Latest Issue

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 hands…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect