SKU: A01681 Category:


Description: Clearly distraught over the fanaticism in Europe, Mann’s typed letter signed foreshadows the horror of WWII:

“. . . As things stand in Europe today, it is self-evident that one thinks of leaving behind the dust of this, as it unfortunately seems, condemned section of the world and shaking it from one’s feet in order to seek a happier future. I am well aware that the soil of America is undermined to a certain degree with problems and that the social and philosophical stresses do not allow anyone to rest anywhere in the world. But this much I have discovered in my two trips to America: that the atmosphere is less surcharged with fanatic and murderous hates than in this unholy quarter of the world, which unless all indications are false, is rushing toward a hitherto unknown catastrophe. Rationally considered, it would be by far wiser course to abandon it and go anywhere to you (in America), perhaps Boston or even to California, to establish oneself in a new home for a few years.

This we discuss often, and when I express the hope of seeing you again, it is based upon the foregoing. Unfortunately, many things stand in the way. The ties to Europe, which a man of my kind has, are very strong, and the significance of a separation from the old world would be far greater than actually leaving the country in which the spiritual and moral disadvantages of Europe have accumulated and are unbearable.”

This two page letter is written in German and addressed to “Liber Herr Hart” (Henry Hart) and dated “29. X. 36” from Kusnacht-Zurich. He expresses sadness that their “business relationships are for some time being brought to an end. . .,” understating his appreciation that “the edition of [his] stories, so tastefully published, has given pleasure to the public and no dishonor to [Hart’s] organization. . .” Mann agrees to be a part of a Writers’ Congress, “[p]roviding it does not commit itself to an outspokenly communist point of view,” but declines an “ambassadorship” that to him “is something pretentious.”

Typewritten on two sides of 8½” x 11” ivory paper and signed in full. The two-page letter was translated for Henry Hart in 1936  and the typed translation with its transmittal envelope is included. In a postscript, the translator, “Sara,” writes, “I am immensely impressed by its dignity, and more especially its tribute to you, as much implied as actually expressed.”   Item #A01681

Thomas Mann, (1875-1955) was a German novelist and essayist whose early novels–Buddenbrooks (1900), Death in Venice (1912), and The Magic Mountain (1924)– earned him the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1929. In the 1930s, he became an outspoken critic of Nazi policies, defending humanitarianism and freedom, for which his German citizenship was revoked in 1936 while he was touring Switzerland. Warned by his children, he and his wife remained in Zurich. He became a U.S. citizen in 1944.

Henry Hart was an American publisher who worked for Scribner’s and was responsible for the English-translation publications of Thomas Mann’s works. He was a founding member of Equinox Cooperative Press.

Condition: Mailing fold lines and four staple holes at the top left corner, otherwise in very good condition.