❰PDF / Epub❯ ☉ Joseph und seine Brüder Author Thomas Mann – Sharkmotorcyclehelmets.co.uk



10 thoughts on “Joseph und seine Brüder

  1. says:

    What a truly amazing accomplishment this is, and as I say that it occurs to me that I am referring not just to Mann s writing it, but to my finishing reading it 1492 pages introductions, that s my high water mark, the biggest single book I ve ever read by a considerable margin A daunting book, no doubt It s also beautiful, erudite, enthralling, one of the best books I ve read in my lifetime.Okay, so this is one big damn book Intimidating, right A turgid Teutonic trudge through the second half of the book of Genesis, bloated to a gargantuan 1500 pages One might think so, but luckily the pleasures contained therein are directly proportional to its immense size This is Mann s masterpiece, not The Magic Mountain, estimable though that book is Of course, I haven t read them all, merely this one, Magic Mountain, and Buddenbrooks, so how can I possibly make that determination Simply because it is the God s honest truth This is Mann in top form here, the necromancer breathing life into the lungs and infusing warm, red blood into the crusty, dusty stories of people who died long ago, assuming they ever existed I m not going to make that presumption It s an historical novel and a novel of ideas BIG ideas, perhaps the biggest , but at its heart it is a family drama, Buddenbrooks than The Magic Mountain.And what a family are these sons of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob You either know the stories by heart or you don t I didn t, at least not very well I had fuzzy memories of childhood Sunday School classes, learning about Joseph s coat of many colors and Jacob s cheating his brother out of his inheritance, but really, I was just there for the cookies, inadequately sweetened Kool Aid, and a short game of kickball outside, so a Biblical scholar I was not However, I think unfamiliarity with the subject matter is actually a boon to your enjoyment of the book Not that intimate Old Testament knowledge would necessarily be a detriment, because as Mann continually reminds the reader, everybody knows the story and how it ends, with the subtle implication of Yes, but not told by me you haven t, so sit down, shut up, and enjoy Those that are very devout may find that the text conflicts with their own personal dogma, so there could be trouble there And on the opposite end of the spectrum, there are those that are repulsed by the very idea of reading something based on The Bible ptooey These two extremes may just be a lost cause On the other hand, if you re like me and you just have some vague, half remembered notions of messes of pottage and ladies turning into pillars of salt, you like historical novels, and you re interested in the myths and legends of ancient peoples of various creeds, you re probably right in the sweet spot.This is a marvelous book that is going right to the tippy top of my favorites list It s so rich and engaging that as I reached the magnificent, very moving conclusion, I felt a profound sense of loss because I was leaving this world that I had felt a part of for so long Until it gradually works it s way out of my system, I m afraid Joseph and His Brothers is going to ruin other books for me for a little while It s one of those books that I ll treasure the experience of forever Read it Read it, you fools


  2. says:

