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To be honest, I'm not a fan of speculating about what the author may or may not have intended. How can we know what somebody else intended to write when what we have is what they have actually written? And, if we can know the author's intention, what does it matter? We still have what they have written in front of us, and as readers, our task is to make sense of the actual text, not some imagined or ideal text based on intentions rather than actual achievements.
Having said that, though, I think that you can see something of Thomas Mann's personal explorations of topics in his tetralogy Joseph und seine Brueder (Joseph and His Brothers). His exploration of the relationship between Joseph and Potipher's wife in the third novel, Joseph in Aegypten (Joseph in Egypt) allows him to write fairly extensively about the male character's beauty. Thomas Mann did marry and have a number of children, but he was probably (mostly?) homosexual and explored topics related to male homosexuality in many of his works.
At least two works listed in the bibliography of one of the study guides on Mann (see the first link below) includes two works that address Mann's homosexuality:
Cullander, Cecil C. H. “Why Thomas Mann Wrote.” The Virginia Quarterly Review 75 (Winter, 1999): 31-48. Examines Mann’s statements about his creativity, his fiction, and his journals and diaries; argues that his diaries helped him come to terms with his homosexuality and to know himself.
Kurzke, Hermann. Thomas Mann: Life as a Work of Art, a Biography. Translated by Leslie Willson. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2002. A celebrated work in Germany that provides a balanced approach to Mann’s life and work. Addresses his homosexuality and relationship to Judaism. The translation, however, is not good. Index.
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