Samuel quotes from the opening paragraph of Mann’s “Foreword” to the one-volume edition of what was originally a four-volume work. Mann’s opening paragraph consists of a single long sentence—a remarkable sentence to anyone interested in literary style; it is herewith quoted in full. Its powerful stylistic influence on Samuel’s own opening paragraph is apparent:

“When I see this pyramidlike piece of work, which differs from its brother monsters at the edge of the Libyan Desert only in the fact that no hecatombs of scourged and panting slaves fell victim to its erection but that it is the product of years of patient labor on the part of one man—when I see this formerly quadripartite work united as a proper entity between the two covers of a single volume, I am filled not only with justifiable astonishment at an almost incredible achievement in the art of book-making, but also with memories, with a kind of autobiographical pensiveness.”

A word of advice to anyone tempted to tackle Mann’s epic Joseph and His Brothers—and we hope many will: Force yourself past the first 150 pages. After that, you will be hooked.—Ed.