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92 Best Thomas Mann Quotes

Famous As: German Novelist Who Won the 1929 Nobel Prize in Literature
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Laughter is a sunbeam of the soul.

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

A harmful truth is better than a useful lie.

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Only love, and not reason, yields kind thoughts.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

…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.

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.

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!

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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 ?

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

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

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

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?

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.

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.

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.

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
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

...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.

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.

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

...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?

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

Thomas Mann
Every reasonable human being should be a moderate Socialist.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Thomas Mann
Thoughts come c.early while one walks.

Thoughts come c.early while one walks.

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

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

...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.

.. 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 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.

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

Thomas Mann