June 6 ~  People's Behavior Essential Thomas Mann

"People's behavior makes sense if you think about it in terms of their goals, needs, and motives." ~ Thomas Mann

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Considered an outstanding German novelist of his age, Paul Thomas Mann (1875-1955) was born on this day in Lübeck, Germany, the second of five children from a family of successful merchants.

Inspired by the writing of Friedrich W. Nietzsche and music of Richard Wagner, Mann once said that the task of a writer was "being able to make something out of an idea."

He is best known for writing the realistic novel, which is characterized by symbolism and insightful psychology. Mann described his words as "nothing but the personal traces of a life led consciously, that is, conscientiously."

His autobiographical masterpiece Buddenbrooks (1901), chronicled the decline of a prosperous merchant family.

"All writers," he said, "belong to the class of non-orators."

His other prose epics included Death in Venice (1913) and Magic Mountain (1924).

Eloquently capturing the lives of early 20th Century European society, he received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1929.

"A man's dying is more the survivors' affair than his own," he observed.

Living in exile when the Nazis came to power in 1933, Mann became a U.S. citizen in 1940. "A man lives not only his personal life, as an individual, but also, consciously or unconsciously, the life of his epoch and his contemporaries," he said.

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