Mario and the Magician

fiction by Thomas Mann


Mario and the Magician is one of Mann's most political stories. Mann openly criticizes fascism, a choice which later became one of the grounds for his exile to Switzerland following Hitler's rise to power. The sorcerer, Cipolla, is analogous to the fascist dictators of the era with their fiery speeches and rhetoric. The story was especially timely, considering the tensions in Europe when it was written. Stalin had just seized power in Russia, Mussolini was urging Italians to recapture the glory of the Roman Empire, and Hitler with his rhetoric was quickly gaining steam in Germany.

First Published


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