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Klaus Mann (1906–1949)

Author of Mephisto

84+ Works 2,451 Members 44 Reviews 11 Favorited

About the Author

Klaus Mann, son of novelist and Nobel Prize winner Thomas Mann, was born in Munich, Germany on November 18, 1906. He emigrated to the United States in the 1930's after working in the theater and journalism in his homeland. Early works, including "Kindernovele" (1926) and "Mephisto" (1936), were show more published in German, but later works, such as "The Turning Point" (1941), were published in English. He committed suicide in Cannes on May 21, 1949. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Disambiguation Notice:

(yid) VIAF:56613409

(mao) VIAF:PND:118577158

(fre) SUDOC:027006158

(swe) SELIBR:207838

(ger) VIAF:56613409


Image credit: Image © ÖNB/Wien

Works by Klaus Mann

Mephisto (1936) 1,073 copies
Alexander (1929) 121 copies
The Pious Dance (1926) 107 copies
Flucht in den Norden (1934) 59 copies
Treffpunkt im Unendlichen. (1932) 51 copies
La morte del cigno (1937) — Author — 49 copies
Kind dieser Zeit (1932) 35 copies
Rundherum. Abenteuer einer Weltreise. (1929) — Author — 35 copies
Das Buch von der Riviera (2002) 18 copies
Abenteuer des Brautpaars (1976) 11 copies
In meinem Elternhaus (1975) 11 copies
April, Nutzlos vertan (1996) 10 copies
Kindernovelle (1926) 9 copies
Tagebücher 1931 - 1949. (1995) 9 copies
Der Bauchredner (1980) 8 copies
Tagebücher 1931 bis 1933 (1989) 4 copies
Génération perdue (2009) 4 copies
The Other Germany (1940) — Author — 4 copies
Prüfungen (1968) 3 copies
Tagebücher 1940 bis 1943 (1991) 3 copies
Correspondance 1925-1941 (2014) 3 copies
Œuvre romanesque (2013) 2 copies
1998 1 copy

Associated Works

Amerika (1927) — Preface, some editions — 2,337 copies
The Penguin Book of International Gay Writing (1995) — Contributor — 177 copies
Die Manns: Geschichte einer Familie (2015) — Author — 78 copies
Lovesick: Modernest Plays Of Same-Sex (Gay) Love (1999) — Contributor — 28 copies


20th century (91) anthology (21) autobiography (52) Belletristik (30) biography (57) classic (38) classics (24) Czech (28) Czech literature (44) exile (27) existentialism (26) fiction (425) Folio Society (20) Franz Kafka (20) gay (28) German (134) German fiction (27) German literature (241) Germany (102) history (22) Kafka (43) Klaus Mann (51) literature (166) Mann (44) memoir (21) modernism (26) Nazism (26) non-fiction (21) novel (134) Privé-domein (29) prose (22) read (34) Roman (101) short stories (22) theatre (27) Third Reich (21) to-read (139) translation (24) unread (31) WWII (37)

Common Knowledge



آثاری که درباره‌ی آلمان نازی پیش از جنگ جهانی صحبت کرده بودند و خونده بودم، برای نویسندگانی بود که بعد از جنگ جهانی دست به تألیف اثر زده بودند... اما جالبی این رمان اینه که در 1936 نوشته شده و آلمان نازی رو پیش از جنگ جهانی دوم - که سوسیال ناسیونالیسم آلمان رو به مسئله‌ای بین‌المللی بدل کرد - بررسی می‌کنه و درواقع به همین علت بیشتر یک مخالفت سیاسی داخلی ازش به مشام می‌رسه تا مخالفت با یک جریان بزرگ و شیطانی جهانی!
خوانش این رمان یه کم صبوری می‌خواد... نمی‌دونم متن اصلی اینگونه است یا در ترجمه بد ترجمه شده، اما استفاده‌ی زیاد از ضمایر، مخصوصاً در ابتدا که هنوز عادت ندارید روش متن، می‌تونه براتون گیج‌کننده باشه! همچنین به نظرم نبود ضمایر سوم شخص مذکر و مؤنث تو فارسی می‌تونست توسط مترجم یه کم تعدیل بشه، تا خواننده‌ی فارسی رو گیج نکنه. تو همون دوتا فصل اول هم با نام‌های زیادی بمباران می‌شین که خیلی ترسناک و گیج‌کننده است، اما بعد از دو، سه فصل کم کم براتون خوانشش آسون‌تر و بلکه‌ لذت‌بخش می‌شه.
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Mahdi.Lotfabadi | 16 other reviews | Oct 16, 2022 |
Klaus Mann's best-known novel, written in exile in 1936 and attacking the prominent figures in the arts in Germany who had chosen to stay and work with the Nazis despite being aware of how evil the regime actually was.

Although Mann maintained that the novel was about types, not individuals, and that it should not be read as a roman à clef, everyone immediately spotted that the central character, the ambitious actor-manager Hendrik ("with a d") Höfgen, had at least a 90% overlap in background, career and appearance with the author's ex-brother-in-law Gustaf ("with an f") Gründgens. Like the real Gründgens, the fictitious Höfgen was a personal friend of Hermann Göring and his second wife, who appointed him Generalintendant of the Prussian State Theatre; was famous for playing Mephistopheles and Hamlet; a blond Rhinelander; got his start in an army mobile theatre in 1917; worked in the 20s in Hamburg where he cultivated a left-wing image; married the daughter of a prominent intellectual from Bavaria, etc. etc.

