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Joseph And His Brothers (Everyman's Library Contemporary Classics) (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 10. März 2005

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“This excellent new translation by John E. Woods is a cause for celebration: first, because Joseph and His Brothers is in fact a great novel that will now be discovered by a new generation of readers; and second, because Woods himself is to be credited with an extraordinary achievement . . . Woods tackles the challenges of Mann’s wide-ranging diction with exuberance . . . Mann has finally found his ideal English translator.” –New Republic, Ruth Franklin -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.


This remarkable new translation of the Nobel Prize-winner's great masterpiece is a major literary event.

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Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
A 270 day passionate love affair has come to an end. 270, not 365 days, which is as many times as our hero was able to say good night in different ways. Joseph or Yusuf, son of Jacob, great-great son of Abraham, inherited his good looks from his mother - she who had been as handsome and beautiful as the moon when it is full and as Ishtar's mild star floating gently in the pure ether. And yet' it was not Joseph who took my fancy and sparked my fire as he had with the proud wife of one of Pharao's high officials. No, it was the author himself, Thomas Mann retelling the story of the prophet Joseph, as in Genesis, chapters 37-50, and as in the Qur'an, Surah 12: 'Joseph and his Brothers'. I must admit, his long-winded, seemingly never ending sentences that wind their way ribbon-like over many lines were initially more than a little frustrating. Yet slowly but surely I fell under the author's witty spell and willingly let him seduce me into the world of the ancient Orient that he skilfully brought to life before my mind's eye. Eloquently and with subtle irony he captivated my senses, teasing me and enticing me to follow him from the fertile hills and pastures of Canaan to the depths of the underworld and ancient Egypt, bequeathing to me night after night the sweetest of dreams from the mysterious oriental spheres of his meticulously researched story.
One of the great masterpieces of literature by the master craftsman himself. Thank you, TM.
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Amazon.com: HASH(0x9f372084) von 5 Sternen 49 Rezensionen
107 von 113 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x97ebab88) von 5 Sternen Finally, Woods translates Mann's great work! 21. August 2005
Von David D. Huston - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
Joseph and His Brothers was Thomas Mann's "Humane Comedy" of the 1930's and 1940's. As his European world was collapsing in ideological extremism and descending into chaos, Mann turned his imagination to the Semitic and Egyptian worlds of 1600 BCE and invested the prodigious gifts of his ironic imagination in the all-too-human desires and deities of that world. Though it is enormously long--over 1400 pages of smallish print--the Joseph Saga unfolds its treasures of humane perception to the patient reader who savors Mann's delicious comedy. Read it slowly for full effect.

Formerly available in Lowe-Porter's impossibly stilted Biblical prose, John Woods continues his Mann-cycle of translations here in what must have been a labor of love. No doubt the audience for this work is only a tiny fraction of that for his earlier Mann translations--especially Magic Mountain and Buddenbrooks. Let's hope Woods is still game for Felix Krull or, perhaps, a large selection of the shorter works. Woods' English is smooth and agreeable most of the time (consistent with Mann's German) and tart and biting when Mann's irony deserves it.
94 von 103 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x97e365e8) von 5 Sternen One of the most wonderful books ever! 18. Mai 2005
Von R Parreira - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This is one of the most wonderfull books ever writen, no doubt. The story of the bible is the point of departure for a beautiful analysis of humanity, full of humour and grandeur. The book is big and one has to read it carefully to enjoy it completely. Every sentence is a jewel, every passage is full of simple life elements that wonder and links us to the past to a point were we conclude that being human is a universal experience, independent of time and space. This is all blended in with a carefull historical research, a detailed reading of the Bible and of the sacred texts. A masterpiece at its fully extent that is curiously not that popular in the english language.
110 von 124 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x97e36528) von 5 Sternen The master delves into myth 24. Oktober 2005
Von J. Wombacher - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
This is the third of Mann's long works that I've read, the first two being "The Magic Mountain" and "Buddenbrooks," in that order, the former being one of my favorites. I'd once read a quote by Mann saying he considered "Joseph and His Brothers" to be his masterpiece. If so, I used to think, why wasn't it still in print? I suspected it may have been disingenuous on Mann's part. The two novels I just mentioned had already secured Mann's reputation as a master novelist and their staying power must have seemed all but assured at the time. Joseph, on the other hand, was a different story. Apparently, it never attracted near as much attention as those other creations of his. Whether or not Mann truly believed Joseph was worthy of being considered his best work, it was his longest and the one on which he spent his most strenuous effort. Its neglect clearly caused him anxiety. This is all discussed in the translator John E. Woods' introduction to this edition of Joseph, as well as in Mann's introduction from a much older edition which is also included here. Will this latest edition from Everyman help Joseph finally garner the critical acclaim Mann thought it deserved?

