Dan Brown

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Dan Brown

Daniel "Dan" Brown (*  22. June 1964 in Exeter , New Hampshire ) is an American thriller - Author .



Dan Brown taught English before devoting himself entirely to his work as a writer . As the eldest of three children of the math professor at Phillips Exeter Academy and the author of a well-known math school textbook Richard G. Brown and the church musician Constance Gerhard , he grew up - according to the advertising on the blurb of his books - in an environment in which science and religion were not opposites. This combination is also the reason for the author's worldwide success.

Illuminati , Dan Brown's first novel published in Germany, quickly reached the top of the bestseller list. With his published in 35 countries book The Da Vinci Code (dt .: sacrilege ), he became one of the most successful writers of all time. Dan Brown was married and livedin New Hampshire with his ex-wife, Blythe Newlon , an art historian.

Youth and Studies

Dan Brown first attended the Phillips Exeter Academy . After graduating in 1982, he made his first long trip to Spain before enrolling at Amherst College for the majors English and Spanish , which he successfully completed in 1986. He became a member of the Amherst College Glee Club , a college male choir, and took part in its 1983 tour, which led to various European cities (Vienna, Venice, Paris and Athens). There were other appearances in the US embassies in New Delhi, Tokyo, Taipei, Hong Kong and Seoul. As part of his studies at Amherst College, he took part in a university summer program in Seville , which also included an introduction to Spanish history and culture. It was there that he first came into contact with the theory that Leonardo da Vinci had hidden secret messages in his works.

Singer and songwriter

After graduating from college, he began a career as a singer and songwriter . He taught himself to compose with a synthesizer and used recording equipment . The result was SynthAnimals, a children's cassette that was initially only sold in and around Exeter . In 1990 he and friends produced Perspective, an album for adults that was released under Brown's own record label Dalliance .

In the spring of 1991 Brown moved to Los Angeles to pursue his music career there. He earned his living teaching Spanish at Beverly Hills Preparatory School . He discovered a company called Creative Musicians Coalition (CMC), the plates of Independent -Musikern the country by mail order sales. SynthAnimals was approved and was now available throughout the United States.

Brown joined the National Academy of Songwriters and it was here that he met Blythe Newlon , twelve years his senior , who worked at the Academy as director of artistic development. Blythe was convinced of his creative potential and is now committed to his advancement.

Brown's debut album Dan Brown had little success, which was attributed, among other things, to the artist's refusal to take the stage.

Brown began work on his second album and moved back to Exeter, New Hampshire with Newlon in 1993. In 1995 the CD Angels & Demons was released . This ended his career as a singer-songwriter.


To make a living, Brown took a job teaching English at his previous college and a second job teaching Spanish at Hampton Falls. Under the pseudonym Danielle Brown , Dan Brown published the narrow, humorous volume 187 Men to Avoid: A Survival Guide for the Romantically Frustrated Woman in 1995. "187 Men You Should Avoid: A Survival Guide for the Woman Frustrated with Love "). The ribbon did not get beyond a first small edition.

Brown then began to work on his first thriller Digital Fortress (German: Diabolus ), in which Internet security and the violation of the privacy of American citizens by the National Security Agency (NSA) are discussed. In order to be able to finish the book despite his two teaching jobs, he got into the habit of sitting at the computer at four in the morning - a habit that Brown says he has kept to this day. In June 1996 he quit both of his jobs, although at that point he had neither signed a contract for Diabolus nor found an agent.

Diabolus was published by Thomas Dunne Books in February 1998 and, like Brown's CDs, was marketed by Blythe Brown. The book was one of the first books to have its own website and was even available as an e-book . Because of the contents of Diabolus , Brown himself was watched for a while by the NSA and his phone tapped. In addition, he once received a summons to NSA headquarters disguised as a “warm invitation”.

Four months later he published another humorous book under the name of his wife: The Bald Book (German: Das Glatzenbuch).

After Diabolus found a publisher, Brown began researching his second thriller Angels and Demons (German: Illuminati ), which included several educational trips to Europe, which he undertook with his wife. Gary Goldstein, an editor at Simon & Schuster , had taken a liking to Diabolus . So he asked Brown what he was working on. Brown then sent Goldstein the 200-page concept he had developed for Illuminati and in return received a contract and advance payment for Illuminati, as well as another book. Shortly thereafter, however, Goldstein unexpectedly left Simon & Schuster. Illuminati was "orphaned" for a few months until Jason Kaufman started as the new editor at Simon & Schuster; he was entrusted with the care of the two Brown books.

