Mann, Heinrich

   writer; ruthlessly debunked the Kaiser-reiches rigid social structure. Born in Lübeck to a city senator and prosperous businessman, he abandoned Gymnasium studies in 1889. Although he was de-termined not to follow a business career, he appeased his father by apprenticing as a bookseller in Dresden. But after he published stories in the Lubecker Zei-tung, he resolved to become a writer. In 1891, just before his father's death, he forsook the apprenticeship to join the publishing house of Samuel Fischer.* Contracting tuberculosis, he convalesced in Switzerland in 1892 and, after some time in Italy, relocated to Munich in 1894.
   Before World War I Mann published dramas, essays, short stories, and novels. His 1905 novel Professor Unrat went largely unnoticed until it was filmed in 1930 as Der blaue Engel (The Blue Angel); starring Emil Jannings* and Marlene Dietrich,* the story emphasized the vices and hypocrisy of middle-class society. A serialization of Der Untertan (Man ofStraw), a devastating critique subtitled A History of the Public Soul under Wilhelm II, was suspended upon the outbreak of war; it was finally released in 1918. A 1915 essay on Emile Zola that extolled democratic France and the Enlightenment was not only censored but provoked a painful rupture with his brother, Thomas Mann.* Underscoring the tradition of political engagement among French intellectuals, Heinrich argued that Ger-many was marked by a passivity that viewed intellect (Geist) and action as contradictory entities.
   The brothers' estrangement persisted until 1922, when Heinrich suffered acute appendicitis and his anticipated death brought reconciliation. Since Walther Rathenau's* murder also reconciled Thomas to the Republic, the sibling rap-prochement was melded by parallel political convictions. Thereafter the brothers increasingly represented the political and moral conscience of Germany. Hein-rich was, meanwhile, forced to accustom himself to his younger brother's greater fame; although he was prolific throughout the 1920s—he published fiction, so-cial criticism, and topical essays—Heinrich's writing failed to gain wide ac-claim. He served as President of the Prussian Academy of Arts during 1931-1933, but it was Thomas who became the Nobel laureate.
   An exponent of middle-class social democracy, Heinrich Mann fled to France—his spiritual home—in February 1933. He was subsequently tireless on both literary and political fronts. World War II forced flight to America, where he struggled in Hollywood to maintain a career; his second wife, Nellie, com-mitted suicide in 1944. Although he was invited in 1947 to return to East Berlin as President of the new East German Academy of Arts, his failing health kept him in California.
   REFERENCES:Benz and Graml, Biographisches Lexikon; David Gross, Writer and So-ciety; Hamilton, Brothers Mann;Konig, Heinrich Mann.

A Historical dictionary of Germany's Weimar Republic, 1918-1933. .

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