A potential reader must seriously ponder at the outset the problem of deciding whether or not to read a 1500 page novel based on a quite familiar biblical story of about 40 pages in length. It would seem that the legend of Joseph has done just fine on its own in its inherited form. The main reason I would say to read this, if for no other, is that Mann demonstrates here that he is the consummate scholar-novelist. Beyond its novel aspect, Joseph is really an elaborate commentary and explication on the Book of Genesis and, in a most indirect manner, its impact on the Judeo-Christian heritage. The novel is rewarding in that regard, as well as for its magnificent historical set pieces. We are presented with vignette after vignette of how the people of this time lived and viewed the world, and particularly how myth blended with, indeed was synonymous with, their consciousness and how that determined their actions. Through Mann's glosses of the ancient myths of Egypt and Mesopotamia, one is able to trace the origins of many of the primary theological concepts of the Christian and Jewish faiths.

If, however, the astounding scholarship is the novel's strength, then it is also its weakness, for it labors under it. There is too little mystery to the story - we all know what happens from the outset. Mann takes the biblical myth, blows it up, and refills the lacunae. Thus, one can get a better understanding of the motives of the players, and why things may have happened in the biblical myth as presented. To me this is all very interesting, yet academic. In reading a novel I desire the novel experience, and in this I look for characters not pre-determined. This would present quite a challenge to Mann were he not to alter the story. He is often successful in breathing new life into the players. For instance, his portrayal of Esau as the piping, uncouth goat-man and the disdain which Jacob feels for him in that regard; or Abraham as the shadowy figure who spurns the moon citadel of Ur and wanders Mesopotamia, forging a new religion along the way. Yet I feel the novel seldom becomes more than a presentation of exquisite detail, and the character Joseph is always as one would expect him to be. If you love Joseph already, as Mann clearly does, and feel he holds a special place in your faith or worldview, then this will be quite a delightful book. If not, if Joseph is looked upon only as a very important mythical figure with some basis in history, then it may not be so easy to share Mann's 1500 page enthusiasm for him.
40 von 46 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x97cd30e4) von 5 Sternen Challenging and Sublime 4. Februar 2006
Von J. A Magill - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
For all the great technological magic of our age we suffer the misfortune of living in a time where the depth of hyperbole rends the edge from language leaving us bereft when the time comes to describe something truly remarkable. Thus to say that John Woods' translation of Thomas Mann's Joseph and His Brothers offers readers a gift of almost indescribable value may leave one wondering if I am making a literally true statement or simply wallowing in the common puff of our day. In this case the latter is the case for Mr. Woods' translation of Mann's great opus offers the reader an experience both challenging and sublime.

Readers unfamiliar with Mann's work may feel a sense of vertigo beginning this even more than his other works. Much of the style of narration, unique with its perspective shifting through time, seems almost purposely designed to leave one doubting their footing. Increasing the sense of dread is the books sheer heft, with over 1500 pages of small type and weighing in at almost two and half pounds. Yet those brave souls who resist the temptation to lay down this load in favor of a more easily digested work will come to in the end appreciate the feast to come. Mann's work rests on its own unique rhythm, and once the reader grows acclimated they will surely appreciate both the work and the great skill of Mr. Wood as translator. This series of four novels expounding on the biblical tale of Jacob, his son of Joseph of the famous robe, as well as his brothers, often comes when people engage in the entertaining and fruitless parlor game of determining the greatest literary work of the 20th century. While no single work can claim such a title, the complexity of the work and the Herculean task of translation should be evident that this is only the second instance of its translation into English in the more than 60 years since it first appeared.

