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Why should you be the only ones that sin?

Colm Tóibín, 5 September 1996

Thomas Mann: Eros and Literature 
by Anthony Heilbut.
Macmillan, 636 pp., £20, June 1996, 9780394556338
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Thomas Mann: A Biography 
by Ronald Hayman.
Bloomsbury, 672 pp., £20, March 1996, 0 7475 2531 5
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Thomas Mann: A Life 
by Donald Prater.
Oxford, 554 pp., £20, September 1995, 0 19 815861 0
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... books on Mann, however, each as long as Buddenbrooks, have appeared in English. Ronald Hayman and Donald Prater are Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to Anthony Heilbut’s Hamlet. They are dull and worthy and useful perhaps, and they repeat the same facts and the same narrative. Their desire for Mann to be a better person is almost comic. Heilbut has clearly ...

Poetry Inc.

Christopher Reid, 18 September 1986

A Ringing Glass: The Life of Rainer Maria Rilke 
by Donald Prater.
Oxford, 472 pp., £25, March 1986, 9780198157557
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Letters: Summer 1926 
by Boris Pasternak, Marina Tsvetayeva and Rainer Maria Rilke, edited by Yevgeny Pasternak and Yelena Pasternak.
Cape, 251 pp., £15, May 1986, 0 224 02376 4
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... To read Donald Prater’s biography of Rilke in the hope of getting to know the poet in depth would be a tantalising exercise. Lack of information is not the problem. There is no shortage of documentary evidence available to the investigator and Prater has made full use of it ...

Impossible Wishes

Michael Wood: Thomas Mann, 6 February 2003

The Cambridge Companion to Thomas Mann 
edited by Ritchie Robertson.
Cambridge, 257 pp., £45.50, November 2001, 9780521653107
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Thomas Mann: A Biography 
by Hermann Kurzke, translated by Leslie Willson.
Allen Lane, 582 pp., £30, January 2002, 0 7139 9500 9
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... scholars worry especially about his reputation in America and the UK. ‘For English readers,’ Donald Prater writes in his biography of Mann, ‘the humour of which he was so proud is faint.’ Prater is discussing the four Joseph novels (1933, 1934, 1936, 1943), but as far as I know English-speaking readers have ...

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