Thomas Mann, author of "Death in Venice", "The Magic Mountain", and "Buddenbrooks" was a man with secrets. This biography offers a portrait of the Nobel Prize-winning German novelist, drawing on Mann's unexpurgated diaries. It uncovers a brilliant writer's mask to reveal the private man: his bisexuality, his obsession with preserving appearances and the deep guilt which plagued him for nearly fifty years. The sanitized self-image Mann strove to maintain is revealed as a fragile veneer. Drawing on the diaries that he stipulated should remain under seal for twenty years after his death, and on interviews with Mann's children, the author depicts a man subject to nervous trembling, convulsive sobbing and moments of sexual embarrassment. When his novels are reread from this perspective, new meanings emerge and interconnections between the problems of the author and his characters become apparent. As Mann wrote to a friend, he devised "novelistic forms and masks which can be displayed in public as a means of relaying my love, my hatred, my sympathy, my contempt, my pride, my scorn and the accusations I want to make". Ronald Hayman is the biographer of Proust, Sartre, Kafka, Nietzche, Brecht and Sylvia Plath.