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A collection of quotes and thoughts by Thomas Mann on writing, writers, struggle, authors, creative, solitude, beauty, death, love, evil, life, soul, joy and tolerance.

92 Best Thomas Mann Quotes

Quick Facts

Famous As: Novelist, Short Story Writer

Born On: June 6, 1875

Died On: August 12, 1955

Born In: Lübeck, Germany

Died At Age: 80

Thomas Mann was a renowned German novelist, social critic, essayist, short story writer and philanthropist, who was honored with the ‘Noble Prize' for literature. Initially, he was interested in pursuing a career in journalism and worked on increasing his intellect about his surroundings. After completing his studies, he landed up a job at a renowned insurance company. He started off his writing career by writing for a popular magazine called ‘Simplicissimus’. This was followed by his novel ‘Buddenbrooks’ which was very successful and established his reputation as a writer. This book portrays the life of a merchant family and is believed to be inspired by his family. He also collectively published his short stories by the title ‘Der Kleine Herr Friedemann’ which turned out to be one of the notable works of his career. He further published various successful novels including the trilogy ‘Joseph and his brothers’. The most popular work of his career is believed to be ‘Death in Venice’. In this book, he recorded all his struggles for being a bisexual and has personified his frustration in the form of a 14-year-old boy’s character in the book. Following are some notable quotes and thoughts by the acclaimed writer which have been extracted from the vast sea of his work. Take a look at the quotations and thoughts by Thomas Mann which will enlighten you about life.
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A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.

Thomas Mann

Solitude gives birth to the original in us, to beauty unfamiliar and perilous - to poetry. But also, it gives birth to the opposite: to the perverse, the illicit, the absurd.

Thomas Mann

It is love, not reason, that is stronger than death.

Thomas Mann

In books we never find anything but ourselves. Strangely enough, that always gives us great pleasure, and we say the author is a genius.

Thomas Mann

Tolerance becomes a crime when applied to evil.

Thomas Mann

Solitude produces originality, bold and astonishing beauty, poetry. But solitude also produces perverseness, the disproportianate, the absurd and the forbidden.

Thomas Mann

Laughter is a sunbeam of the soul.

Thomas Mann

No man remains quite what he was when he recognizes himself.

Thomas Mann

War is only a cowardly escape from the problems of peace.

Thomas Mann

He who loves the more is the inferior and must suffer.

Thomas Mann

There is only one real misfortune: to forfeit one's own good opinion of oneself. Lose your complacency, once betray your own self-contempt and the world will unhesitatingly endorse it.

Thomas Mann

There are so many different kinds of stupidity, and cleverness is one of the worst.

Thomas Mann

Art is the funnel, as it were, through which spirit is poured into life.

Thomas Mann

He probably was mediocre after all, though in a very honorable sense of that word.

Thomas Mann

I know I am talking nonsense, but I’d rather go rambling on, and partly expressing something I find it difficult to express, than to keep on transmitting faultless platitudes.

Thomas Mann

Yes, they are carnal, both of them, love and death, and therein lies their terror and their great magic!

Thomas Mann

A harmful truth is better than a useful lie.

Thomas Mann

All interest in disease and death is only another expression of interest in life.

Thomas Mann

Distance in a straight line has no mystery. The mystery is in the sphere.

Thomas Mann

I stand between two worlds. I am at home in neither, and I suffer in consequence. You artists call me a bourgeois, and the bourgeois try to arrest me...I don't know which makes me feel worse.

Thomas Mann

Thought that can merge wholly into feeling, feeling that can merge wholly into thought - these are the artist's highest joy.

Thomas Mann

He thought what a fine thing it was that people made music all over the world, even in the strangest settings – probably even on polar expeditions.

Thomas Mann

I tell them that if they will occupy themselves with the study of mathematics they will find in it the best remedy against the lusts of the flesh.

Thomas Mann

We do not fear being called meticulous, inclining as we do to the view that only the exhaustive can be truly interesting.

