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Melvyn Bragg: The book that changed my life

Whoever slipped the copy of that book to me at Nelson Thomlinson Grammar School that summer set me on a path

By Melvyn Bragg  

Photo: Victoria Jones/PA Archive/PA Images

Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann

It was 1957 and I had just finished doing my A Levels. It was a beautiful summer and a chance to loll in the long grass at school besides the tennis courts. I have no idea how I came by the novel. I had begun to branch out of English literature early on and had read American, Russian and French writers but I can’t remember ever having read a German author at that point.

Somehow this book landed in my…

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