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About the book
  • Published: 1 October 1996
  • ISBN: 9780749386474
  • Imprint: Vintage Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 864
  • RRP: $24.99


Mann's semi-autobiographical and sweeping family epic. The book that won him the Nobel Prize for Literature

The Buddenbrook clan is everything you’d expect of a nineteenth-century German merchant family – wealthy, esteemed, established. Four generations later, a tide of twentieth-century modernism has gradually disintegrated the bourgeois values on which the Buddenbrooks built their success. In this, Mann’s first novel, his astounding, semi-autobiographical family epic, he portrays the transition of genteel Germanic stability to a very modern uncertainty.

  • Pub date: 1 October 1996
  • ISBN: 9780749386474
  • Imprint: Vintage Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 864
  • RRP: $24.99

About the Author

Thomas Mann

Thomas Mann was born in 1875 in Lubeck, of a line of prosperous and influential merchants. Mann was educated under the discipline of North German schoolmasters before working for an insurance office aged nineteen. During this time he secretly wrote his first tale, Fallen, and shortly afterwards left the insurance office to study art and literature at the University in Munich. After a year in Rome he devoted himself exclusively to writing.

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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Praise for Buddenbrooks

“Perhaps the first great novel of the 20th century”

New York Times

“A simple but magnificent proof of genius. A first novel by a 25-year-old with absolute command of his craft, uncanny knowledge of his world, its past and present, and a daring originality which makes its last pages among the most startlingly moving I know”

Alan Hollinghurst, New York Times

“One of the best novels of the 20th century”


“That definitive epic of German family life”

Irish Times

“His masterpiece”

Los Angeles Times

“Has extraordinary value as a document over and above its importance as literature. The friendly dispassionateness of the book, the amplitude, the final perfection of clearness, make it as satisfying as a Dürer drawing”


“An absorbing, well-observed, almost film-like telling of a family in Lubeck over a generation or two”


“A detailed portrait of a family and its destructive impact”

New York Times

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