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Thomas Mann (June 6, 1875 – August 12, 1955), considered by many to be the greatest German novelist of the twentieth century, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1929 for his novels Buddenbrooks, Death in Venice, and The Magic Mountain.

When Hitler took power in Germany, Mann (whose wife was Jewish) emigrated with his family to the United States. He became a US citizen in 1944.

Marin displayed a notable sexual ambivalence, and homoerotic love features in many of his works. For instance, when love comes to Gustav von Aschenbach, the artist hero of Death in Venice, his hopeless affection for the boy Tadzio leads to Aschenbach’s destruction.

Mann’s correspondence demonstrates that his gay-themed works had a foundation in personal experience. Papers that were unsealed twenty years after his death revealed that he was exclusively homosexual until his late twenties and was intensely attracted to men throughout his life.

Some of Mann's first short stories and poems are dedicated to his friend Armin Martens, immortalized in the pages of Tonio Kröger by the name of Hans Hansen.

Anthony Heilbut’s biography Thomas Mann; Eros and Literature established the centrality of Mann’s sexuality to his work. Mann’s diaries speak movingly of his struggle with his sexuality, and he described his feelings for young violinist and painter Paul Ehrenberg as the "central experience of my heart."


Thomas Mann June 6, 1875 – August 12, 1955), considered by many to be the greatest German novelist of the twentieth century, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1929 for his novels Buddenbrooks, Death in Venice, and The Magic Mountain. Mann’s correspondence demonstrates that his gay-themed works had a foundation in personal experience. Some of Mann's first short stories and poems are dedicated to his friend Armin Martens, immortalized in the pages of Tonio Kröger by the name of Hans Hansen.


Papers that were unsealed 20 years after Thomas Mann's death revealed that he was exclusively homosexual until his late 20s and was intensely attracted to men throughout his life. Paul Ehrenberg was an excellent violinist, who often played chamber music with Mann. Based on the evidence of Thomas Mann's letters and diaries, Mann was infatuated with Ehrenberg, and they had an intense personal relationship from 1899 to about 1903. Mann based several characters in his published writings on him.

Mann had three daughters (Erika, Monika, and Elisabeth) and three sons (Klaus, Golo, and Michael), all of whom became artistic or literary figures, and all of whom were bisexual or homosexual.

Paul Ehrenberg (1876–1949) was a German violinist and impressionist painter, brother of Carl Ehrenberg and half-brother of Hilde Distel.

Ehrenberg was a student of the painter Heinrich von Zügel. He was a member of the Luitpoldsgruppe and Künstlergenossenschaft. His work, shown in many Munich exhibitions, included portraits, still lifes, landscapes, and animal paintings. He married the painter Lilly Teufel.

Ehrenberg was an excellent violinist, who often played chamber music with Thomas Mann. Based on the evidence of Thomas Mann's letters and diaries, Mann was infatuated with Ehrenberg, and they had an intense personal relationship from 1899 to about 1903. Mann based several characters in his published writings on him.

Source: Queers in History by Keith Stern

Further Readings:

Death in Venice by Thomas Mann
Paperback: 92 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; Reprint edition (October 29, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1453875263
ISBN-13: 978-1453875261
Amazon: Death in Venice

Thomas Mann (1875 - 1955) was a German novelist, short story writer, social critic, philanthropist, essayist, and 1929 Nobel Prize laureate, known for his series of highly symbolic and ironic epic novels and novellas, noted for their insight into the psychology of the artist and the intellectual.

DEATH IN VENICE, this tale of forbidden love which has long intrigued the reading public, was his early masterpiece.

This is an exciting, new translation by Martin C. Doege.

More LGBT Couples at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Real Life Romance


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