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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter November 10, 2015

Reading The Magic Mountain in Arizona: Susan Sontag’s Reflections on Thomas Mann

Kai Sina
From the journal Naharaim

Abstract

Susan Sontag’s visit to Thomas Mann on December 28, 1949 has, until now, tended to be treated as a parenthetical anecdote, a biographical curiosity – or, indeed, to be ignored altogether. The truly interesting question of the consequences of Sontag’s encounter with Mann and his work has not even come close to being answered. This article explores how Sontag’s – often partially autobiographical – statements concerning Thomas Mann combine reflections on authorship and storytelling with thoughts about Germany and, in particular, about the Shoah. Building on this, a further, more general question emerges: what role do the essayist’s secular Jewish origins play in her encounter with the German writer?

Published Online: 2015-11-10
Published in Print: 2015-11-1

© 2015 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston