Doctor Faustus (Thomas Mann) Background

Doctor Faustus (Thomas Mann) Background

Doctor Faustus is the Thomas Mann’s novel. It had been started in 1943 and published 4 years later with the title: “The Life of the German Composer Adrian Leverkühn, Told by a Friend”.

Doctor Faustus is the most significant and large-scale work of Thomas Mann. This is a classic story about a genius, who sold his soul to evil. And this story was entered to the German history in a critical point of the epoch in the first quarter of last century.

Doctor Faustus is placed in the cultural history of the 20th century in the middle, right on the edge between modernism and postmodernism. This edge was settled by the World War II. There is paradoxical enough, but prewar and middle war modernism was really tragic. The postmodernism was quite ironic. Doctor Faustus can be considered as the last great work of European modernism, in spite of the fact that it was written in America, and it was the first literature work of postmodernism. This novel combines both, unusual tragedy in content and cold detachment in form. Tragic life of German genius, for sure, fictional one (one of the main prototype of Leverkühn was Friedrich Nietzsche), was told by the materials of the documents from his record and the personal recollections of his friend, a professor of classical philosophy, Serenus Tseytblom. Though Serenus was knowledgeable in music and quite refined, but he was hardly able to appreciate the tragedy of his great friend in full, the way the author felt it himself.

The book is of rare depth in its content, where is detailed the process of creativity of the main character, which has something in common with the writing work of the author, of genius Thomas Mann. There is a narrow description of musical innovation of Thomas Mann’s contemporary, of genius composer, Schoenberg in the book. This fact makes Thomas Mann’s work original chronicle of that time, generous for geniuses.

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