Details apart, there's only really one point at which the fictional and real stories diverge: Gründgens was notoriously gay, despite being married successively to Erika Mann and Marianne Hoppe (who were both notoriously bisexual...). Obviously, Klaus Mann couldn't use Gründgens' sexuality to attack him without (a) hypocrisy and (b) exposing himself to reciprocal attacks, so he invents an equally embarrassing sex-life for Höfgen with the black dominatrix Juliette, who eventually becomes such a risk to his career that he has to ask Göring to arrange for her to be deported and paid off.

The borrowing of Gründgens' life-story wasn't a big deal in 1936 — Klaus Mann's books weren't being published in Germany anyway, and the actor was hardly likely to go to court in foreign countries to protest at being represented as a friend of the Nazis — but it it completely overshadowed the subsequent life of the novel after 1945, when, contrary to the dark predictions his counterpart Höfgen gets to hear in the final chapter, Gründgens was able to cash in various debts owed to him by other prominent people and resume his theatrical career in the new Germany without much of a stain on his character.

It's been suggested that one of the things that prompted Mann to take his own life in 1949 was the news that a West German publisher was making plans to bring out an edition of Mephisto, which would certainly have led to Mann being involved in some very unpleasant arguments. In the event, Gründgens was able to use his considerable influence to prevent publication in the Federal Republic during his lifetime. After his death in 1963, his life-partner and adopted son, Peter Gorski, fought a legal action to suppress the novel that went all the way to the Federal Constitutional Court, which narrowly decided in his favour in 1971. It was only in 1981 that this bizarre fight between two dead men was put aside and the first West German edition appeared, by which time almost everyone who wanted one had illegally imported a copy of the Austrian or DDR edition.

The result of all this is a rather mixed message: Klaus Mann is using the text of the novel to tell us that you have to pay eventually if you make a pact with the Devil, but the historical context suggests that anyone with the right connections and enough good lawyers has a good chance of wriggling out of a Faustian pact without too much trouble. All the same, Mann's palpable anger and disgust at what is going on in Germany make this a very engaging read, and for us a couple of generations later there's also a lot of interesting period detail about the German theatre between the wars.
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4 vote
thorold | 16 other reviews | Oct 11, 2022 |
Klaus Mann's first novel, published when he was nineteen. His hero, Andreas, is a clever young man who leaves his provincial middle-class-intellectual father and his fiancée, a childhood friend and the daughter of a well-known artist herself, to pursue a career as a cabaret performer and look for beautiful young men in the night-clubs of Berlin. But, obviously, we needn't assume that there's anything remotely autobiographical going on here...

The story is fascinating for its very vivid first-hand descriptions of gay life in twenties Berlin, Hamburg and Paris, full of cabaret scenes, rent-boys, drag-queens, and even a sort of precursor of Anna Madrigal's boarding house with a cast of colourful eccentrics of all orientations. Plus a couple of bonus Zola set-pieces in the final chapters, an artists' ball and a dawn scene at Les Halles. Whilst there's no explicit description of sex-acts — presumably that would have been going too far even for Weimar censors — the encoding is so transparent that we can't really claim he's keeping anything from us. Not like Isherwood with his constant glances over the shoulder to respectability.

On the other hand, it's a bit harder to cope with the story of Andreas's psychological development, involving Walt Whitman singing the body electric whilst Andreas has peculiar dreams about rosary beads, angels and the Virgin Mary. This is all very first-novelish. There are clearly good ideas behind it: Mann seems to be talking about the collision between the abstract ideals of romantic love Andreas has grown up with and the breathtaking physicality of his desire for the lovely Niels. But the presentation of this somehow gets side-tracked into long-winded sentimentality. You can always skim lightly over the first few chapters and the last. There aren't so many 1920s gay novels that you can afford to toss one aside.
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1 vote
thorold | Sep 11, 2022 |
This collection of letters of Klaus Mann is a dense collection of letters by Klaus Mann together with answers from his correspondents. The style of Klaus Mann's letters is almost invariably formal, verging towards unpersonal, even with family members and people who must have been close friends. All letters demand careful reading, Very few letters are frivolous or deal with trivial matters. In fact, some letters are very long and deal with personal attacks of accusations.

Born into a family of writers, both his father and his uncle, were succesful writers, Klaus Mann grew up in a family of writers. In his early youth, as a pupil of the experimental Odenwald Schule (School) he made friends with talented, artistic young contemporaries who would grow up to become artists, writers and actors in the Germany of the first half of the 20th Century.

Klaus Mann lived a large part of his life in exile. His letters were written from hotels and temporary accomodation all over the world. Since the collection also prints answers, the letters give a fairly complete image of episodes of his life. In my opinion, the family latters, particularly with the parents, Katia and Thomas Mann are the most interesting.

Given the information density, the length of the letters, and the bulky volume (800+) pages, it took me a long time to read.
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edwinbcn | Apr 3, 2022 |



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