The ensuing correspondence between the two men documents a rare encounter of creative tension between literary tradition and aesthetic modernism which would be sustained right up until the novelists death in 1955. In the letters, Thomas Mann openly acknowledged his fascinated reading of Adornos Minima Moralia and commented in detail on the Essay on Wagner, which he was as eager to read as the one in the Book of Revelation consumes a book which tastes as sweet as honey. Adorno in turn offered detailed observations upon and frequently enthusiastic commendations of Manns later writings, such as The Holy Sinner, The Betrayed One and The Confessions of Felix Krull. Their correspondence also touches upon issues of great personal significance, notably the sensitive discussion of the problems of returning from exile to postwar Germany.
The letters are extensively annotated and offer the reader detailed notes concerning the writings, events and personalities referred or alluded to in the correspondence.