive moments. Thomas Mann compared himself to Michelangelo in the Renaissance in the poetry about Tomasso Cavalieri.
He denied that his novels ever had autobiographical components but he unsealing of his diaries speaks for itself. That will be enough to convince everyone in his true nature.
Style of his writing
Every classic writer has a recognizable style of writing. Like the singers that are recognizable for their tone of the voice. Thomas Mann’s writing style contains a remarkable amount of irony and satire, but humor too.
His style will gain its final form after the completion of his work ‘Buddenbrooks’. On one level there is a deep and meaningful approach. On the other are even deeper levels of representation. That’s how the author will write throughout his whole career.
His writing is honored all around the world. Not only in Germany. And that can be convincing enough about his writing style. He will remain acknowledged as one of the most renowned and greatest writers of the 20th century.
His life ended in a tragic way. He fought with tuberculosis was long and predictable. He died on the 12th of August in 1955 in Zurich. Kilchberg is the place where he got buried.