Paul Thomas Mann (June 6, 1875 – August 12, 1955) was a German novelist, social critic, philanthropist, short story writer, and essayist.
Born in Lübeck, Germany, Thomas Mann is known for his novels and stories that allow insight into the psychology of the artist. His works, especially early ones, were written under the deep influence of the philosophers Schopenhauer and Nietzsche and the composer Wagner.
In 1929, Mann was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, for “principally for his great novel, Buddenbrooks, which has won steadily increased recognition as one of the classic works of contemporary literature”.
Thomas Mann’s significant works are Buddenbrooks(1901), Death in Venice(1912), The Magic Mountain(1924), Joseph and his Brothers(1933 – 1943), and Doctor Faustus(1947).
Every reasonable human being should be a moderate Socialist.As quoted in The New York Times (June 18, 1950)
Solitude produces originality, bold and astonishing beauty, poetry. But solitude also produces perverseness, the disproportianate, the absurd and the forbidden.Death in Venice (1912)
All interest in disease and death is only another expression of interest in life.The Magic Mountain (1924)
In books we never find anything but ourselves. Strangely enough, that always gives us great pleasure, and we say the author is a genius.Letter (1917), As quoted in Thomas Mann and his family by Marcel Reich-Ranicki
Order and simplification are the first steps toward the mastery of a subject — the actual enemy is the unknown.The Magic Mountain (1924)
What is success? It is an inner, an indescribable force, resourcefulness, power of vision; a consciousness that I am, by my mere existence, exerting pressure on the movement of life about me.Buddenbrooks (1901)
A man lives not only his personal life, as an individual, but also, consciously or unconsciously, the life of his epoch and his contemporaries.The Magic Mountain (1924)
Life is not the means for the achievement of an esthetic ideal of perfection; on the contrary, the work is an ethical symbol of life.Reflections of a Non-Political Man (1918)
A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.Essays of Three Decades (1947)
The only religious way to think of death is as part and parcel of life; to regard it, with the understanding and the emotions, as the the inviolable condition of life.The Magic Mountain (1924)
A solitary, unused to speaking of what he sees and feels, has mental experiences which are at once more intense and less articulate than those of a gregarious man.Death in Venice (1912)
War is only a cowardly escape from the problems of peace.As quoted in This I Believe (1954), by Edward R. Murrow, p. 16
Genius is a form of the life force that is deeply versed in illness, that both draws creatively from it and creates through it.Doctor Faustus (1947)
There are so many different kinds of stupidity, and cleverness is one of the worst.The Magic Mountain (1924)
The myth is the foundation of life; it is the timeless schema, the pious formula into which life flows when it reproduces its traits out of the unconscious.Freud and the Future (1937)
An art whose medium is language will always show a high degree of critical creativeness, for speech is itself a critique of life.Speech at the Prussian Academy of Art in Berlin (January 22, 1929)
While in the life of the human race the mythical is an early and primitive stage, in the life of the individual it is a late and mature one.Freud and the Future (1937)
For the sake of goodness and love, man shall let death have no sovereignty over his thoughts.The Magic Mountain (1924)
Only he who desires is amiable and not he who is satiated.Confessions of Felix Krull, Confidence Man: The Early Years (1954)
The writer’s joy is the thought that can become emotion, the emotion that can wholly become a thought.Death in Venice (1912)
Human reason needs only to will more strongly than fate, and she is fate.The Magic Mountain (1924)
Barbarism is the antithesis of culture only within a structure of thought that provides us the concept.Doctor Faustus (1947)
No man remains quite what he was when he recognizes himself.Foreword, Joseph and His Brothers, H. T. Lowe-Porter, tr., 1934
A harmful truth is better than a useful lie.As quoted in 'The Invisible Writing' by Arthur Kцstler, Collins (1954)
Nothing is stranger, more delicate, than the relationship between people who know each other only by sight—who encounter and observe each other daily, even hourly, and yet are compelled by the constraint of convention or by their own temperament to keep up the pretense of being indifferent strangers, neither greeting nor speaking to each other. Between them is uneasiness and overstimulated curiosity, the nervous excitement of an unsatisfied, unnaturally suppressed need to know and to communicate; and above all, too, a kind of strained respect. For man loves and respects his fellow man for as long as he is not yet in a position to evaluate him, and desire is born of defective knowledge.Death in Venice (1912)
Democracy is timelessly human, and timelessness always implies a certain amount of potential youthfulness.The Coming Victory of Democracy (1938)