    A six star masterpiece of authority, erudition, execution, insight, wisdom, relevance, characterization, and epic adventure Move over, The Magic Mountain this one deserves your reputation and readership Despite 1492 dense Everyman s Library pages, this one is much engaging, moving, thematically hefty, and its incorporation of ancient history, mythology, and DETAIL often boggles than numbs the mind There s an older translation with biblical language, but this one by Woods flows like Tolstoy s take on a bit of the Old Testament It s Mann, though you can tell by the gentle irony, massive doses of description, ridiculous depth of knowledge, and of course the old man s authorial crush on his pretty boy proto ubermensch, proto Christ, super Jew protagonist, Joseph The story as a whole suggests the story of Jesus, as well as the story of Osiris, but what I found interesting was the subtle, intentionally ambiguous critique of Nazi Germany at times Joseph is the arrogant Aryan superman, at times his brothers are the brownshirts, at times Egypt is the aggressive expansionist empire Toward the end, the story suggests post Depression era New Deal programs and Soviet collectivism Like all great lit, this one explicitly champions ambiguity Joseph is thrown into a well by his brothers a scene that rivals maybe even surpasses the one in The Magic Mountain when Hans is lost in the snow while skiing and sold into slavery, but it s all ultimately part of a playful holy game God plays on the brothers Beyond exceptional social, historical, and theological thematic stuff, Mann s storytelling skills are ridiculous He s long winded at times, sure He says in short and then rips off a meaty summarizing paragraph But he s so in control and does such an extraordinary job of orientating the reader I at least never felt lost, never wondered who was talking I m looking at you, Proust , always felt right there in the desert with soft spoken Rueben with his column legs, cross eyed Leah, Rachel with the beautiful eyes, little Benjamin, on and on So many characters, all of them with their reinforced distinguishing traits over several hundred pages Very few women, most of them either idealized beautiful mother lovers or sultry and deceitful witch temptresses, but there are two freaking dwarves in this DWARVES One even gets cudgeled by his master as things almost veer toward comedy Especially toward the end, it s good clean fun when the narrator often directly addresses the reader, but all along you feel Mann leading you through the story, in absolute control of its every aspect, including giving it air and life Considering that this extrapolates a few opaque lines in the bible into 1492 pages written over 16 years coinciding with the rise fall of the Third Reich considering that this monumental novel about some of the earliest Jews was written while Mann s country exterminated six million of their mid 20th century vintage and tried to take over the world this might be a prime example of high lit heroic insurgency At times it reads like he s raising a huge middle finger and directing it at his tragically misguided homeland But it s than that There s wisdom, instruction, even a few moments of magic, and hope that it s all part of God s plan, even the worldwide horror of WWII Anyway, towering literary artistry to the nth degree Considering how long it takes to read this one, the 40 hardback is totally worth it plus it comes with one of those snazzy built in bookmark ribbons.


  3. says:

