Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Thomas Mann

This is the brilliant German novelist, essayist, and anti-Nazi patriot, Thomas Mann.  Married to a Jewish woman, but gay, he struggled throughout most of his life with his sexuality.  When he sought asylum outside Germany in 1933, he joked about having several reasons to leave.  Everyone understood about his Jewish wife and political distaste for Hitler, but his homosexuality didn't get mentioned.  He managed to father six (!) children, three of whom turned out to be gay.  Lynes photographed him in Hollywood in 1946, and had figured out from his writing that he was homosexual.



  1. I think most gay men would associate Thomas Mann with Visconti's adaptation of his 1912 novella Death in Venice (Morte a Venezia) with an incidental score of Gustav Mahler's third and fifth symphonies. However, in 1933 he published The Tales of Jacob (US title, Joseph and His Brothers), the first part of his four-part novel on the biblical Joseph, which drew some very interesting inferences from the Hebrew text of the Book of Genesis. It seems, perhaps, that having brought up three gay children, some of these insights may have been inspired by his own parenthood. The story of Jacob is perhaps one of the most enduring in popularity of all biblical stories and Thomas Mann's treatment of it is fascinating and I cannot recommend it more.

    1. We read Mann (A Man and His Dog) at University in my advanced German class. Until then, I only had heard the name. Very good, but not one of my favorite authors.