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Thomas Mann (born in 1875) emigrated from Germany in 1933; in that same year, the first part of his "Joseph and His Brothers" was published in Germany. He was a well known author by then.

On the other hand, Vladimir Nabokov (born in 1899, i.e. nearly 25 years younger) lived in Germany until 1937. That is, Nabokov could have known the works by Mann. Especially since Nabokov was a "west oriented" Russian novelist, i.e. he knew English and French literature well.

Does anybody know whether Nabokov did know works by Mann and whether they have influenced him in any way?

I like both of them very much, and it would fascinate me if one of them knew of or had influenced the other's works (or the other way around).

  • Nabokov's hatred of Mann was legendary. You can find references, oblique or straightforward, to Mann in many of Nabokov's novels. They are typically ruthless. – SAH Aug 7 '18 at 20:09
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Apparently Nabokov did know of Mann's works. As documented in his Strong Opinions (which I found via here and there after a Google search for "nabokov mann"), he held no high opinion of Mann:

“Ever since the days when such formidable mediocrities as Galsworthy, Dreiser, Tagore, Maxim Gorky, Romain Rolland and Thomas Mann were being accepted as geniuses, I have been perplexed and amused by fabricated notions about so-called "great books." That, for instance, Mann's asinine "Death in Venice," or Pasternak's melodramatic, vilely written "Dr. Zhivago," or Faulkner's corn-cobby chronicles can be considered "masterpieces" or at least what journalists term "great books," is to me the sort of absurd delusion as when a hypnotized person makes love to a chair. My greatest masterpieces of twentieth century prose are, in this order: Joyce's "Ulysses"; Kafka's "Transformation"; Bely's "St. Petersburg," and the first half of Proust's fairy tale, "In Search of Lost Time.”

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    I suppose Kafka's "Transformation" is "Die Verwandlung" better known in English as "Metamorphosis" (Gregor Samsa turns into a giant bug). – user14111 Jan 27 '18 at 9:04

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