    I don t think I ve ever read 1500 pages this quickly The remarkable thing is that it was so easy The writing pulled me along with a combination of great storytelling, philosophy, history, psychology, humor, character study, politics basically everything I love mixed together perfectly At times it felt like an adventure story At other times like reading the encyclopedia if the encyclopedia were fun to read Still other times I was moved to tears, my heart aching for these characters and their plights The pages flew by And all these pages for what For telling a story that took up a measly few chapters in Genesis, a story I already knew from bible study long ago although my memory is hazy in many parts That s the thing though The way Mann tells it, it doesn t matter if you know the story or not because that s the point of a myth that it exists outside of time, and therefore it recurs and every time as if for the first time In this book, Mann was able to do justice to that idea of recurrence, because he was able to bring out the humanity in the characters behind the story so that for the first time I could clearly see the complex psychologies, the cultural, historical, and or personal reasons behind all of the surface action Nevermind if those reasons may not be the real ones, nobody knows for sure, what matters is that everything made so much sense to my reality that I believed them completely at the moment of their telling By making these people real, Mann also reveals layers of moral ambiguity that wasn t in the original He introduces us to these characters and their situations anew, and adds the necessary complexity to muddy the waters of simple Good vs Evil.And I don t mean he just humanizes the main characters, but also the minor characters Characters like Tamar and Mai Sakhme a character who doesn t even have a name in the Bible, but was simply called the keeper of the prison , which I do not remember hearing about in bible study probably because 1 they are racy sexy violent stories 2 because often these characters are complex in a way that doesn t fit in and therefore are inconvenient or 3 there was just no need to expand into the backgrounds of characters that do not matter in the bigger scheme of God s plans although there is reason enough for us, and for Mann, because we are interested in humanity than divinity Sometimes they are powerful clever women, or sometimes they are good people who just happened to not believe in the God of the Bible They don t fit into the myth in the way that it is traditionally told It was amusing when I went back to read the Bible s version of Tamar s story And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother s wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother After reading Mann s version, I realized that that Bible passage is bending over backwards just to avoid giving the woman Tamar any agency And because it s doing all these contortions, the logic of the story suffers it makes no sense and never has without seriously reading between the lines, which is what Mann does for us.But Mann not only humanizes his characters, he also humanizes God For isn t God the one character that Mann himself would relate to most, being afterall the God of this book That this God s name is Mann only makes it all the delicious By creating a world and breathing life into it with words, isn t he also implicated in this story as a co author of these people s fates So that humanizing God comes natural to him, and by plumbing into the depths of His psychology, Mann does Him justice, for His actions are often puzzling until you think of Him as faulty and therefore subject to analysis, scrutiny even sympathy Think of Him as motivated by a psychology no different than ours, by jealousies, insecurities, weaknesses, and self deceptions.As you can see, Mann takes many liberties with these stories Anyone with a fundamentalist faith in the literal truth of the Bible would probably have fits reading this But we need not concern ourselves with those people, since those who only have faith in the literal word have no faith at all, seeing as God himself isn t literal but is the epitome of figurative truth, a divine metaphor if you will note this is just my opinion, not Mann s Mann has no qualms about making up new characters I m pretty sure there were no midgets in the original version, but I m glad they re here and by the way, those midgets though a bit two dimensional than the other characters, they had me cracking up uncontrollably on many occasions , new situations, even correcting the Bible He will often come right out and acknowledge that the Bible says one thing, but that what really happened was fuzzy hard to define clearly, and that it was streamlined over the years for certain understandable reasons I found the voice of this narrator, in his sobering adherence to logic and common sense, his knowledge of the different political situations at the time, the historical context, and the customs and people of that region, to be strangely comforting I trusted him because I was able to see who all the other gods were that other tribes at the time were worshipping and how this tied in politically to whatever larger systems were going on in the region I felt secure in his all knowing ness, even though I too knew that this was a game, much like Joseph s Holy Game No one is being tricked here, in this game of fiction, although we are all at the same time being tricked, willingly For don t we all know that there is no possible way for Mann to know all these facts down to the minutest of details But that is exactly what he provides for us Instead of 7 years passed as some accounts would have it, Mann gives us page after page and most of them quite entertaining of years passing And we drink it up For the suspension of belief required in reading a novel is not that different from the one that inspires religious nutcases to mouth such delusions as everything happens for a reason and God works in mysterious ways It is now time for me to go all apeshit on certain main themes of the book, and my theories on those themes Here is where you should tune out before it s too late, if you don t care for this kind of stuff.And here, to be sure, what we have to say flows into a mystery in which our own information gets lost the mystery, that is, of an endless past in which every origin proves to be just an illusory stopping place, never the final goal of the journey, and its mystery is based on the fact that by its very nature the past is not a straight line, but a sphere The line knows no mystery Mystery lies in the sphere But a sphere consists of complements and correspondences, a doubled half that closes to a unity it consists of an upper and a lower, a heavenly and an earthly hemisphere in complement with one another as a whole, so that what is above is also below and whatever may happen in the earthly portion is repeated in the heavenly, the latter rediscovering itself in the former This corresponding interchange of two halves that together build the whole of a closed sphere is analogous to another kind of objective change rotation The sphere rolls that is the nature of the sphere In an instant top is bottom and bottom top, if one may even speak in the generalities of bottom and top in such a case It is not just that the heavenly and the earthly recognize themselves in each other, but thanks to spherical rotation the heavenly also turns into the earthly, the earthly into the heavenly, clearly revealing, indeed yielding the truth that gods can become human and that, on the other hand, human beings can become gods again To tell a story is to inevitably deal with the passage of time, either explicitly or implicitly The best storytellers, in my opinion, do both at the same time I already mentioned the implicit bit a little earlier, how Mann has a, let s say, natural predisposition for piling detail on top of detail, but in such a fully realized world that it is almost never boring What happens in those seven years is told in details, tangents, smaller inconsequential stories But what matters is that the pages are there, as a placeholder for time passing I felt the journey that Joseph made with the merchants that took seven times seventeen days or thereabouts , I felt those long days viscerally as I read page after page before finally seeing the outskirts of Egypt on the horizon I m reminded of certain passages in Moby Dick that seemed to me to reflect time s slabbiness my word or even the section of 2666 with all the deaths though nothing in this book even comes close to that type of exhausting ness The surprising thing is that even though those pages are there and its passage of time is registered in my consciousness, those pages were in no way fillers They were entertaining and full of interesting tidbits so that the words almost leapt up to greet my eyes, to borrow a phrase from Eliezer.As for the explicit mention of time Musil had his pendulum, swinging from one extreme to the other with no stops in between Mann s conception of time as a sphere is not that different And the idea of time being cyclic in itself is not all that earth shattering What s interesting for me here is his blending of heaven and earth, of how Gods become human and humans become God yes, there are many references to Jesus in this book, if you were wondering One must also think of the storyteller s parallel mission of making the mythic historic and the historic mythic.Simply by choosing Jacob and Joseph s story, Mann deals with mythic time, by which I mean a story that exists outside of time, a timeless story, and one that necessarily repeats over and over like a motif with slight variations at each iteration Mann makes us focus on a story which we are continually reminded is part of a much larger work, in which stories before and after it are echoed time and again that this is necessarily a story in the middle of a story, as all stories should be, without beginning or end.By creating a narrative echo chamber, he reminds us that these are not isolated events, but are part of a series that conform to a mythic template Even his characters echo these stories to each other, for they are actors in this tradition and must know their roles He echos things in the past Abram, Noah and in the future Jesus and by so doing implies that it doesn t matter which story we are telling because we are telling all the stories of the bible as well as other mythic traditions at the same time It feels almost fractal in nature you can zoom in or out as much as you like, you are still going to get the same general shape The small story is echoed in the large story and vice versa.But here the sphere turns and the mythic turns historic Mann places the myth which is timeless in a very specific reality To be sure, these stories were set in a specific time all along, but not with such detail to the facts of chronology, not with such painstaking concern for the illusion of verisimilitude In a way, the original stories could have happened at any time But Mann s insistence on taking these stories, which were previously in a vacuum, isolated to their own lessons only, and surrounding them in the sometimes inconvenient reality of culture, not just one culture but multiple cultures, clans, tribes, religions, sects, political groups, allows us to see that the things happening here are part of a much larger non homogenous real world, and other traditions stories are happening in concert with what s central here, and each tradition sees itself as the center around which all others revolve.At what point does flesh and blood become story, narrative, myth, and legend And at what point does the sphere revolve yet again and from these mythic figures mere humans are spat out in all their complex and messy particularities


