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Thomas Mann

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Thomas Mann

*  1875 Lübeck
† 1955 Zürich


On 6 June 1875, Thomas Mann was born in Lübeck, where he also went to school. In 1893 his family moved to Munich. After serving an internship at the South German Fire Assurance Bank, Thomas Mann enrolled at Munich Technical University in 1894 to audit classes although he intended to become a journalist. In 1894 his first text, "Gefallen", was published. In 1896/97 he began to work on the novel "Buddenbrooks", which was published in 1901 and was at first unsuccessful. The second edition of 1903, however, earned Thomas Mann a reputation as an author. That same year also saw publication of the Mann novella "Tonio Kröger".
From 1899 Thomas Mann was a reader at "Simplicissimus" magazine. In 1904 he met Katharina (Katia) Pringsheim and they married in 1905. Although aware that he was homosexual, Thomas Mann only gave vent to his true sexual inclination in his diaries and literary works, deciding to lead a conventional mainstream life with Katia. They had six children. It took the author until 1924 - eleven years in all - to finish his novel "Der Zauberberg" ("The Magic Mountain"), which is one of the great works of world literature. Thomas Mann was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1929, with "Buddenbrooks", an equally important work, mentioned in the citation.
In 1933 the Manns set out on travels throughout Europe and did not return to Germany after the National Socialists came to power. Since they deprived Thomas Mann of his German nationality (1936), the Manns remained in exile permanently. From 1933 until 1943 Thomas Mann worked on the tetralogy "Joseph and His Brothers". After several extended trips to the US, Thomas Mann and Katia settled in Princeton in 1938, where the writer was a guest lecturer at the university." From 1940 until 1945 Thomas Mann addressed the German public in monthly radio broadcasts. In 1944 he became an American citizen.
After the war Thomas Mann refused to return to Germany. In 1947 he again traveled throughout Europe but returned to the US, where he settled at Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles. His novel "Dr. Faustus" was published in 1947. Thomas Mann finally consented to visit Germany in 1949 but his feelings for his former country remained ambivalent. In 1952 Thomas Mann settled permanently at Erlenbach near Zurich, Switzerland. He began on "Die Bekenntnisse des Hochstaplers Felix Krull" ("The Confessions of Felix Krull") in 1954 but the book was never completed. Thomas Mann died in Zurich on 12 August 1955.


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