THOMAS MANN (1875–1955)
Thomas Mann, the famous German novelist, essayist and cultural critic, was awarded the Nobel prize for literature in 1929. He was born in Lübeck, into a wealthy trading family that moved to Munich in 1891, where Mann worked in an insurance company, at the same time attending some lectures at the University of Munich.
His writing career started in the magazine Simplicissimus. Inspired by the works of Schoppenhauer, Nietzsche and Wagner, he soon started on his first major work, Buddenbrooks, published in 1901. Here he used the technique of leitmotiff, which he adapted from Wagner, to describe the saga of a wealthy German family declining from strength to decadence. Indeed, the main topic of all his novels was the moral decline of 20th century society, which culminated in the Second World War. In 1905 Thomas Mann married Katja Pringsheim. They had six children, among them Klaus
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