  4. says:

    4.5 5 For it is good, consoling, and useful that phrases of lamentation from the early days of beleaguered humanity are preserved and lie at the ready, suitable for later and present occasions as if made for them, in order to ease the pain of life to whatever extent words can ease it, so that one may make use of them and join one s suffering with ancient and ever present pain. I take religion seriously My being an atheist doesn t mean I can t recognize the worth of belief s various forms, for when your brain tells you to kill yourself as often as mine does, the fact that history has countless communal mainstays of replenishment backed by ritual celebration and ethical paradigms with an eye on extending forever tells me many someones out there knew what they were doing I do not believe in a higher power, but I was raised Catholic enough that I have the right to be married in one of the monotheism s churches if I so desire, and as a result I draw deeply from enculturated frameworks of appreciation for stained glass windows, choir music, and theological debate Seeing as how a variation of my creed, a creed which in its older form took a number of centuries to say yes to the idea that my prescribed gender may indeed have souls, is being used as an excuse for forced public stripping and drone strikes, religious dialects are in my best interest We are easily moved to call some situation unbearable it is the protest of fiercely outraged humanity, well intended and even beneficial for the person suffering Yet such protest may easily also seem a bit ridiculous to someone whose reality is unbearable The thing about this story that Mann stretched to nearly 1500 pages of epic is, it s about Jewish people He wrote the first volume before fleeing Germany during the Antisemitism event of the century, so one would hope he had some sense of what it meant for him, someone who is not Jewish, to take up this Old Testament aka Torah aka what everyone thinks shitting on amounts as a clever critique of Christianity when really all you re doing is parading your bigotry story It s not as simple as proclaiming the Bible is close to universal and so is fair game to anyone who has a mind to play off of it literature style It s about this persecution of an ethnoreligious group of people who have been ghettoized and appropriated and filtered through tropes like witches and goblins literally for millenia A good proportion of the world s non Jewish population is familiar with the story of Joseph and his brothers, but does it know who it came from Does it care If you want the specifics of what passed by me as humanity and what paraded around as stereotype, see my updates He was not what is good, but what is all And He was holy Reading this work is akin to stepping into a room full of conversation and having your attention caught by one particularly strident to the point of frolicking glee voice which is as busy generating material as it is contesting every previously brought up point in a history of arguments I m sure my MFA believing prof would ve keeled over at the hundreds of pages of introspection that made it quite clear that since everyone knows all the details about the journey it was going to enjoy taking its time thank you very much Now, Mann s got a way with words and sentences and paragraphs and everything that probably immeasurably shaped my four year younger self s tastes when he got to me through The Magic Mountain Four years later, that s what I was looking for, and in the first two volumes that mixed with a healthy dose of my beloved critically empathetic eye on spirituality at its very essence of continued existence is what I got Later on, when the women and the black people showed up, that warbling voice filled up with pathetic excuses of tropes, and no further excuses of translation or intentional fallacy will give me back the time I wasted over poorly drawn characters, rape culture, and lazy essentialism The poor man would have to be able to do it, and it was just like God to pay so little regard to what humans imagine themselves capable of. It s still Mann, though There s a reason why he s still an absolute favorite I still laughed and bawled and pondered my guts out I m still going to reread MM in less than ten years, and I m likely to even pick up this behemoth again around the time I hit the aged range of Jacob s sons around his death bed These days, if I m going to read nearly 1500 pages written by a white man, each one better be a fucking fantastic page, and I m not going to spare a single one out of some misbegotten goat of an idea that Mann can t take it I d want the entire corporate framework that makes a miniseries out of this be Jewish take your conspiracy stereotype and shove it up your ass Also, black Jewish people exist , but I still want it For a man who, contrary to all justice and reason, uses power simply because he has it one can only laugh at him If not today, then sometime in the future and it is the future we shall hold to. Those who want an unequivocal judgment of good, those who want an unequivocal judgment of bad make do.


  5. says:

    Having developed a taste for Thomas Mann and a hobby reading modern reworkings of biblical themes, I was quite pleased to obtain a copy of the tetrology, Joseph and His Brothers, during the last semester in college I was even pleased during the reading of it.Mann wrote Joseph during the rise of Nazism in his homeland, finishing it during his North American exile One wonders how much the political experiences of his life during this period influenced the book with its themes of rejection, exile and return.One thing is certain Mann did his homework The biblical period covered by the narrative is Genesis 27 50 This becomes ca 1420 1320 BCE by his calculation and his representation of the times in the Middle East and Egypt is quite plausible His representation of the Hebrew mythical imagination and tradition, however, is outstanding The stories of the patriarchs come alive in their retelling of a story within a story.Mann considered Joseph and His Brothers his crowning achievement I strongly agree.


  6. says:

