Books: Specific Gravity

THOMAS MANN: THE MAKING OF AN ARTIST, 1875-1911 by Richard Winston Knopf; 325 pages; $17.95

He had the hubris to advance a world view, to rewrite the Bible in his Joseph novels, to devise the great metaphor of Europe as a sanatorium full of the walking wounded in The Magic Mountain. Was Thomas Mann ever unsure of himself, writing his quota of pages day after day in the comfort of a Germany he was later to renounce for exile in California? Was he ever young?

The answer seems to be yes—just barely—on the basis of the rich evidence assembled...

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