Monday, September 9, 2013

Opening paragraphs...................

In 1933 the first volume of Thomas Mann's Joseph and his Brothers was published - a tale, according to the author, of 'love and hate, blessing and curse, fraternal strife and paternal grief, pride and penance, fall and rise'.  An early admirer of the work was a young German banker named Siegmund Warburg, who read it while sailing from Hamburg to London - a journey into exile not dissimilar from the one Mann himself made later in the same year.  Warburg, it has been suggested, was struck by the parallel between his own family and Joseph's, with whom he himself clearly identified.  Of course, the parallel was not exact.  Unlike Joseph, Siegmund Warburg had no brothers; nor was he being driven into exile by members of his family - rather, by a regime bent on the expulsion and ultimately the destruction of all the descendants of Jacob.  Nevertheless, even a cursory glance at the genealogy of the Warburg family indicates why the parallel might have occurred to him.
-Niall Ferguson,  High Financier:  The Lives and Times of Siegmund Warburg

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