Joseph and His Brothers

Joseph and His Brothers

Summary

Thomas Mann regarded his monumental retelling of the biblical story of Joseph as his magnum opus. He conceived of the four parts-The Stories of Jacob, Young Joseph, Joseph in Egypt, and Joseph the Provider-as a unified narrative, a "mythological novel" of Joseph's fall into slavery and his rise to be lord over Egypt. Deploying lavish, persuasive detail, Mann conjures for us the world of patriarchs and pharaohs, the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Palestine, and the universal force of human love in all its beauty, desperation, absurdity, and pain. The result is a brilliant amalgam of humor, emotion, psychological insight, and epic grandeur.

Now the award-winning translator John E. Woods gives us a definitive new English version of Joseph and His Brothers that is worthy of Mann's achievement, revealing the novel's exuberant polyphony of ancient and modern voices, a rich music that is by turns elegant, coarse, and sublime.

About the author

Thomas Mann

Thomas Mann was born in 1875 in Lubeck, of a line of prosperous and influential merchants. He was only twenty-five when Buddenbrooks, his first major novel, was published. Before it was banned and burned by Hitler, it had sold over a million copies in Germany alone.

His second great novel, The Magic Mountain, was published in 1924 and the first volume of his tetralogy Joseph and his Brothers in 1933. In 1929 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. In 1933 Thomas Mann left Germany for Switzerland. Then, after several previous visits, in 1938 he settled in the United States, where he wrote Doctor Faustus and The Holy Sinner. Among the honours he received in the US was his appointment as a Fellow of the Library of Congress. He revisited his native country in 1949 and returned to Switzerland in 1952, where The Black Swan and Confessions of Felix Krull were written and where he died in 1955.
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