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Reflections of a Nonpolitical Man

Author: Thomas Mann and Walter D. Morris  

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A classic, controversial book exploring German culture and identity by the author of Death in Venice and The Magic Mountain , now back in print.

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Paperback

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Summary

A classic, controversial book exploring German culture and identity by the author of Death in Venice and The Magic Mountain , now back in print.

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Description

A classic, controversial book exploring German culture and identity by the author of Death in Venice and The Magic Mountain , now back in print. When the Great War broke out in August 1914, Thomas Mann, like so many people on both sides of the conflict, was exhilarated. Finally, the era of decadence that he had anatomized in Death in Venice had come to an end; finally, there was a cause worth fighting and even dying for, or, at least when it came to Mann himself, writing about. Mann dropped the short story he was working on in order to compose a full-throated paean to the German cause. Soon after, his elder brother and lifelong rival, the novelist Heinrich Mann, responded with a no less withering denunciation. Thomas took it as an almost unforgivable stab in the back. The bitter dispute between the brothers would swell into the strange, tortured literary monument that is Reflections of a Nonpolitical Man , a book that is as blind as it is troubled and full of curious insight. Mann worked on it and added to it throughout the war years, publishing it only when German defeat was inevitable, and these reflections are in a sense a first draft for his later explorations of German destiny in The Magic Mountain and Doktor Faustus . His effort to hold on to a notion of common good that lies beyond politics in the face of growing and inconceivable political disaster is all the more thought-provoking for being fatally flawed. The NYRB Classics edition includes these two additional essays by Mann: "Thoughts in Wartime (1914), translated by Mark Lilla and Cosima Mattner; and "On the German Republic" (1922) translated by Lawrence Rainey.

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Critic Reviews

“"Without the impassioned patriotic document it is impossible to see Mann's artistic and political development in the right perspective." --Erich Heller "At long last, a magnificent full translation of Mann's untimely masterpiece . . . an obviously complex and profound work." -- Choice "Nationalist, patriotic, conservative, and spiritually autobiographical . . . it is a strange, enormously, clever (also foolish) and (in an alarming sense) fascinating piece, of sustained, often anguished and sometimes contorted eloquence." --D. J. Enright, Times Literary Supplement "Reflections helps us to understand the problem that has not gone away: the dilemma of the intellectual (the writer, the artist) in politics." --Walter Laqueur, The New York Times Book Review”

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About the Author

Thomas Mann (1875-1955) was a novelist, critic, and essayist who received the 1929 Nobel Prize in Literature. Born in Germany, he fled to Switzerland and then to California after Hitler's rise to power in 1933, returning to Switzerland in 1952. His most influential works include Death in Venice and The Magic Mountain . Walter D. Morris (1929-2001) was a translator and professor of German literature at Iowa State University. Mark Lilla is a historian and professor of humanities at Columbia University. New York Review Books has published his The Shipwrecked Mind: On Political Reaction and The Reckless Mind: Intellectuals in Politics . He lives in New York City.

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Product Details

Publisher
The New York Review Of Books, Inc | NYRB Classics
Published
18th May 2021
Pages
468
ISBN
9781681375311
$44.68
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