When Illuminati came out in April 2000, work on Brown's third thriller Deception Point (German: Meteor ), which appeared in August 2001, was almost complete. Once again, Dan and Blythe Brown had to do the promotion for the book themselves. The sales figures for all three books were limited until then. Brown parted ways with Jake Elwell, his previous agent, and signed a contract with Heide Lange from the agency Sanford J. Greenburger Associates in New York. In order to find out what worked on the market, the three works published so far were critically questioned: Brown combed his now very extensive archive for material he had not previously used, and remembered the comments of a professor from Seville on Leonardo da Vinci . The hook for The Da Vinci Code (German: sacrilege ) was found.

With his editor Jason Kaufman, who had supervised the two books Illuminati and Meteor , Brown had now established a stable collaboration. But now Kaufman was looking for a new job. During his interviews, he made the signing of an employment contract dependent on Dan Brown also getting a contract with the same publisher and that Kaufman Brown would remain the editor. In order to emphasize his demand, Kaufman presented the 200-page concept that Brown had also created for Da Vinci Code in a tried and tested manner . In the end, Kaufman got a job at Doubleday , a member of the Random House publishing group, and Dan Brown got a $ 400,000 deal on The Da Vinci Code and another book.

In the fall of 2002, Doubleday distributed 10,000 proofs to booksellers, reviewers and critics. Because of the amounts of the bookstore of The Da Vinci Code pre-ordered, Doubleday printed a first edition of 230,000 copies. The Da Vinci Code was published on March 18, 2003. A few days later, the book was # 1 on the New York Times hardcover bestseller list and remained on that list for two years without a break. The thriller has sparked heated controversy around the world; the sharpest criticism came from the Catholic Church and Opus Dei because of the explosive content . So far, The Da Vinci Code has been translated into 44 languages ​​and sold around 57 million times worldwide (as of May 2006), although it is banned in some countries, such as Lebanon . In May 2006, the film adaptation of the work with Tom Hanks in the role of Robert Langdon came into cinemas worldwide. The film has been available on DVD since the beginning of November 2006 (main article: The Da Vinci Code - Da Vinci Code ).

In the meantime, Dan Brown had become one of the biggest sales drivers at Doubleday, which caused his agent Heide Lange to renegotiate. The original contract for two books became one for four books in which Harvard professor Robert Langdon is said to act as the protagonist. After the Robert Langdon thriller Illuminati , which was published by Simon & Schuster, and The Da Vinci Code , Brown's first work published by Doubleday, the third thriller with Robert Langdon in the leading role is called The Lost Symbol . The English first edition appeared on September 15, 2009 with an initial circulation of 5 million copies. In an interview, Brown said: “ It is a thematic sequel to SAKRILEG in which Langdon is embroiled for the first time in a mysterious event on domestic American soil. The new novel deals with the hidden history of our American federal capital. “The German edition followed on October 14, 2009 under the title The lost symbol .

Brown let it be known that he now hardly reads fiction any more , but restricts himself to non-fiction books , since he is constantly researching his next project. During his student days he was impressed by authors such as William Shakespeare , John Steinbeck , Sidney Sheldon , Robert Ludlum and Jeffrey Archer . They influenced his writing style strongly. Brown took over content-related concepts - especially in Illuminati and Da Vinci Code - from Robert Anton Wilson and Henry Lincoln , including above all the Holy Grail introduced by Wilson in the Illuminati chronicles of 1975 as a symbol for the bloodline of Christ .

On May 14, 2013, Brown's next book, Inferno , was published, which continues the Robert Langdon series. The film was released in German cinemas on October 13, 2016. The next part of the series followed in September 2017 under the title Origin and immediately took first place on the Spiegel bestseller list.


What was surprising about Brown's success from the start was that he developed into a millionaire circulation within a few years, even though he had hardly appeared in public life and the literary scene before. It was considered crucial to his success that he attempted to relate historical facts interwoven with conspiracy theoretic approaches to current issues in order - as was claimed - to provide simple answers to complicated questions.

Brown's works were mostly qualified as entertainment literature by literary critics . It was said that he wrote books "with historical cargo space and little educational experience". In an interview, the American writer Jeffrey Eugenides described the work of authors like Brown as the search for a “basic pattern according to which they build all their books. You just stuff new content into it, but the pattern always stays the same. ” Among other things, Illuminati was described as“ a parforce ride through Roman dungeons that was designed on the drawing board and actually done in a rather wooden manner ”. Brown was attested in Da Vinci Code to have a “breathlessly compulsive style of prose that moves along the plot at an almost daring pace.” Literary skills are “only rudimentary to be recognized in this novel, the author does not allow himself to be drawn from character studies and problems of dialogue In spite of these assessments, Brown's books are extremely popular.

