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  • Print publication year: 2004
  • Online publication date: April 2017

Foreword

Summary

The Companion to the Works of Thomas Mann is meant for readers of Thomas Mann's works who want to become familiar with the present state of scholarly discussion of his texts. We mean to address scholars, teachers, students of German or comparative literature, but we also want to include the many readers of Mann's writings in the English-speaking world who do not read German. For this reason quotations of Mann's texts were paraphrased or translated whenever it was possible without loss of meaning. Often, the German original was provided as well when the flavor of the original text made a quotation in German imperative.

We have chosen the original German texts, not the various English translations, as the basis for our discussion. Thus references are always to the German edition (the thirteen-volume edition of 1960–1974, since the new Frankfurt edition is just beginning to appear). For this reason, the titles of Mann's works are given in their original form and only translated the first time they occur in each essay. Most English renderings of Mann's texts are by the individual contributors. Some contributors have used existing translations if they were close enough to Mann's meaning.

Although we attribute equal importance to Mann's shorter narratives, we wanted to distinguish those clearly from the long novels. Publication records are often confusing. “Der Tod in Venedig,” for example, was designated a “Novelle” in its first printings. First published in the journal Neue Rundschau in 1911, it appeared in 1912 as a privately printed book (to add to the confusion: the text is a slightly older version than the one in the first printing) and in 1913 as a publicly available book with the revised text of the first printing. In 1922 it was included in a volume called “Novellen” with Mann's approval. Even though the title of this work is often quoted in italics, we decided to treat the work as a novella and place its title in quotation marks. We did the same with all the other shorter narratives, including “Herr und Hund” and “Die vertauschten Köpfe.” The latter works appeared first in book form but were subsequently included in collected volumes of stories.