By: Colm Tóibín
Colm Tóibín’s magnificent new novel opens in a provincial German city at the turn of the twentieth century, where the boy, Thomas Mann, grows up with a conservative father, bound by propriety, and a Brazilian mother, alluring and unpredictable. Young Mann hides his artistic aspirations from his father and his homosexual desires from everyone. He is infatuated with one of the richest, most cultured Jewish families in Munich, and marries the daughter Katia. They have six children. On a holiday in Italy, he longs for a boy he sees on a beach and writes the story Death in Venice. He is the most successful novelist of his time, winner of the Nobel Prize in literature, a public man whose private life remains secret. He is expected to lead the condemnation of Hitler, whom he underestimates. His oldest daughter and son, leaders of Bohemianism and of the anti-Nazi movement, share lovers. He flees Germany for Switzerland, France and, ultimately, America, living first in Princeton and then in Los Angeles.
In a stunning marriage of research and imagination, Tóibín explores the heart and mind of a writer whose gift is unparalleled and whose life is driven by a need to belong and the anguish of illicit desire. The Magician is an intimate, astonishingly complex portrait of Mann, his magnificent and complex wife Katia, and the times in which they lived—the first world war, the rise of Hitler, World War II, the Cold War, and exile. This is a man and a family fiercely engaged by the world, profoundly flawed, and unforgettable.
This event will be in person at the Heyman Center and livestreamed online. Please register for both in-person and virtual attendance via the link.
Please email [email protected] to request disability accommodations. Advance notice is necessary to arrange for some accessibility needs.
About the Author
Colm Tóibín is the author of ten novels, including Brooklyn and The Master. He is Irene and Sidney B. Silverman Professor of the Humanities at Columbia University.
About the Speakers
Mark Anderson is Professor of Germanic Languages at Columbia University. He is the author of several books on Kafka (Kafka's Clothes, Reading Kafka), and the editor and translator of contemporary Austrian writers Ingeborg Bachmann and Thomas Bernhard, Professor Anderson specializes in German modernism, contemporary Austrian literature, and the theory and practice of translation.
Susan Bernofsky is an author and the prizewinning translator of seven works of fiction by the great Swiss-German modernist author Robert Walser, as well as novels and poetry by Yoko Tawada, Jenny Erpenbeck, Uljana Wolf, Franz Kafka, Hermann Hesse, and others. Her most recent book, Clairvoyant of the Small: The Life of Robert Walser, is a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography. A Guggenheim, Cullman, and Berlin Prize fellow, she teaches literary translation at the Columbia University School of the Arts and is currently working on a new translation of Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain for W.W. Norton.
Sarah Cole is Parr Professor of English and Comparative Literature and Dean of Humanities. A specialist in literary modernism, her areas of interest include war; violence, sexuality, and the body; history and memory; imperialism; and Irish literature of the modernist period. She is the author of two books, most recently At the Violet Hour: Modernism and Violence in England and Ireland (Oxford University Press, 2012) and Modernism, Male Friendship, and the First World War (Cambridge University Press, 2003). She has published articles in ELH, Modern Fiction Studies, Modernism/Modernity, and PMLA, and has written essays for a variety of edited collections. Sarah Cole is the recipient of a 2014 Guggenheim Fellowship for a book project entitled "The Wells Era."
Hugo Hamilton is the internationally acclaimed author of the memoirs The Speckled People and The Harbor Boys, and the recently-published novel, The Pages. Also the author of five novels, one collection of short stories, and an original play, he has been awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for his unique contribution to literature and cross-cultural understanding. He lives in Dublin.
Amy Hungerford, the Ruth Fulton Benedict Professor of English and Comparative Literature, currently serves as Executive Vice President of Arts and Sciences and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. A scholar of American literature, her first two monographs explore literary engagements with genocide and with religion in the 20th century.