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How to Hiss and Huff

Robert Alter: Mann’s Moses, 2 December 2010

The Tables of the Law 
by Thomas Mann, translated by Marion Faber and Stephen Lehmann.
Haus, 113 pp., £10, October 2010, 978 1 906598 84 6
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... Thomas Mann wrote this engaging novella in a few weeks in 1943. (The new translation by Marion Faber and Stephen Lehmann, which is brisk and direct, is a welcome replacement of the fussier and less accurate English version done by Helen Lowe-Porter for the original publication.) The novella was written after Mann helped pitch a film on the Ten Commandments to MGM ...
Mozart 
by Wolfgang Hildesheimer, translated by Marion Faber.
Dent, 408 pp., £10.95, January 1983, 0 460 04347 1
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... This book, let me say at once, is a masterpiece. It is also, I must quickly add, decidedly eccentric, offering the reader none of the landmarks, none of the orientation, that chapter divisions normally provide. Mozart is not quite a biography: while it dutifully includes a useful chronology and moves, by and large, along the spine of successive compositions, it is too episodic and ruminative to be yet another Life of a Great Composer ...

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