Monday, May 14, 2012

Thomas Mann's Pacific Palisades Home up for Rent

By Rodney Punt

With the rise of Hitler in 1933, Nobel prize-winning author Thomas Mann fled his native Germany and eventually settled from 1942 to 1952 in a stately home in Pacific Palisades, California.

In that turbulent decade Mann witnessed the defeat of the Nazism that had driven him out of Europe only to encounter after the war the rapid and rabid rise of Senator Joe McCarthy's anti-communist (and anti-intellectual) "witch hunts" in the USA. Having relocated back to Europe, Mann died in Switzerland in 1955.

The current issue of West L.A.'s Brentwood News announces the former Mann home is up for rent at $15,000 a month. I've been in it several times and always make my way to the study where the author worked on The Holy Sinner; The Black Swan; Confessions of Felix Krull, Confidence Man; and Doctor Faustus, the later partly based on the works of composer Arnold Schoenberg who lived nearby and who, taking exception to how he was characterized, confronted Mann at the nearby Brentwood Mart. Mann's novella, Death in Venice, was the basis for the 1971 Luchino Visconti film.

The owners of the home after Mann had great respect for the author and the room still had the feel of his presence just a year ago when I last visited. One hopes this enchanted space will not be obliterated by a new resident or owner.

Back to the Brentwood News; its blurb skips over all Mann's works but one, observing, presumably for the community's celebrity residents, "His short story, Disillusionment, was the basis for Peggy Lee's recording of Is That All There is?".

You see, it's all in the perspective.

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