Joseph and His Brothers (Joseph und seine Brüder #1-4)
Thomas Mann regarded his monumental retelling of the biblical story of Joseph as his magnum opus. He conceived of the four parts–The Stories of Jacob, Young Joseph, Joseph in Egypt, and Joseph the Provider–as a unified narrative, a “mythological novel” of Joseph’s fall i ...more
What a truly amazing accomplishment this is, and as I say that it occurs to me that I am referring not just to Mann's writing it, but to my finishing reading it. 1492 pages + introductions, that's my high water mark, the biggest single book I've ever read by a considerable margin. A daunting book, no doubt. It's also beautiful, erudite, enthralling, one of the best books I've read in my lifetime.
Okay, so this is one big damn book. Intimidating, right? A turgid Teutonic trudge through the second ...more
For it is good, consoling, and useful that phrases of lamentation from the early days of beleaguered humanity are preserved and lie at the ready, suitable for later and present occasions as if made for them, in order to ease the pain of life to whatever extent words can ease it, so that one may make use of them and join one's suffering with ancient and ever-present pain.I take religion seriously. My being an atheist doesn't mean I can't recognize the worth of belief's various forms, for w ...more
Mann wrote Joseph during the rise of Nazism in his homeland, finishing it during his North American exile. One wonders how much the political experiences of his life during this period influenced the book with its themes of rejection, ...more
There now have been two English translations of this great masterpiece. H.T. Lowe-Porter's was done contemporanously with the four-part ...more
The fact that I knew the story did not make me want to read less of it but rather the opposite. In fact I soon discovered that I was reading not to find out what's happening, but rather to find out how things happened...
I must mention that I am reading a romanian translation which is so ...more
It’s the epic strength of the story and also the setting (especially ancient Egypt) that give this book its quality. Mann has written some really moving parts, most of all those about the interaction between Joseph and his father Jac ...more
— Genesis 50:25
And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him: for he had straitly sworn the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you; and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you
— Exodus 13:19
And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, buried they in Shechem, in a parcel of ground which Jacob bought of the sons of H ...more
With this beginning Thomas Mann creates a monumental novel based on the story of Joseph in Genesis. By the time you have read more than two hundred pages and Joseph is yet to be born you begin to realize just how monumental this novel will be. The good news is that it is worth the time and effort.
Mann sets the story in the 14th century BC and makes Akhenaten the pharaoh who makes Joseph his vice-regent. A dominant topic of th ...more
I think I must have missed something about this book, it seemed rather unremarkable and didn't fit in with any other Mann book that I had read. The fraternal rivalries for the father's (apparently rather limited store of) affection seemed to echo Mann's own family dynamic. The idea that Potiphar's ...more
Simply astounding. This work deserves the highest ...more
Ik kan alleen maar toevoegen dat ik er enorm van heb genoten zowel wat taal en inhoud betreft. Ik ben geen bijbelkenner, maar heb wel het een en ander meegekregen in mijn opvoeding. Regelmatig had ik dan ook een soort Aha-Erlebnis in de zin van: daar heb ik wel eens van gehoord e ...more
It's a heavy tome, at almost 1500 pages. But it's really an essay (about 200 pages) and 4 novels that are published in one volume, so 5 separate literary works. The opening essay (sometimes called a Preface, sometimes a Prelude) is called the Descent into Hell but it isn't anything like Dante's Divine Comedy - no one bribes a ferryman, we're not shown any souls in torment. What Mann does is describe how incredibly far back in the past the story takes place, and how much farther back the tales th...more
Written over the course of sixteen years, Mann often considered it his best work. From the very first sentence: "Very deep is the well of the past, should we not call it bottomless?'", Mann recreates the story of Joseph, from his boyhood, his sale by his brothers into slavery, and his ri ...more
Thomas Mann 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 intel ...more
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