    Symphonic ironies I was not expecting that sudden Marxist digression in the last fifty pages I guess he was Lukacs s favorite author for a reason.Love death, recognition forgiveness There s a lot here May try and write out some thoughts about it later.thoughts In the underworld one finds only filth and goldThis year 2017 I m trying to hedge my bets for the apocalypse by reading both Marx and the Bible Among many other things, this gargantuan novel cycle is a meditation on the universal human capacity to become an instrument of god s self awareness After a good 1,500 pages, Mann leaves this becoming curiously arrested With a little wink, the author hints that Joseph s triumph may also be its opposite A beautiful homecoming in which he just happens to lead his people into the land of their enslavement Thus, I was a bit frustrated in my impatience to find direct insight into the end times, but then how could it be otherwise While I wouldn t necessarily call him a comic writer, Mann certainly is fond of winking His prose may appear relatively conventional next to the likes of Joyce Nonetheless, through the use of irony and the interplay of ideas he s able to create a dizzying labyrinth Not that it s a perfect There were times reading it when I got hopelessly bogged down, all momentum grinding to a halt I d still say Magic Mountain is probably Mann s greatest novel It s the one where he was most successful at wedding the demands of the novel with the philosophical essay, making ideas novelistic Here, as well as in Dr Faustus, ideas sometimes fits awkwardly with plot Even so, I do think Joseph and His Brothers is a book I ll be reading the rest of my life Never going to really get to the bottom of it The last hundred pages or so are truly something to behold Without sacrificing any complexity, Mann is able to give an incredibly moving depiction of forgiveness.


  7. says:

