Only very few have written about Thomas Mann in a smarter, more original, and more elegant way. A book for introduction as well as for in-depth study.
Even in his lifetime he was a monument, the last prince of poets in the succession of Goethe. Thomas Mann was a writer of the finest sensitivity with lurking abysses, deeply rooted in German culture. He faced the catastrophes of his time unflinchingly, even though it was a long way from the »machtgeschützten Innerlichkeit« (power-protected inwardness) of the German Empire, which he glorified, to the fight against Hitler and National Socialist Germany, which he led tirelessly. In almost six decades, his vast literary oeuvre grew, unique in scope and intellectual range. His language occupies all the nooks and crannies of the nameable world, making it narratively available in virtuoso demonstration of its omnipotence. And his irony, not free of condescension, makes one constantly feel the presence of the narrator who imposes his will on us by seducing and enchanting us.
Hanjo Kesting’s book is the result of a lifelong preoccupation with Thomas Mann at close quarters and at a distance. In work analyses and biographical approaches an overall picture emerges of the great writer, who took stock in his diary with the words: »There has probably seldom been such an interweaving of agony and glory.«