This biography of the 20th century's greatest German writer brings to life the extraordinary talent and complex personality of Thomas Mann. We encounter the difficult, even unsavoury, private man: hypochondriac and nervous, narcissistic and vainglorious, isolated and greedy for love. But we are also introduced to a man who suffered exile and condemnation, who was capable of great kindness, doted on his daughters and was devoted to his art.;Kurzke provides fresh and sometimes startling insights into both famous and little-known episodes in Mann's life and into his writing itself - the only realm in which he ever felt free. Mann was forced by the rise of National Socialism first into inner exile and then into real exile in Switzerland, Princeton and California. His letters from this time reveal the torment that this represented for a writer whose work was inextricably bound up with the German language.;This work shows how love, death, religion and politics were not merely themes in "Buddenbrooks", "The Magic Mountain" and other writings. It also teases out what is known about what Mann considered his celibate homoeroticism and what others have labelled closeted homosexuality: in particular, we learn about his affection for the young man who inspired the character of Tadzio in "Death in Venice". And, against the unfocused accusations of anti-Semitism that have been levelled at Mann, Kurzke examines in human detail his relationships with Jewish writers, friends and family members.