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Nobel Prize-winner Thomas Mann (1875-1955) is not only one of the leading German novelists of the twentieth century, but also one of the few to transcend national and language boundaries to achieve major stature in the English-speaking world. Famous from the time that he published his first novel in 1901, Mann became an iconic figure, seen as the living embodiment of German national culture. Leading scholar Todd Kontje provides a succinct introduction to Mann's life and work, discussing key moments in Mann's personal life and his career as a public intellectual, and giving readers a sense of why he is considered such an important - and controversial - writer. At the heart of the book is an informed appreciation of Mann's great literary achievements, including the novel The Magic Mountain and the haunting short story Death in Venice.