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Selected Short Works by Klaus Mann

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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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Notes

Extract



“Homosexuality and Fascism”

Translated by Rachel Krantz.

1. Enacted in 1871 and remaining in effect until the late 1960s, this part of the German national legal code declared any “indecent act” committed by two men to be a criminal offense worthy of incarceration. Interestingly, Paragraph 175 did not address lesbians or indecent acts committed by two women.

2. Frank Wedekind (1864–1918), most famous today for his work Spring Awakening, was a German playwright whose dramas challenged middle-class sexual norms and mores.

3. Ernst Röhm (1887–1934) was a friend of Adolf Hitler’s who helped to form the Nazi party. He served as the leader of the Sturmabteilung (i.e., the Nazi party militia often referred to as the Storm Troopers or Brown Shirts) until he was assassinated as part of the purge known as The Night of the Long Knives. Röhm’s detractors used his alleged homosexuality as part of their case for denouncing him.

4. Paul Joseph Goebbels (1897–1945) was Nazi Germany’s infamous Minister of Propaganda. During World War I, he did not have to serve in the German military because of a clubfoot, and he walked with a limp throughout his life.

5. The term Bund used here by Mann is ambiguous: “Muß ein >>Bund<< den fascistischen, den fortschrittsfeindlichen Charakter haben?” When read as a neuter noun (das Bund), it refers to a “bundle” or “bunch,” calling to...

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