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Stories of Three Decades

de Thomas Mann

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Thomas Mann is a difficult author to approach. Your choices at the bookstore are usually Magic Mountain, Doctor Faustus, or Death in Venice. Of course, like any sensible reader, I began with Death in Venice. I was immediately struck by his style, and over the course of years the initial awe I felt reading that first novella only deepened into reverence. Unlike Hermann Hesse, one of the other German authors to receive the Nobel Prize, Mann's writing transcends its own content, engages in deep philosophical discussions and simultaneously possesses lyrical resonance. Hesse is still one of my favorite writers, but I cannot compare the experience of reading his work with that of Mann. Where Proust wrote with heartfelt consistent brilliance, constructing sentences of vast architectural significance, Mann never wrote a bad sentence, at least as far as my minuscule understanding of structure will allow me to comprehend, and wrote the polished, heady sort of prose Kafka and Calvino could only imitate - in my opinion, while pushing Proust's invalid worldview into the open air, until it inevitably descends back into interior explorations.

Whether or not you will enjoy Mann, I think, does not depend on your enjoyment of his sentences alone, for his stories, characters and occasional humor are all vastly superior to the norm. You will meet clowns and dogs, families and artists, cast with the precision of Chekhov into universal human dramas of great power and elegance. He does not often write from the perspective of women, and many of his protagonists are similar to each other - that is, they are the types of people Mann most likely knew, and he sought to portray them in semi-authentic ways.

Perhaps it is only necessary to say that you cannot go wrong starting with this collection. For those who are not sure they want to tackle the breathtaking masterpiece of Magic Mountain or the seemingly infinite difficulty of Joseph and His Brothers, you will find a lot of literary manna waiting in this generous collection. He demonstrated that it is not only possible, but necessary to create moving scenes on the panoramic canvas of everyday life. ( )
  LSPopovich | Apr 8, 2020 |
2396 Stories of Three Decades, by Thomas Mann translated from the German by H. T. Lowe-Porter (read 14 Jul 1991) While reading a biography of Mann and his brother I decided I should read these stories. The book was first published in the US in 1936 and contains all of Mann's fiction prior to 1940 except the long novels. There are 24 stories, and some were a burden to read. For instance, "Tristan" was so boring I cannot now remember a thing about it! "Death in Venice," a 1911 story, is of course famous and is a sickening and memorable story. But "A Man and His Dog," for instance, I found extremely boring, though it tells a simple little plotless tale of a dog. The last story, a 1929 one titled "Maria and the Magician," at least told a story of some interest and made one want to keep reading. I cannot say it was worth my time to read most of the stories in this book. ( )
  Schmerguls | May 16, 2008 |
Currently the only translation available of almost all of his shorter works, including his [I must admit, rather boring] play Fiorenza. All but his earliest efforts are included in this volume. ( )
  tsinandali | Nov 13, 2005 |
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Thomas Mannautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Lowe-Porter, H.T.Traductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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