Several authors leaned conceptually recognizably on Brown's idea of ​​placing academic “private investigators” at the center of the plot of their books. These include Matilde Asensi's Guardians of the Cross , Ian Caldwells and Dustin Thomason's The Last Secret, and Leslie Silbert's The Marlowe Code . Publishers such as dtv , Rowohlt and Bastei-Lübbe published books that were unrelated to Brown's works in terms of content under titles linguistically related to Illuminati - such as Cupid , originally Retribution by Jilliane Hoffman - or a book cover design that was confusingly similar to Brown's books - including Circe from Elise Title . In addition, books were published that advertised the cultural and historical backgrounds of the conspiracy theories in Brown's novels. The flood of thrillers with Christian-religious elements that followed Brown's bestseller shows a renewed interest in the connection between criminology and mysticism. The novels are often referred to with the newly created term "church thriller". Ecclesiastical themes in tension- oriented fiction , however, existed earlier, for example Philipp Vandenberg's thriller The Fifth Gospel (1993) or Assassini by Thomas Gifford (1990). The glut of publications has been compared to the sudden popularity of medieval novels and related popular non-fiction books following the publication of Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose in the early 1980s.




Audio books

  • The lost symbol (two versions, including an unabridged 2011 edition)
  • Illuminati (three versions, including an unabridged 2009 version)
  • Da Vinci Code (three versions, including a new edition in 2006)
  • Diabolus (two versions, one of which is an unabridged version)
  • Meteor (two versions, one of which is an unabridged version)
  • Inferno (two versions, one of which is an unabridged version)
  • Origin

computer game


  • Lisa Rogak: Dan Brown. The man behind the Da Vinci Code . Reinbek, Rowohlt Taschenbuch, 2006, ISBN 3-499-62151-7 .
  • Joachim Valentin (ed.): Sacrilege - a blasphemy? Read Dan Brown's work critically . Aschendorff, Münster 2007, ISBN 3-402-11785-1 .
  • Albert Meier: Dan Brown: The Da Vinci Code (Da Vinci Code). In: Communications of the German Association of Germanists. 57th year. Issue 2/2010: bestsellers of the 21st century. Edited by Martin Huber and Albert Meier. Göttingen 2010, pp. 208-218.
  • Henrik Eberle : The Lost Symbol - The Key to Dan Brown's bestseller . Luebbe Publishing Group, 2010, ISBN 3-785-72399-7 .

Web links

Audio articles

Individual evidence

  1. ^ "Da Vinci Code" and "Inferno": bestselling author Dan Brown turns 50
  2. Dan Brown is said to have led a double life, according to ex-wife , Der Spiegel , July 1, 2020, accessed July 6, 2020.
  3. Homepage of the ACGC
  4. Homepage with a copy of the information that was previously on Dan Brows homepage, before the relaunch without all these details
  5. Dan Brown. The man behind the Da Vinci Code - Interview, Der Stern , issue of October 8, 2009.
  6. New York Times , "Da Vinci Code 'Losing Best-Seller Status," by Eward Wyatt, Nov. 4, 2005
  7. ^ Boston Herald : Dan Brown announces new book, The Lost Symbol, by Gina Carbone, April 20, 2009
  8. http://www.filmstarts.de/kritiken/222798.html
  9. -List: The best-selling books. In: Spiegel Online . September 12, 2014, accessed June 9, 2018 .
  10. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung : "Before the Code - With a delay in German: Dan Brown's thriller debut 'Diabolus'" , March 3, 2005, loaded on March 6, 2018
  11. Stuttgarter Zeitung : “No 'Middlesex' without a 'tin drum'”, interview with Jeffrey Eugenides, June 9, 2004.
  12. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: "America's Newest Best Seller - His Name is Brown, Dan Brown", by Hannes Hintermeier , January 20, 2004
  13. ^ The Independent , "Dan Brown - A religious kinda guy ...", by Paul Vallely, April 23, 2005
  14. ^ Süddeutsche Zeitung : “Farewell to Europe - The first Rumsfeld novel: Dan Brown's thriller 'Da Vinci Code'”, by Thomas Steinfeld, February 26, 2004
  15. Die Welt : "Source Codes and Kitchen Latin", by Wieland Freund , January 10, 2005
  16. Die Welt: "A lot of clones", by Matthias Heine, August 2, 2005.