A Companion to the Works of Thomas Mann

A Companion to the Works of Thomas Mann

Edited by Herbert Lehnert, Eva Wessell

Sixteen new, carefully focused essays on the prose works of one of the great writers of modernity.
Thomas Mann is among the greatest of German prose writers, and was the first German novelist to reach a wide English-speaking readership since Goethe. Novels such as Buddenbrooks, The Magic Mountain, and Doktor Faustus attest to his mastery of subtle, distanced irony, while novellas such as Death in Venice reveal him at the height of his mastery of language. In addition to fresh insights about these best-known works of Mann, this volume treats less-often-discussed works such as Joseph and His Brothers, Lotte in Weimar, and Felix Krull, as well as his political writings and essays. Mann himself was a paradox: his role as family-father was both refuge and façade; his love of Germany was matched by his contempt for its having embraced Hitler. While in exile during the Nazi period, he functioned as the prime representative of the "good" Germany in the fight against fascism, and he has often been remembered this way in English-speaking lands. But a new view of Mann is emerging half a century after his death: a view of him as one of the great writers of a modernity understood as extending into our 21st century. This volume provides sixteen essays by American and European specialists. They demonstrate the relevance of his writings for our time, making particular use of the biographical material that is now available.
Contributors: Ehrhard Bahr, Manfred Dierks, Werner Frizen, Clayton Koelb, Helmut Koopmann, Wolfgang Lederer, Hannelore Mundt, Peter Pütz, Jens Rieckmann, Hans Joachim Sandberg, Egon Schwarz, and Hans Vaget.
Herbert Lehnert is Research Professor, and Eva Wessell is lecturer in Humanities, both at the University of California, Irvine.

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Table of Contents

Thomas Mann's Beginnings and Buddenbrooks - Herbert Lehnert
Art and Society in Thomas Mann's Early Novellas - Ehrhard Bahr
Love in Society: Thomas Mann's Early Stories - Wolfgang Lederer
"Death in Venice" -
"Mein 'Friedrich'--das ist was Anderes": Thomas Mann's Unwritten Novel about Frederick the Great, King of Prussia - Hans-Joachim Sandberg
Magic and Reflections: Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain and His War Essays - Eva Wessell
Thomas Mann's Autobiographical Stories - Dr. Helmut Koopmann
Joseph and His Brothers - Dr. Peter Puetz
Lotte in Weimar - Werner Frizen
Thomas Mann's Late Politics - Dr. Manfred Dierks
"German" Music and German Catastrophe: A Re-Reading of Doktor Faustus - Hans Rudolf Vaget
The Gaze of Love, Longing, and Desire in Thomas Mann's "The Transposed Heads" and "The Black Swan" - Jens Rieckmann
Felix Krull - Egon Schwarz
Female Identities and Autobiographical Impulses in Thomas Mann's Work - Hannelore Mundt
Betrayed or Not Betrayed: A Testament? - Herbert Lehnert
Thomas Mann's Comedies - Herbert Lehnert


Lehnert and Wessell, themselves accomplished Mann scholars, assembled a stellar team of specialists from three countries for this collection...offers a wealth of insights. Essential. CHOICE

[The book gives] reliable and readable accounts of Mann's works. It also introduces readers to current scholarship on those works. It thus accomplishes exactly what it is meant to do. It does so, moreover, in admirable breadth and depth. MONATSHEFTE

This collection of essays forms part of a Camden House series in which 27 volumes have appeared since 1999 and which will eventually provide a panorama of the accepted peaks of German and Austrian literature from Hartmann von Aue to Thomas Bernhard and beyond. Almost without exception, the contributions provide good, general introductions to the texts under discussion and new insights for the specialist, or both. MLR

Together with familiar facts well known to the reader of Thomas Mann one also finds quite original insights.... This work is of such richness that it would be useful translated into German to make it available to a larger public. ETUDES GERMANIQUES

[A] general but solid introduction to Mann's work, with an interpretive bent that is strongly biographical. Their readership would thus be scholars, students, and readers who are newcomers to the world of Mann.... The collection's essays offer a comprehensive introduction to Mann's life and works.... [S]olid, informative pieces. SEMINAR

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