    Let s get the gushing fanboy raving out of the way first this book only serves to solidify for me that Thomas Mann was one of the greatest writers of the 20th century, a true literary titan In my opinion it manages to be better than Buddenbrooks The Decline of a Family, The Magic Mountain, and Doctor Faustus and, truth be told, I find it amazing that he managed to write a book better than Doctor Faustus I ve still not read The Confessions of Felix Krull, Confidence Man The Early Years which I will remedy shortly and am hesitant to dive too quickly into his other, non John E Woods translated works but I feel confident in stating that this book here is his masterpiece, a work of stunning, staggering genius.Enough of that.This book or, specifically, these books, though I will continue to reference it as a single work from here on out manages to capture both the level of detail of ostentation and finery and the macro generational scope of Buddenbrooks The Decline of a Family, and also incorporates the philosophical nature of The Magic Mountain, and then manages to exceed the sum of its parts It is a book that is eloquent, expansive, thoughtful, and, at the same time, readable in a way few books are, especially those that are near 1500 pages in length This is a book that demands the reader s attention, and, once it has received it, refuses to relinquish it until the final pages.In short, this is a dizzying, head long rush of a read, and one that is over all too soon it is a quick 1500 pages.Thomas Mann s BibleI did some math because I m a dork to figure out just how expansive of a work this really is Barring asides and allusions to earlier verses trying to only count those chapters that Mann writes about in depth Mann s story is a retelling of 807 verses from Genesis, which he has managed to expand to, as previously noted, damn near 1500 pages So, were Mann to apply this treatment to the Bible as a whole, then Mann s Bible would come in at just around 57,504 pages I have to confess, I d read it.From a biblical chronology perspective oh, I suppose this is a spoiler if you re unfamiliar with the story of Joseph and his brothers , the book begins with Jacob obtaining The Blessing from Isaac through deception, and ends with the death of Jacob Being a good church going sort when I was a child, I thought I was pretty familiar with this narrative the story of Joseph s brother s selling him into slavery is a favorite of Sunday School teachers for some reason and yet I found myself stunningly ignorant of much of the story being told I read the first half without looking at any of the source text the fine discourses as Mann likes to call them and figured that much of the detail provided by Mann was his invention to give the story a sense of cohesion About halfway through I wondered over and read the original verses covered up to that point and I was quite surprised by how much was actually in the original In fact, one of the ways in which Mann succeeds so admirably in this book is in his detailed reading of the scriptures, and his insistence in ensuring that every tiny detail is incorporated into the story But, of course, Mann is actually aware of the higher level skimming that most readers of the bible utilize, and relishes his knowledge We look around our audience and see a light of recognition on only a very few scattered faces Apparently the vast majority of those who have gathered here to learn the precise circumstances of this story do not recall, are not even aware of some of its basic facts We ought to take exception to this that is, if such general ignorance were not just what the narrator wanted and can only be of use to him by increasing the value of his work. So, this is a work that is deeply biblical, but at the same time is imbued with a heavy dose of modernity, and the stories recounted are and handled by Mann with a great deal of sensibility, filtered through the lens of myths, not only biblical, but those existing at the time in the area as well More on that in a moment.The PrefaceThe book begins with an overview of the stories that came before the Jacob Joseph chapters in the bible, and in recounting those stories, manages to bring into focus the modern filter that will be utilized throughout the text All this is to be accepted only with caution or at least must be correctly interpreted We are dealing with late and tendentious interpolations, whose purpose is to find in God s intention from earliest times a sanction for political arrangements established much later by force of arms. So, in examining how the idea of God of Elohim was born from the myths and gods of the time, in looking at the myth of the great flood, and of the tower of Babel, Mann brings in the other, parallel myths of the area, and show that the Flood, the Tower, are only occurrences, and later occurrences at that that there were earlier floods and earlier towers Deep is the well of the past Should we not call it bottomless Mann also focuses on the biblical integration of myth into genealogy he chooses to view the relationships between Terah the father of Abraham referred to in the book as the man of Ur or the moon wanderer and Abraham and Isaac and Eliezar as both real and compactly mythical He acknowledges the primal Abraham, and the Primal Isaac, and the Primal Eliezar the issue of course being that the bible being taken literally has these individuals living for hundreds of years and then shows instead that these names and the roles associated are handed down through generations, and that within the genealogical tradition that Joseph is born into that the individuals, with their names and the depth of history attached to each, that the Isaac who gave birth to Jacob who gave birth to Joseph and the Eliezar who mentored Joseph are not the Primal individuals themselves, but generational