CURSED LEGACY
The Tragic Life of Klaus Mann

FREDERIC SPOTTS
352pp 16 ILLUS 2016 LIST PRICE: £30.00 B922

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Description
Son of Thomas Mann, homosexual, drug-addicted and forced to flee from his fatherland, the writer Klaus Mann’s comparatively short life was as artistically productive as it was devastatingly dislocated. Best-known today as the author of Mephisto, the literary enfant terrible of the Weimar era produced seven novels, a dozen plays, four biographies and three autobiographies -- among them the first works in Germany to tackle gay issues. He was among the first to take up his pen against the Nazis, as a reward for which he was blacklisted and denounced as a dangerous half-Jew, his books burnt in public squares, and his citizenship revoked. Having served with the US military in Italy, he was nevertheless undone by anti-Communist fanatics in Cold War-era America and Germany, dying in France at age forty-two. Compulsively readable, this biography charts the effects of reactionary politics on art and literature and tells the story of a talent destroyed by personal circumstance and the seismic events of the twentieth century.