The World's Best Unknown Books
04 11 2014

Josef and his Brothers in Dutch translation

The work of Nobel Prize winner Thomas Mann is widely translated in Dutch, with only one exception: Josef and his Brothers, which Mann started writing in 1925 in Munich and finished in Californian exile. Because of its length, no Dutch publisher dared to publish it, until now. On October 17th, the book was published by De Wereldbibliotheek (Library of the World) and it has already been reviewed by several newspapers and magazines. Quite unusual for a title consisting of – yes – 1344 pages.

‘Mann turns out to be a better storyteller than God himself’ (Magazine De Groene Amsterdammer)

‘The four parts of Mann’s mammoth-sized work are thrilling and funny, his style is brilliant and erudite like not a lot of other works of world literature’ (Daily newspaper Trouw)

According to the publisher, Josef and his Brothers is an adventure novel, a regional novel and love story all rolled into one. The novel consists of the human being and the big and small aspects of it. It is timeless in the themes it brings up, its style, profundity and irony. The novel is based on one of the best stories from the Old Testament: that of the fate of Joseph, Jacob’s favourite son, who is sold to passing tradesmen by his jealous brothers.

Thijs Pollann’s Dutch translation has been edited by a group of Mann experts including Henri Bloemen (Catholic University Leuven) and Theo Kramer (University of Amsterdam).

On October 22nd, the book was presented in the Singelkerk in Amsterdam, and Wereldbibliotheek has already announced a reprint.