Thomas Mann

Only love, and not reason, yields kind thoughts.

Thomas Mann

Technology and comfort - having those, people speak of culture, but do not have it.

Thomas Mann

Order and simplification are the first steps towards mastery of a subject

Thomas Mann

I have always been an admirer, I regard the gift of admiration as indispensable if one is to amount to something; I don't know where I would be without it.

Thomas Mann

Forbearance in the face of fate, beauty constant under torture, are not merely passive. They are a positive achievement, an explicit triumph.

Thomas Mann

…What our age needs, what it demands, what it will create for itself, is—terror.

Thomas Mann

Innate in nearly every artistic nature is a wanton, treacherous penchant for accepting injustice when it creates beauty and showing sympathy for and paying homage to aristocratic privilege.

Thomas Mann

What good would politics be, if it didn’t give everyone the opportunity to make moral compromises.

Thomas Mann

What a wonderful phenomenon it is, carefully considered, when the human eye, that jewel of organic structures, concentrates its moist brilliance on another human creature!

Thomas Mann

Whoever loves the more is at a disadvantage and must suffer

Thomas Mann

He took in the squeaky music, the vulgar and pining melodies, because passion immobilizes good taste and seriously considers what soberly would be thought of as funny and to be resented.

Thomas Mann

A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.

Thomas Mann

Genius is a form of the life force that is deeply versed in illness, that both draws creatively from it and creates through it.

Thomas Mann

What pleases the public is lively and vivid delineation which makes no demands on the intellect; but passionate and absolutist youth can only be enthralled by a problem.

Thomas Mann

What an absurd torture for the artist to know that an audience identifies him with a work that, within himself, he has moved beyond and that was merely a game played with something in which he does not believe.

Thomas Mann

Solitude produces originality, bold & astonishing beauty, poetry. But solitude also produces perverseness, the disproportionate, the absurd, and the forbidden.

Thomas Mann

Passionate—that means to live for the sake of living. But one knows that you all live for sake of experience. Passion, that is self-forgetfulness. But what you all want is self-enrichment.

Thomas Mann

Speech is civilization itself. The word, even the most contradictory word, preserves contact—it is silence which isolates.

Thomas Mann

One always needs to be reminded; one is by no means always in possession of one’s whole self. Our consciousness is feeble; only in moments of unusual clarity and vision do we really know about ourselves.

Thomas Mann

Opinions cannot survive if one has no chance to fight for them.

Thomas Mann

Is not life in itself a thing of goodness, irrespective of whether the course it takes for us can be called a 'happy' one?

Thomas Mann

Mere knowledge of human psychology would in itself infallibly make us despondent if we were not cheered and kept alert by the satisfaction of expressing it.

Thomas Mann

Only death dignifies our sufferings in the eyes of others.

Thomas Mann

Myth is the foundation of life; it is the timeless pattern, the pious formula, into which life flows when it reproduces its traits out of the unconscious.

Thomas Mann

For I must tell you that we artists cannot tread the path of Beauty without Eros keeping company with us and appointing himself as our guide.

Thomas Mann

Is not the pastness of the past the more profound, the more legendary, the more immediately it falls before the present ?

Thomas Mann

Rather babble away and at least partially express something difficult than reproduce impeccable clichs

Thomas Mann

A stimulus is a stimulus. The body doesn't give a damn about the meaning of the stimulus. Whether minnows or communion, the sebaceous glands stand up erect.

Thomas Mann

The Ladies Buddenbrook from Breite Strasse did not weep, however - it was not their custom. Their faces, a little less caustic than usual at least, expressed a gentle satisfaction at death's impartiality.

Thomas Mann

Because man loves and honors man as long as he is not able to judge him, and desire is a product of lacking knowledge.

Thomas Mann

Čudno je to. Kad čoveka obuzme neka misao, onda je nalazi svuda, čak je i miriše u vetru.

