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Selected Short Works by Klaus Mann

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Timothy K. Nixon

Selected Short Works by Klaus Mann makes available for the first time a number of pieces by the author of Mephisto and The Turning Point. Klaus Mann (1906–1949) was an early opponent of Nazism, an émigré to the United States who enlisted in the U.S. Army to fight the German fascists, and the eldest son of Nobel laureate Thomas Mann. The works in this collection include brand new translations of a novella about the final days of Ludwig II (Bavaria’s Mad King Ludwig) and an essay challenging the homophobic maneuvers of certain enemies of German fascism. In addition, Selected Short Works by Klaus Mann includes a drama and three short stories written in English, all but one of which are appearing for the first time in print. One of the pieces in this volume, «Speed, a Story,» was considered by Christopher Isherwood to be Klaus Mann’s best writing. Taken as a whole, this collection suggests Klaus Mann should, at a minimum, be considered a German-American author. Although his infatuation with and his hopes for the United States were short-lived, while in America, Klaus Mann dedicated himself to writing exclusively in English. The final four works in this collection make a rich contribution to twentieth-century American letters. These selected works will appeal to those with an interest in lesbian and gay history, exilic studies, and twentieth-century German and American literature.
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“Homosexuality and Fascism”

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Recently, the Soviet Union passed a law making homosexuality a punishable offense. This seems surprising, and one cannot help but wonder how a socialist government can find logical and moral justification for disenfranchising and defaming a certain group of people whose only “crime” consists of a natural predisposition. But that is what has happened. Various difficulties and scandals in the eastern part of the Soviet Union are cited as the reason for the promulgation of this shameful law, against which liberals in central and western European countries have been fighting for decades. However, these political matters (which could have been dealt with differently) are not the real issue. What counts, in my opinion, is a noticeable shift in public opinion. This shift has only in part to do with the ever growing tendency in the Soviet Union to think conservatively and pass harsh judgment about all things sexual—a tendency which can be understood as a reaction to the excessive liberty that has developed in such matters. What really underlies this shift is the suspicion of and aversion to anything homoerotic, which characterizes almost all anti-fascists and socialists today. In fact, they are only a step away from equating homosexuality and fascism. In the face of such absurdity, we can no longer afford to remain silent. We who do our utmost to combat racism ← 1 | 2 → cannot sit idle while a groundless prejudice against a certain sexual preference becomes rampant.

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