Thomas Mann visits the Lido in Venice on this day and is inspired with the idea for his novella Death in Venice.
Mann was born in Germany in 1875, the second son of a grain merchant who expected Thomas to take over the business. His father died when Mann was 15, and his mother moved the family to Munich. Mann worked as a clerk at an insurance company and studied to become a journalist. In 1898, he published his first collection of stories, followed by his first novel, Buddenbrooks (1901), the saga of a family’s decline from wealth. He published two more novellas, Tonio Kröger and Tristan, in 1903.
Mann married in 1905 and later fathered six children. In 1912, Death in Venice was published. The story of a revered German writer who chooses to stay in cholera-stricken Venice to gaze on a beautiful young man he’s never met, the book considers the dilemma of the artist’s position in society.
Mann published numerous essays about great thinkers like Freud, Goethe, and Nietzsche and continued to write novels. In 1924, he published his acclaimed book The Magic Mountain, the story of a young man who visits a tuberculosis sanitorium and finds a microcosm of society. Five years later, Mann won the Nobel Prize.
When Hitler came to power, Mann moved to Switzerland, then to the U.S. in 1938. Mann lived in Santa Monica, California, from 1941 to 1953. His later work includes Joseph and His Brothers (1934) and Doctor Faustus (1947). Mann died in Switzerland in 1955.