Biography of Thomas Mann (1875-1955)

German writer born in Lübeck on June 6, 1875 and died in Kilchberg bei Zürich on 12 August 1955.

After liquidating the business of his father, Thomas, at the age of eighteen, emigrated to Munich together with his widowed mother. Not completed school and nor a volunteer at an insurance company that, with the assurance that granted having a small annual income, began to devote himself to literature, and undertook a journey to Italy together with his brother Heinrich between 1895 and 1897. In 1905 he/she married Katja Pringsheim. In spite of its growing success and your tireless creativity, Thomas Mann fell in a series of ongoing crises. The first world war dragged it in the confusion of the times, despite the political indifference that had shown at all times. In addition, for many years maintained a fierce rivalry in the literary field with his brother Heinrich, which ended in 1922 with the Mann turn from an ideology of conservative nature toward the defense of the ideals of the Weimar Republic, so, until the end of the Republic, the two brothers were formed in representatives of the literary life in Germany. In 1929 Thomas Mann received the Nobel Prize for literature for his novel Buddenbrooks (Buddenbrooks, 1901). In 1933 he/she began his exile that took him through Europe to the United States. There, in California, a new house was built and he/she believed to have found their second homeland, but American political reality made him to disabuse very soon and, in the end, ended up returning again to Europe. Their experiences of all these years of exile have been collected in his diaries, which describes moments of everyday life that otherwise would be now unknown. However, Mann burned in 1945 some of its oldest daily, from the early years before the exile.

His literary debut took place with the volume of the novels Der kleine Herr Friedemann (the little Mr Friedemann, 1898). The texts containing had originally been published in magazines, but his Edition in book form was which introduced him to. In this volume develops the theme of the search for home, a constant that already the work of Mann has not disappeared. This theme attached to elements such as game characters, almost naturalistic accuracy in description of people and places, the development of an almost symbolic action on the basis of a psychological or philosophical idea, also comprise the novel Buddenbrooks. At a time in which the author elaborated literally just those things and situations that were more pleasant, that affected him personally and were part of his life, it became a topic already abandoned literarily, decadence, the centerpiece of the novel that would make him worthy of the Nobel Prize. Even the genus used to do so, the saga, had disappeared also did time in the German literature, but not in the Scandinavian, which, undoubtedly exerted a final influence in the conception of this novel. Developing literary memories of his childhood and his youth, Mann conceived a novel social capital importance, since it brings together not only a variety of literary genres, very expensive to German literature (the biography, the saga, the novel of formation, among others), but also the presentation of psychological character of characters and events, its development meditated, to the point of turning it into an exemplary work of contemporary fiction thatHowever, get connected with the realistic literature itself. Over four generations, relates the fall of a family of the bourgeoisie of Lübeck and his company.

His next publication was Tristan (Tristan, 1903), again a volume containing six short novels. The story that gives title already contains motifs that will develop later in the magical mountain, although it continues to be a composite text following the text of Wagner. However, the novel which gives character to the volume is Tonio Kröger, an early, highly appreciated by the Mann work. Collect it the problem of the bourgeois artist and introduces a point of reflection that gives it a distinct entity from the rest of the stories that make up the volume. Königliche Hoheit (Royal Highness, 1909) continues to maintain the same character of Wagner's Tristan, because you are unable to overcome it. However, Der Tod in Venedig (death in Venice, 1912) represents a turning point in the literary production of Thomas Mann. The novel is composed of almost antagonistic way to Nietzsche's theories about the Apollonian and the Dionysian, according to the scheme of classical tragedy, and charged grounds related to gay eroticism, the degradation of the individual and the problem of the gradient artist, themes all of them that the author lived closely in his younger years.

A satirical reply to the Venetian narration is the novel Der Zauberberg (the Magic Mountain, 1924), a work which Mann conceived and launched in 1913. But the ups and downs of the war made him delay the drafting of the text, as well as vary substantially the initial project into the history of Hans Castorp, a protagonist that is rooted in the tradition of Wilhelm Meister of Goethe, which Mann serves to deconstruct the German genre par excellence: the novel of formation. The history of the world, its evolution, is collected through the many characters who populate the mountain; the world is the hospital in which Hans visits his sick cousin and which has just finally he/she residing also. Magic Mountain is the attempt of Mann narratively connect with traditional genres of German literature by fusing them with the social novel of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. Not only prose, of a drama so rooted in the German tradition as Faust, reminiscences and allusions are found here. Despite not ceases to be a novel of time, mainly because it includes the period between the years 1907 and 1914 with all its political and cultural events. In 2005, the year of the fiftieth anniversary of his death, was published a new version of this work that recovering deleted texts.

The tetralogy Joseph und seine Brüder (José and his brothers, 1933-1943) responds in its origin to the project for a Novella of dramatic structure. The first novel of the cycle is the titled Die Geschichte Jakobs (history of Jakob, 1933), in which the author obviously still not perceived the dimensions that would take the cycle. The second, Der junge Joseph (the young José, 1933), presupposed already confidently a continuation and, therefore, a trilogy on the subject. Mann published Joseph in Ägypten (José in Egypt) in 1936 and Joseph der Ernahrer (José, the Sustainer of his people) in 1943. The common thread of the tetralogy was, according to the author, build a replica to the Wagner tetralogy about the ring of the Nibelung. The style of the work is that of a Chronicle in which cited the biblical way, reviews held over millennia are entered and alternating conventionally between the dialog, the description and narration. Also experienced with rhetorical figures as assonances, Alliterations, rhymes, etc., to bring the text closer to the Wagnerian musicality, as well as a full lexicon of archaisms and neologisms which brings the reader to the language of that time. However, the capital idea is the connection between myth and psychology, an explanation that Freud is also implied in his speech way und die Zukunft (Freud and the future, 1936), pronounced in Vienna on the occasion of the 80 th anniversary of the Austrian scientist. The work develops the process of liberation of the collective myths experienced by the family of Abraham and their descendants.

Also Lotte in Weimar (Charlotte in Weimar, 1939) began as a short novel, intended as a brief parenthesis to rest between the drafting of the third and the fourth volume of the tetralogy. But his diaries reads that in that period two issues became a constant which was not abandoning him and even endangering the conclusion of the tetralogy: Goethe and Faust. The novel combines the traditional technique of novel framework with the traditional scheme of comedy: the reader not only faces here at Charlotte, the beloved of Werther, but own Goethe. Your project's recreation of the faustica plot came to light in 1947: Doktor Faustus (Doktor Faust). The main character is a musician: Adrian Leverkuhn and the life is told here by a friend. The novel is a great parody of the national socialism and everything that revolved around it.

In his latest novel, Bekenntnisse des Hochstaplers Felix Krull (confessions of the scammer Félix Krull, 1954), Mann returns to a subject already dealt on numerous occasions, as the eternal problem of the artist develops again in conflict with the social environment.

I H.