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Bertolt Brecht Turns 100: A Web Exhibit

Heinrich Mann: His Final Years. Drawings, Letters and Manuscripts
Exiled to Paradise Kurt Weill and Lion Feuchtwanger: Collaborations and Connections
Feuchtwanger as a Manuscripts Collector    

Heinrich Mann: His Final Years
Drawings, Letters, and Manuscripts

Doheny Memorial Library

May 3, 1993 - July 15, 1993

Heinrich Mann, one of the foremost German writers of the twentieth century, lived almost penniless and seemingly forgotten in Los Angeles for nearly a decade before his death in 1950. Heinrich Mann was the elder brother of Nobel Prize winning novelist Thomas Mann. Despite his name and literary stature, Heinrich Mann remained virtually unknown in this country. By contrast, in Germany, Heinrich had been both respected by fellow writers and popular with readers, perhaps even more so than his brother, in pre-Hitler years.

Heinrich Mann began actively pursuing a career in writing in the 1890s after failing as a publisher's apprentice. He first began as a critic and editor, then turned his talents to short stories and novels. The novel Im Schlaraffenland (In the Land of Cockaigne), published in 1901, proved his literary skill. Although he had achieved a degree of literary success in the period before World War I, his works were not widely read. Not until Der Untertan (The Patrioteer) appeared in 1918 did he experience popular success. In the United States, Mann never gained wide recognition as a writer; and he is still best known for the 1930 film "The Blue Angel," which was adapted from his novel Professor Unrat (Small Town Tyrant).

As the Nazis assumed power in February 1933, Heinrich Mann was one of the first intellectuals to flee Germany. His close ties to France made his exile in Southern France relatively easy and allowed him to continue writing for an appreciative audience. Mann remained in France until the country fell to German occupation, whereupon Mann and his wife, Nelly, fled Europe. For Mann, then nearly seventy years old, the escape across the Pyrenees on foot was extremely arduous. Like most German exiles during World War II, Mann faced great financial difficulties in the United States. Away from European soil, he lost much of his sympathetic French audience, not to mention his larger readership in Germany. Luckily, his first year in Los Angeles was free of hardship because of a one-year contract with Warner Brothers Pictures previously arranged for Mann by fellow exiles. However, after the completion of this contract, and until his death in 1950, Mann was without a regular salary and was dependent on assistance from his family and friends. In spite of the difficulties which he faced, Mann wrote some of his greatest works during his years in exile, including Die Jugend des Königs Henri Quatre (1935; Young Henry of Navarre), Der Atem (1949; The Breath) and his autobiographical Ein Zeitalter wird besichtigt (1945; An Age is Examined).

The exhibit "Heinrich Mann: His Final Years. Drawings, Letters, and Manuscripts" presents a brief glimpse of the man and writer Heinrich Mann. The materials on display are taken from The University of Southern California's Department of Special Collections, Cinema-Television Library, and Doheny Memorial Library. Upon his death, Heinrich Mann's manuscripts and correspondence went to his longtime friend, Lion Feuchtwanger. These materials were later given to USC along with Feuchtwanger's own library and manuscripts. The Heinrich Mann material at USC represents Mann's period in exile, covering both the years spent in France and Southern California. On display are examples of his correspondence, literary manuscripts, and sketches which he drew during the 1940s.

Updated April 1997. For more information contact the Feuchtwanger Librarian.

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