Books: Masterpiece

JOSEPH THE PROVIDER—Thomas Mann, translated by H. T. Lowe-Porter—Knopf ($3).

Last week Thomas Mann published the final volume of his major work. Few novelists in the history of literature have planned a work of such scope and significance, and made their plans come true.

Joseph the Provider finishes a masterpiece. It is a masterpiece in the way that Tolstoy's novels are, rather than Shakespeare's plays—i.e., it is deliberate, sustained, careful (often tiresomely so), rather than spontaneous and overflowing with its own imaginative energy. The final volume's 606 pages bring the epic of Joseph to...

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