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Saturday, June 6, 2015

Advancing the 'idea'


“The task of a writer consists of being able to make something out of an idea.” – Thomas Mann

Born this day in 1875, Mann was the 1929 Nobel Prize winner for his symbolic and ironic novels and novellas, noted for their insight and exemplary development of “the idea.”  Among the first to speak out against both Naziism and Adolph Hitler, he fled Germany – the country of his birth and where he did much of his writing – to exile to Britain in the mid-1930s.  In 1936 his German citizenship was revoked, and Mann became an even more active crusader against the Nazis, creating a series of BBC broadcasts speaking out against the repressive regime. 

Because of his popularity as a writer and speaker, he was a serious threat to Hitler, prompting the German dictator to put him on the “most wanted” list for execution if he was ever caught.  It was then that Mann relocated to the U.S. where he lived until his death in 1955, continuing his writing of thoughtful and thought-provoking essays.

Mann said he loved exploring how to “use words” to share not only ideas but emotions.  “The writer's joy is the thought that can become emotion,” he said, “and conversely in seeing how the emotion can wholly become a thought.”

 
Thomas Mann

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