Thomas Mann

What they, in their innocence, cannot comprehend is that a properly constituted, healthy, decent man never writes, acts, or composes.

Thomas Mann

...only the exhaustive can be truly interesting.

Thomas Mann

You will lead, you will strike up the march of the future, boys will swear by your name, and thanks to your madness they will no longer need to be mad.

Thomas Mann

Whoever is unable to stand up for an ideal with his person, his arm, his blood, is unworthy of that ideal, and no matter how intellectual one may become, what matters is that one remains a man.

Thomas Mann

Even the piquant can forfeit popularity if tied to something intellectual.

Thomas Mann

...when life still hesitates to touch us, when neither duty nor guilt dares lay a hand upon us

Thomas Mann

How can I free myself from sexuality? Eat nothing but rice?

Thomas Mann

Every reasonable human being should be a moderate Socialist.

Thomas Mann

To find peace in the presence of the faultless is the desire of the one who seeks excellence; and is not nothingness a form of perfection?

Thomas Mann

Travelers prove their lack of education if they make fun of the customs and values of their hosts, and the qualities that do a person honour are many and varied.

Thomas Mann

Passion-means to live for life's sake but I am well aware you Germans live for the sake of experience. Passion means to forget ones self. But you do things in order to enrich yourselves.

Thomas Mann

The sweet spot is where duty and delight converge.

Thomas Mann

The happiness of writers is the thought that can be entirely emotion and the emotion that can be entirely thought. Such a pulsing thought, such a

Thomas Mann

Man loves and honors man as long as he is not able to judge him, and desire is a product of lacking knowledge.

Thomas Mann

A human being lives out not only his personal life as an individual, but also, consciously or subconsciously, the lives of his epoch and his contemporaries

Thomas Mann

But what would be our readers’ reaction if we simply refused to get to the bottom of that question?

Thomas Mann

For the sake of goodness and love, man shall let death have no sovereignty over his thoughts.

Thomas Mann

Solitude gives birth to the original in us, to beauty, unfamiliar and perilous.

Thomas Mann

Almost every artistic nature is born with a revealing connoisseurial tendency that appreciates injustice so long as it results in beauty and applauds, even worships aristocratic privilege.

Thomas Mann

... a secret and ardent stirring within the frozen chastity of the universal.

Thomas Mann

Thoughts come c.early while one walks.

Thomas Mann

Like any lover, he desired to please; suffered agonies at the thought of failure.

Thomas Mann

And then he'd rub his cheeks with cold cream because he'd just shaved and the tears stung.

Thomas Mann

Deep is the well of the past. Should we not call it bottomless?

Thomas Mann

He was simply not a “hero”, which is to say, he did not let his relationship with the man be determined by the woman.

Thomas Mann

Solitude favors the original, the daringly and otherworldly beautiful, the poem. But it also favors the wrongful, the extreme, the absurd, and the forbidden.

Thomas Mann

The perishableness of life...imparts value, dignity, interest to life.

Thomas Mann

But he discovered that his thoughts and inspirations were like the intimations of a dream, which always seem inspired at the time but prove utterly shallow and useless to the waking mind.

Thomas Mann

The average man thinks that a little falseness goes with beauty.

Thomas Mann

It is impossible for ideas to compete in the marketplace if no forum for their presentation is provided or available.

Thomas Mann

Strangely fruitful intercourse this, between one body and another mind

Thomas Mann

...nearly everything great owes its existence to “despites”: despite misery and affliction, poverty, desolation, physical debility, vice, passion, and a thousand other obstacles.

Thomas Mann

.. that language could but extol, not reproduce, the beauties of the sense.

Thomas Mann

Thomas Buddenbrook's existence was no different from that of an actor - an actor whose lfe has become one long production, which but for a few hours for relaxation, consumes him unceasingly.

Thomas Mann

His steps were dictated by the demon who delights in destroying manfs reason and dignity.

Thomas Mann