Beyond simply outlining the work's subject matter, in many ways it seems written with the express intent of defying further description. With a complex web of interrelated stories, occasionally taking subjects that the bible reflects on for only a sentence and expanded on them for a hundred pages and at the same time seeking to place this seminal tale in its religious, historic, and cultural context, the work often leaves the reader gasping at the audacity of Man's enterprise. Yet almost every one of his efforts comes as a remarkable success, leaving one much to ponder. Indeed, any expectation that one can rush through this work will surely leave you with only a headache and little to show for the effort. Instead, one must take their time and slowly chew on Joseph and His Brother's digesting each piece in turn. Like many great works this one takes effort and diligence, but the reward comes as more than just bragging rights for having read it. Far more, it will offer an often eye opening new perspective and beckon from the book shelf to be taken down again so that you may reread this section or that.

One last point: to end where I began, Mann's attention to detail and word choice often gives pause, making each of us consider the harm done when we rain down words on a subject when a mere drop would do.
24 von 27 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x97c53960) von 5 Sternen Mann's reader as participant in the festival 16. Dezember 2008
Von Mark B. Packer - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
It has been a pleasure reading the reviews of others of this magisterial work. We form a kind of brotherhood across space and time in the task of praising to the outside world the grandeur of the work Mann himself considered his magnum opus. I once owned the previous Lowe-Porter translation and could get precisely nowhere with it. Now Mr. Woods has made it accessible to any literate spirit. I use the term "spirit" advisedly. For in the Prelude, entitled "The Descent into Hell," Mann sets forth a cosmogony derived from Gnosticism apparently, in which God permitted the soul, at its urgent request, to descend to earth to intermix with matter and then, in order to redeem the soul from this entanglement sent out a second emissary, as it were, the spirit, from the heavenly realm. But the spirit also got itself overengaged with this earthly compound of soul-matter, losing sight, one might say, of its original mission of rescue, much as an ambassador to a foreign land, if he stays there too long, loses the sense of his original representation and instead becomes an advocate for the foreign country, as Mann points out with exquisite irony. But then, gentle reader, the bombshell explodes, and Mann cuts through all of his own thick and multilayered ironies to set forth what I, at least, consider the strongest sentence I have ever encountered, anywhere:

[The spirit] remains, no matter how it presents itself, what it is: the messenger of
warning, the principle of opposition, umbrage, and wandering, which stirs up
within the breast of one individual, among all the great host of the lustily
complacent, an uneasiness at our preternatural wretchedness, drives him out
of the gates of the past and the given and into the extravagant adventure of
uncertainty, and makes him like the stone that, once it has broken away and
begins to roll, is destined to set in motion an ever-growing, rolling,
incalculable cascade of events. [pp. 35-6]

And from this immediately ensues the epic spiritual adventure of Abraham into the uncharted domain of grasping for an understanding of and relationship with the sole and ultimate source of sovereignty in the universe. And if this weren't enough, Mann then goes on to equate Abraham's adventure with the adventure of the storyteller (!) in daring to reach out to compose a tale such as this one.
Obviously I could go on forever in this vein, but my sole object is to plant my flag with the other on-line reviewers here and perhaps by this to induce some innocent wandering passerby of a reader to get out there and buy the book and read it, and by that act of participation, under any view a daunting and time-consuming committment, to join in Mann's festival of life, of storytelling as high art, of recapitulating in himself or herself the tradition of absorbing one's own cultural roots at the deepest level of joy and satisfaction. So there.--Mark B. Packer
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