MANN (THOMAS) Autograph letter signed, 1948
Lot 174
MANN (THOMAS) Autograph letter signed, 1948
Sold for £4,000 (US$ 6,536) inc. premium

Lot Details
MANN (THOMAS)
Autograph letter signed ("Thomas Mann"), to Dr Arthur Mandl of Sheffield, replying to his letter as to whether Doctor Faustus was to be his last novel, and responding to Mandl's observation that the book contains many Anglicisms: "Der Anglizismen war ich mir nicht ganz unbewusst. Es fehlt an ihnen auch schon im späteren 'Joseph' nicht. Wenn die Sache es will, scheue ich auch vor Gallizismen nicht zurück. Ich habe nicht viel Respekt vor sprachlichen Landesgöttern und bin Monotheist insofern als ich glaube dass über den Sprachen die Sprache ist" ['I was not altogether unaware of the Anglicisms. They already occur in the later 'Josef' novel. If the situation demands it, I also do not shy away from Gallicisms. I do not have much respect for local linguistic deities and am monotheist in so far as I believe that Language stands above languages']; autograph envelope, 1551 San Remo Drive, Pacific Palisades, California, 17 May 1948

Footnotes

  • 'ONE CAN CALL FAUSTUS MY LAST BOOK, FOR WITH IT THE CIRCLE OF MY LIFE AND WORK IS COMPLETED: I LIKE TO CALL IT MY 'PARSIFAL' – Thomas Mann on Doctor Faustus, his use of language, and what in the way of chamber music might follow: "In gewissem Sinne freilich mag man den Faustus mein letztes Buch nennen, weil damit der Ring meines Lebens und Werkes sich schliesst: ich nenne ihn gern meinen 'Parsifal' und denke dabei an die Bemerkung Ernest Newmans, es sei doch schade, dass Wagner nach dem grossen Endwerk nicht noch ein bisschen Kammermusik geschrieben habe. Das mutete mich immer etwas komisch an, denn man kann sich Wagner als Komponisten eines Streichquartetts ja nicht recht vorstellen. Aber bei mir liegen die Dinge in dieser einen Beziehung günstigar, und es ist nicht unmöglich, dass ich nach meinem Parsifal, wenn auch keine grosse Oper mehr, so doch noch einige Kammermusik schreibe – unter uns gesagt, ich bin schon dabei" ['Admittedly, in a certain sense one can call Faustus my last book, for with it the circle of my life and work is completed: I like to call it my 'Parsifal', and with that I think of Ernest Newman's remark that it is a pity that Wagner had not composed a little chamber music after his great final work. That always strikes me as somewhat comical, for one cannot really imagine Wagner as composer of a string quartet. But in my case the situation is more favourable in this one respect, and it is not impossible that after my Parsifal, even a grand opera, I shall write some chamber music – between ourselves, I am already doing so'].

    Mann made a note of writing this letter in his diary for that day: 'Brief aus England über Faustus'. The discussion of language was to be echoed in a letter to Heinrich of 14 July 1949. A transcript of Mandl's letter to Mann is included in the lot (together with notes and translations by members of the Mandl family, to whom we are indebted).
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