descendants and representations of those Primal figures Mann, at a point later in the book, refers to this as the timeless and supra individual consolidation of a given type At times Joseph considered the moon wanderer even to be his own great grandfather, but that must be most sternly dismissed from the realm of possibility. Much time is spent on this in the book and I think the way Mann handles this is important Mann is not trying to dimiss the bible and it s accounts in its entirety much from the stories the mandrake being found, the truth of The Blessing is left intact and treated as literal he is instead attempting to disentangle the purely mythical, those remnants of truly tribal mythology, from what instead should be viewed as the facts of the story he is attempting to tell Mann and the MonomythI noted above that this book managed to incorporate elements of both Buddenbrooks The Decline of a Family and The Magic Mountain, but really, as I was reading this book, I thought that it was Buddenbrooks The Decline of a Family meets The Magic Mountain with a deep reading of Joseph Campbell mixed in Of course, the problem with that, is that when Mass finished the fourth and final book 16 years after began the first Campbell was still six years away from publishing The Hero With a Thousand Faces, and in fact published his very first book the same year that Mann concluded this tetralogy The truly amazing thing is that Campbell was exposed to Mann s writing when Campbell was studying in Europe in the late 1920 s, and Mann s work would prove a lifelong influence on Campbell, and not the other way around.And, truth be told, Mann is not at all interested in attempting the unifying view of mythology that Campbell would develop, but Mann is deeply interested in the way that Babylonian religions and religious practices influenced the stories found in Genesis In the same way, he dives into the nature of the repetition and recurrence of the great myths that Campbell would later explore in much greater detail The level of detail that Mann goes into around the various gods and beliefs and practices during the time of the story is truly awe inspiring, and it s obvious why this work took 16 years to complete While Mann does not go out of his way to ensure that details of everyday life are during the time are fully explored, what he instead focuses on is creating an accurate, living philosophical portrait of the time.It should be stated though, while Mann is definitely interested in demythologizing the biblical narrative, he is not in fact attempting to discount it, or dismiss it out of hand If this were an invented tale and we regarded it as our task merely for the sake of momentary entertainment and with the tacit agreement of our audience to lend the appearance of reality to spurious fables, what we have to report here would surely be taken as humbug, as immoderate bravado, and we would not be spared the reproach of having been carried away by the plot and of trumping it with a tall tale just to stun the reader s credulity, which surely has its limits All the better then, that this is not our role, that instead we rely upon facts as reported by tradition, which are no less unshakable in that they are not known to everyone or that some of them will be news to some people. Joseph and his BrothersWhile the first book of the tetralogy focuses extensively on Jacob, his flight from Esau, his marriages, and the birth of his children and the birth of Benjamin will break your heart , the remainder of the book is instead focused on the titular relationship and resulting ramifications between Joseph and his brothers It should be stated that the main event of the narrative Joseph s brother s selling him into slavery does not appear until page 500, and from there it s not until page 586 that Joseph enters Egypt, and from that it s not until 661 that Joseph enters Potiphar s house So Mann is going to take his damn time, and tell the story with as many words as he wants to And completely unsurprising, not only due to the size of the book, but also due to Mann s eloquence and elucidation there are a lot of words here Mann is never content to utilize 1 word where 100 will work instead But hopefully you know that, and hopefully its part of what drives you to read this book Mann is a joy to read for those who love to read, who love to relish the words on the page, and want them to pour forth unceasingly, and this book delivers, over and over, throughout its 1500 pages Mann manages to bring to life every character about which he writes he develops extensive backstories for characters who bear only passing mention in the original biblical accounts, he explores their motivations and makes sense of events that are jarring in their suddenness Lie with me in the source text And he manages to create, in Joseph, one of the all time great literary characters, imbuing him with beautiful, pulsating, glowing life So there are words here, words in abundance, but they all feel needed in Mann s hands, and this book overflows with an abundance of eloquence and masterful prose.It is, in fact, one of the finest books I ve ever read and I was sad to see it end and, as the reader reaches the final stretch it s obvious that Mann is as well, but recognizes the necessity of the end We are astonished to note that this story is moving toward its end who would have thought it could ever run dry and come to an end But ultimately it no has an end than it actually had a beginning, and instead, since it cannot possibly go on forever like this, it must at some point excuse itself and simply cease its narration It must, if reason is to prevail, come to a conclusion because it has none for in the face of what is endless, conclusion is an act of reason, since, proverbially at least, reason knows when to yield. Finis operis.


