GERMANY: Kultur Man

When Thomas Mann came to America in 1938, he said simply: "Wherever I am is German culture." To Germans rallying against Hitler, or, like himself, driven into exile, the declaration was a defiant battle cry; to non-Germans it was something of a portent. "The plot of every one of his novels," said a critic, "concerns an organism whose vitality is threatened; one can never be sure whether the crisis will end ineluctably in death or whether it is not instead the critical point in a rebirth." Because the vitality of that old organism Europe appeared to be ebbing towards destruction,...

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