Thomas Mann, fully Paul Thomas Mann

Thomas
Mann, fully Paul Thomas Mann
1875
1955

German Novelist, Essayist, Short Story Writer, Social Critic, Philanthropist, Awarded Nobel Prize for his Novels

Author Quotes

Habituation is a falling asleep or fatiguing of the sense of time; which explains why young years pass slowly, while later life flings itself faster and faster upon its course.

How else is the famous short story ‘A study in Abjection’ to be understood but as an outbreak of disgust against an age indecently undermined by psychology.

I think of my suffering, of the problem of my suffering. What am I suffering from? From knowledge — is it going to destroy me? What am I suffering from? From sexuality — is it going to destroy me? How I hate it, this knowledge which forces even art to join it! How I hate it, this sensuality, which claims everything fine and good is its consequence and effect. Alas, it is the poison that lurks in everything fine and good! — How am I to free myself of knowledge? By religion? How am I to free myself of sexuality? By eating rice?

It had been a moving, tranquil apotheosis, immersed in the transfiguring sunset glow of decline and decay and extinction. An old family, already grown too weary and too noble for life and action, had reached the end of its history, and its last utterances were sounds of music: a few violin notes, full of the sad insight which is ripeness for death.

Like any lover, he desired to please; suffered agonies at the thought of failure, and brightened his dress with smart ties and handkerchiefs and other youthful touches.

Nothing is more curious and awkward than the relationship of two people who only know each other with their eyes — who meet and observe each other daily, even hourly and who keep up the impression of disinterest either because of morals or because of a mental abnormality. Between them there is listlessness and pent-up curiosity, the hysteria of an unsatisfied, unnaturally suppressed need for communion and also a kind of tense respect. Because man loves and honors man as long as he is not able to judge him, and desire is a product of lacking knowledge.

Passion-means to live for life's sake but I am well aware you Germans live for the sake of experience. Passion means to forget one’s self. But you do things in order to enrich yourselves.

Some of necessities go astray, because for them there is no such thing as a right path.

The days began to fly now, and yet each one of them was stretched by renewed expectations and swollen with silent, private experiences. Yes, time is a puzzling thing, there is something about it that is hard to explain.

The purifying, healing influence of literature, the dissipating of passions by knowledge and the written word, literature as the path to understanding, forgiveness and love, the redeeming might of the word, the literary spirit as the noblest manifestation of the spirit of man, the writer as perfected type, as saint.

This is a choice that makes overwhelming sense.

We don't love qualities, we love persons sometimes by reason of their defects as well as of their qualities.

What we call mourning for our dead is perhaps not so much grief at not being able to call them back as it is grief at not being able to want to do so.

Analysis as an instrument of enlightenment and civilization is good, in so far as it shatters absurd convictions, acts as a solvent upon natural prejudices, and undermines authority; good, in other words, in that it sets free, refines, humanizes, makes slaves ripe for freedom. But it is bad, very bad, in so far as it stands in the way of action, cannot shape the vital forces, maims life at its roots. Analysis can be a very unappetizing affair, as much so as death.

But he would stay the course — it was his favorite motto.

Even the piquant can forfeit popularity if tied to something intellectual.

Hans Castorp loved music from his heart; it worked upon him much the same way as did his breakfast porter, with deeply soothing, narcotic effect, tempting him to doze.

How strange a vehicle it is, coming down unchanged from times of old romance, and so characteristically black, the way no other thing is black except a coffin — a vehicle evoking lawless adventures in the plashing stillness of night, and still more strongly evoking death itself, the bier, the dark obsequies, the last silent journey!

I will keep faith with death in my heart, yet will remember that faith with death and the dead is only wickedness and dark voluptuousness and enmity against humankind, if it is given power over our thought and contemplation. For the sake of goodness and love, man shall let death have no sovereignty over his thoughts. And with that, I wake up.

It is a cruel atmosphere down there, cruel and ruthless.

Literature... is the union of suffering with the instinct for form.

Nothing is stranger or more ticklish than a relationship between people who know each other only by sight, who meet and observe each other daily - no hourly - and are nevertheless compelled to keep up the pose of an indifferent stranger, neither greeting nor addressing each other, whether out of etiquette or their own whim.

People's behavior makes sense if you think about it in terms of their goals, needs, and motives.

Some of the men stood talking in this room, and at the right of the door a little knot had formed round a small table, the center of which was the mathematics student, who was eagerly talking. He had made the assertion that one could draw through a given point more than one parallel to a straight line; Frau Hagenström had cried out that this was impossible, and he had gone on to prove it so conclusively that his hearers were constrained to behave as though they understood.

The diaries of opium-eaters record how, during the brief period of ecstasy, the drugged person's dreams have a temporal scope of ten, thirty, sometimes sixty years or even surpass all limits of man's ability to experience time--dreams, that is, whose imaginary time span vastly exceeds their actual duration and which are characterized by an incredible diminishment of the experience of time, with images thronging past so swiftly that, as one hashish-smoke puts it, the intoxicated user's brain seems to have something removed, like the mainspring from a broken watch.

Author Picture
First Name
Thomas
Last Name
Mann, fully Paul Thomas Mann
Birth Date
1875
Death Date
1955
Bio

German Novelist, Essayist, Short Story Writer, Social Critic, Philanthropist, Awarded Nobel Prize for his Novels