  8. says:

    Lengthy retelling of the Joseph story from the Bible that I borrowed from the University library at the end of term and read outside on stone benches moving about from one to another trying to catch the sun.I think I must have missed something about this book, it seemed rather unremarkable and didn t fit in with any other Mann book that I had read The fraternal rivalries for the father s apparently rather limited store of affection seemed to echo Mann s own family dynamic The idea that Potiphar s wife represented Mann himself is vaguely interesting but currently I see no reason to return to it I noticed in one review the point was made that it was a anti nazi work of resistance, although it seems to me since at the time Mann was in exile in the USA that it is a remarkably feeble one.


  9. says:

    Quanti sono i modi di dire io La Bibbia non solo un libro sacro, anche un contenitore straordinario di infinite storie Mann ne prende una, quella di Giuseppe, ci scrive quattro romanzi e ne fa il suo capolavoro.Quasi 2500 pagine che ripercorrono avanti e indietro il passato mitico con gli occhi del presente Mann ci fa viaggiare in questa antichissima storia come se ne facessimo parte, facendocela vedere con i nostri occhi, rendendola attuale, moderna Perch non ha nessuna importanza che una vicenda sia accaduta quattromila anni fa o adesso essa diventa parte di noi perch parla di noi, perch ci riguarda.Quasi 2500 pagine in cui si intrecciano politica, religione, ricostruzione storica, caratteri, atmosfere, e poi ancora potere, sesso, a, tradimenti, invidie e molto altro ancora ironico, profondo, storicamente dettagliato un capolavoro senza tempo Giacch noi camminiamo su orme, e tutta la vita non che un riempire di presente le forme del mito.


  10. says:

    Deep is the well of the past Should we not call it bottomless Opening linesThis is the fastest I ve ever read 1500 pages Review to come eventually, if at all.


This Remarkable New Translation Of The Nobel Prize Winner S Great Masterpiece Is A Major Literary EventThomas 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 GrandeurNow 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 Front Flap