Political Theory

Liberty and Art in the Political Writings of Thomas Mann


This conference used selections from Thomas Mann's 1918 Reflections of a Nonpolitical Man alongside some of his later nonfiction and fiction writings to examine the broader tensions between our devotion to collective or communal identities, on the one hand, and our identities as individual human beings, on the other. These works also shed light on the intellectual and political tensions in interwar Europe, as well as on the challenges to liberal democracy in the twentieth century and beyond.


Conference Readings

Botz-Bornstein, Thorsten. “What is the Difference between Culture and Civilization? Two Hundred Years of Confusion.” Comparative Civilizations Review 66 (Spring 2012): 10-28.

Laquer, Walter. “The Artist in Politics.” The New York Times (May 1983): 11, 34, and 35.

Mann, Thomas. Reflections of a Nonpolitical Man. Translated by Walter D. Morris. New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing, 1983.

Mann, Thomas. “On the German Republic.” Modernism/Modernity 14, no. 1 (January 2007): 109-132.

Mann, Thomas. The Coming Victory of Democracy. Translated by Agnes E. Meyer. London: Secker & Warburg, 1938.

Mann, Thomas. This Peace. New York: A. A. Knopf, 1938.

Mann, Thomas. Thomas Mann’s Addresses Delivered at the Library of Congress, 1942-1949. Compiled by L. Quincy Mumford. Rockville, Maryland: Wildside Press, n.d.

Mann, Thomas. Death in Venice and Other Stories. Edited by Daniel Johnson. Translated by H. T. Lowe-Porter. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1991.