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

Science never makes an advance until philosophy authorizes it to do so.

The administration's highest priority over the next seven months is to ward off what now looks like a Democratic victory in the November elections. It's hard to believe his stock has fallen that low with the president. Karl got him re-elected, and Karl was not a champion of war in Iraq.

The meeting in the open of two dogs, strangers to each other, is one of the most painful, thrilling, and pregnant of all conceivable encounters; it is surrounded by an atmosphere of the last canniness, presided over by a constraint for which I have no precise name; they simply cannot pass each other, their mutual embarrassment is frightful to behold.

There was a story they used to tell at home about a girl whose punishment was that every time she opened her mouth, snakes and toads came out, snakes and toads with every word. The book didn't say what she did about it, but I've always assumed she probably ended up keeping her mouth shut.

To be grateful for all life's blessings ... is the best condition for a happy life. A joke, a good meal, a fine spring day, a work of art, a human personality, a voice, a glance — but this is not all. For there is another kind of gratitude, ...the feeling that makes us thankful for suffering, for the hard and heavy things of life, for the deepening of our natures which perhaps only suffering can bring.

What is uttered is finished and done with.

Yes, they are carnal, both of them, love and death, and therein lies their terror and their great magic!

A man lives not only his personal life, as an individual, but also, consciously or unconsciously, the life of his epoch and his contemporaries. He may regard the general, impersonal foundations of his existence as definitely settled and taken for granted, and be as far from assuming a critical attitude towards them as our good Hans Castorp really was; yet it is quite conceivable that he may none the less be vaguely conscious of the deficiencies of his epoch and find them prejudicial to his own moral well-being. All sorts of personal aims, hopes, ends, prospects, hover before the eyes of the individual, and out of these he derives the impulse to ambition and achievement. Now, if the life about him, if his own time seems, however outwardly stimulating, to be at bottom empty of such food for his aspirations; if he privately recognises it to be hopeless, viewless, helpless, opposing only a hollow silence to all the questions man puts, consciously or unconsciously, yet somehow puts, as to the final, absolute, and abstract meaning in all his efforts and activities; then, in such a case, a certain laming of the personality is bound to occur, the more inevitably the more upright the character in question; a sort of palsy, as it were, which may extend from his spiritual and moral over into his physical and organic part. In an age that affords no satisfying answer to the eternal question of 'Why?' 'To what end?' a man who is capable of achievement over and above the expected modicum must be equipped either with a moral remoteness and single-mindedness which is rare indeed and of heroic mould, or else with an exceptionally robust vitality. Hans Castorp had neither one nor the other of these; and thus he must be considered mediocre, though in an entirely honourable sense.

Art is the spirit in matter, the natural instinct toward humanization, that is, toward the spiritualization of life.

Democracy is timelessly human, and timelessness always implies a certain amount of potential youthfulness.

For the sake of goodness and love, Man shall let Death have No sovereignty over his thoughts.

He was simply not a hero, which is to say, he did not let his relationship with the man be determined by the woman.

I met the New Passion, then, as democracy, as political enlightenment and the humanitarianism of happiness. I understood its efforts to be toward the politicization of everything ethos; its aggressiveness and doctrinary intolerance consisted – I experienced them personally – in its denial and slander of every nonpolitical ethos. Mankind as humanitarian internationalism; reason and virtue as the radical republic; intellect as a thing between a Jacobin club and Freemasonry; art as social literature and maliciously seductive rhetoric in the service of social desirability; here we have the New Passion in its purest political form as I saw it close up. I admit that this is a special, extremely romanticized form of it.

In the Word is involved the unity of humanity, the wholeness of the human problem, which permits nobody to separate the intellectual and artistic from the political and social, and to isolate himself within the ivory tower of the cultural proper.

It is strange. If an idea gains control of you, you will find it expressed everywhere, you will actually smell it in the wind.

My aversion from music rests on political grounds.

Only the exhaustive can be truly interesting.

Should we bow out and avoid the experience when it is not completely done afterwards to create joy and confidence? Should we 'leave' when life is a bit scary and people feel uneasy or something embarrassing and hurtful? But no, you want to stay, the view should be and bear the, just like there is perhaps something to learn.

The ancients adorned their sarcophagi with the emblems of life and procreation, and even with obscene symbols; in the religions of antiquity the sacred and the obscene often lay very close together. These men knew how to pay homage to death. For death is worthy of homage as the cradle of life, as the womb of palingenesis.

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. Certainly when a writer has acquired the habit of regarding life as mythical and typical there comes a curious heightening of his artistic temper, a new refreshment to his perceiving and shaping powers, which otherwise occurs much later in life; for 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.

There were profound reasons for his attachment to the sea: he loved it because as a hard-working artist he needed rest, needed to escape from the demanding complexity of phenomena and lie hidden on the bosom of the simple and tremendous; because of a forbidden longing deep within him that ran quite contrary to his life’s task and was for that very reason seductive, a longing for the unarticulated and immeasurable, for eternity, for nothingness. To rest in the arms of perfection is the desire of any man intent upon creating excellence; and is not nothingness a form of perfection?

Tolerance becomes a crime when applied to evil.

What our age needs, what it demands, what it will create for itself, is—terror.

You Christians studied them, Settembrini exclaimed, studied the classical poets and philosophers until you broke out in a sweat, attempted to make their precious heritage your own, just as you used the stones of their ancient edifices for your meeting houses. Because you were well aware that no new art could come from your own proletarian souls and hoped to defeat antiquity with its own weapon. And so it will be again, so it will always be. And you with your crude visions of a new morning will likewise have to be taught by those whom—so at least you would like to persuade yourselves, and others—you despise. For without education you cannot prevail before humanity, and there is only one kind of education—you call it bourgeois, but in fact it is human.

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