Friends of Princeton University Library Small Talks kick off this fall with a lecture on Thomas Mann

Profile picture of Emeritus Professor Stanley Corngold seated outside a Princeton University building.

Stanley Corngold. Courtesy of Princeton University.

The Friends of Princeton University Library (FPUL) Small Talk series returns this fall with three intellectually captivating events. The first - on Wednesday, September 7 - will feature Professor Stanley Corngold, an emeritus professor of German and Comparative Literature, who will depict Nobel Prize-winning author Thomas Mann’s pivotal time in Princeton. 

In September 1938, Thomas Mann, author of “Death in Venice” and “The Magic Mountain,” fled Nazi Germany for the United States. Heralded as “the greatest living man of letters,” Mann settled in Princeton, where, for nearly three years, he was stunningly productive as a novelist, university lecturer, and public intellectual. In Princeton, Mann exercised his “stupendous capacity for work” in a circle of friends, all highly accomplished exiles, including Hermann Broch, Albert Einstein, and Erich Kahler. 

Cover art for Stanley Corngold's book "The Mind in Exile"

Courtesy of Princeton University Press

 In two recent books, “The Mind in Exile: Thomas Mann in Princeton” (Princeton) and “Weimar in Princeton: Thomas Mann and the Kahler Circle” (Bloomsbury), Professor Corngold portrays in vivid detail this crucial station in Mann’s journey from arch-European conservative to liberal conservative to ardent social democrat, and the extraordinary events occurring within this luminous constellation of intellectuals at an extraordinary time and place.

On September 28, Professor Stanley Katz will present a talk entitled “The Trouble with Truth.” This talk, to be held at Princeton University Library (PUL), will also feature select items from PUL’s Special Collections.

The final Small Talk for the fall will feature David Nirenberg, the 10th Director of the Institute for Advanced Study and Leon Levy Professor, on December 14.

The popularity of hosting these Small Talks virtually during the pandemic has led the FPUL Program Committee to offer the events in a hybrid format going forward. “We did not want to abandon the audience that we had cultivated over the last 24 months. Many attendees and FPUL members have commented on how much they have valued the opportunity to participate in these fascinating talks from the comfort of their homes,” said Lorraine Atkin, chair of the Program Committee. “And for those of us who would like to convene in person, we now have that option too.”

Talks will be held in person for Friends members only and will be followed by receptions. Non-members are invited to join any of the talks virtually by Zoom. Registration is required.

The September 7 talk will take place at the Princeton Senior Resource Center, and the September 28 and December 14 talks at PUL. 

Join the Friends and receive invitations to members-only events for this fall including the Fall Dinner, featuring Peter Dougherty, Editor-at-large of Princeton University Press, at The Nassau Club, and an Acquisitions Showcase in PUL’s Special Collections.

For questions about membership, please email the Friends at

Published August 9, 2022

Written by Stephanie Oster, Publicity Manager

Media contact: Barbara Valenza, Director of Library Communications