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Selected Short Works by Klaus Mann


Edited By 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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“The Monk”


For Corporal John Pamper

The whole company called him “the Monk,” because he had no girlfriend in town and always seemed embarrassed when the boys discussed their sexual adventures. At times he would interrupt their filthy talk with a gentle but somehow impressive gesture: “Please! That’s enough!” The answer was, of course, a Homeric guffaw, but surprisingly, the conversation usually died down afterwards or became a trifle more discreet.

What was wrong with the Monk? Some of his roommates suggested that he was secretly married and faithful to his wife, although he claimed to be single. Others suspected that there might be religious reasons for his prudery, but he was not a church-goer. Was he just morbidly bashful? Or was it simply his advanced age that prevented him from having any fun?

He was indeed pretty elderly—at least thirty-five, if not older, and by far the oldest man in the outfit, which consisted mostly of youngsters in their teens or early twenties. His face appeared strangely shriveled—dried out, yellowed, and brittle, as if parched by a merciless tropical sun. There was something slightly Mephistophelian about his physiognomy—due, perhaps, to his restive, black, curly hair and dark, bushy eyebrows. But he also had the features of a melancholy clown, with his long, pointed nose; the absurd gravity of his gait; and his ever-crumpled uniform, which was much too wide for his ← 193 | 194 → lean, hairy body. His eyes were pensive...

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