Birthday: June 6, 1875
Nationality: German, Swiss
Died At Age: 80
Sun Sign: Gemini
Also Known As: Paul Thomas Mann
Born Country: Germany
Born in: Lübeck, Germany
Famous as: Novelist, Short Story Writer
Quotes By Thomas Mann
Nobel Laureates In Literature
Spouse/Ex-: Katia Pringsheim
father: Thomas Johann Heinrich Mann
mother: Júlia da Silva Bruhns
siblings: Carla Mann, Heinrich Mann, Julia Mann, Viktor Mann
Died on: August 12, 1955
place of death: Zurich, Switzerland
education: Technical University of Munich, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich
1929 - Nobel Prize in Literature
1949 - Goethe Prize
Thomas Mann was a Nobel Prize winning German novelist, short story writer, and philanthropist. He had to flee his country, never to return, due to the impositions on free press by Hitler. His ironic epic novels and novellas are known for their insight into the psychology of the artist and the intellectuals. He used modernised German and Biblical stories along with the ideas of Goethe, Nietzsche and Schopenhauer. With the outbreak of World War II, Mann escaped to Switzerland and from there, he immigrated to the United States. He hated school and could not meet up to its requirements till the end of his schooling. According to him, education should be acquired in a free and autodidactic manner, and not under the pressures of official instruction. From the beginning of nineteenth century, his writings were translated by H T Lowe Porter. He was a member of the Hanseatic Mann family and portrayed his family and class in the novel Buddenbrooks. He wrote diaries during his lifetime, and these were kept sealed even after his death. They were unsealed almost twenty years after his death. They revealed his struggles with bisexuality, the reflections of which could be found in his writings. His older brother, Heinrich Mann, was also a radical writer.
Childhood & Early Life
Paul Thomas Mann was born on June 6, 1875 in Free City of Lübeck, German Empire. He was the second son of Thomas Johann Mann and Julia da Silva Bruhns.
His father was a senator and grain merchant who followed the Lutheran religion. His mother was a Brazilian of German and Portuguese ancestry and followed the Roman Catholic faith.
He completed his schooling from the science division of Lubeck Gymnasium School with great difficulty, and then spent time at the Ludwig Maximillians University of Munich and Technical University of Munich.
He studied history, economics, art history and literature at the university to educate himself about the happenings around, in preparation for his career in journalism.
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Mann lived the major part of his adult life in Munich. He started his career with the South German Fire Insurance Company, after the family grain business was liquidated, following his father’s death.
He started his writing career when he began writing for simplicissimus. His first published work was the short story ‘Little Mr.Friedemann’ in 1898.
In 1901, the epic Buddenbrooks was published and gave him popular recognition. The inspiration for the story was his family. It paints the picture of the decline of a merchant family over three generations.
The tetralogy ‘Joseph and his brothers’ is the largest and most noteworthy of Mann’s works. It is an epic novel which was written over a period of nineteen years.
In 1903, the volume of a collection of short stories ‘Tristan’ was published. Of this, the North-South artist’s novella ‘Tonio Kroger’ is considered the most distinguished.
‘Death in Venice’, published in 1912, revealed his struggles with his bisexuality. The obsession of the character Aschenbach for the 14 year old Polish boy Tadzio was, but a personification of his frustrations.
‘The Magic Mountain’ in 1924 is the story of an engineering student who visits his ailing cousin. The character confronts medicine and encounters the ideological discontent of contemporary civilisation.
The novel ‘Doctor Faustus’ (1947) was based on the composer Adrian Leverkuhn and the corruption of the German culture, preceding the years of World War II.
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His first collection of stories ‘Der Kleine Herr Friedemann’ was published in 1898. The success and popularity of his first publication motivated him to write more novellas.
When in Rome, he began to write the novel ‘Buddenbrooks’ which was published in 1901. This is the all time favourite of the German public - even today over a million copies are in circulation.
Awards & Achievements
Mann was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in the year 1929. This was in recognition of his achievement with the epic ‘Buddenbrooks’ and the ‘The Magic Mountain’.
He was conferred with an honorary doctor's degree by the University of Bonn in 1919. His hometown honoured him with the title ‘Professor’ on the occasion of the city anniversary.
Personal Life & Legacy
He was in love with Katia Pringsheim, daughter of a wealthy, secular, Jewish family. He married her in 1905, and the couple had six children. She later joined the Lutheran church.
He travelled a lot and went to places like Spain, Warsaw and London. He was invited to be the guest of honour of the newly established PEN club in London
He was suffering from atherosclerosis and died on August 12, 1955 due to its complications, in a hospital in Zurich. He was buried in Kilchberg.
This writer was the first member to be nominated to the new literary division of the Prussian Academy of Arts.
This German writer was known for his bisexuality as much as for his literary works, and his biographers have never failed to mention this fact.