Doctor Faustus: The Life of the German Composer Adrian Leverkuhn as Told by a Friend

Doctor Faustus: The Life of the German Composer Adrian Leverkuhn as Told by a Friend


By (author) Thomas Mann, Translated by H.T. Lowe-Porter

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  • Publisher: Minerva
  • Format: Paperback | 752 pages
  • Dimensions: 128mm x 190mm x 38mm | 399g
  • Publication date: 5 May 1998
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0749386576
  • ISBN 13: 9780749386573
  • Sales rank: 261,609

Product description

Doctor Faustus: The Life of the German Composer, Adrian Leverkuhn is one of the most convincing accounts of genius ever written. Thomas Mann charts Leverkuhn's extraordinary career: from his precious childhood to his tragic death - when Leverkuhn reveals the horrifying price he had to pay for his achievement. Zeitbolm, the narrator, tells his friend's story against the background of the 1939-45 war, which in turn acts as counterpoint to Mann's vast theme: the discord between genius and sanity.

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Author information

Thomas Mann was born in 1875 in Lubeck, of a line of prosperous and influential merchants. Mann was educated under the discipline of North German schoolmasters before working for an insurance office aged nineteen. During this time he secretly wrote his first tale, Fallen, and shortly afterwards left the insurance office to study art and literature at the University in Munich. After a year in Rome he devoted himself exclusively to writing. He was only twenty-five when Buddenbrooks, his first major novel, was published. Before it was burned by Hitler, it had sold over a million copies in Germany alone. His second great novel, The Magic Mountain, was published in 1924 and the first volume of his tetralogy Joseph and his Brothers in 1933. In 1929 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. In 1933 Thomas Mann left Germany to live in Switzerland. Then, after several previous visits, in 1938 he settled in the United States where he wrote Doctor Faustus and The Holy Sinner. Among the honours he received in the USA was his appointment as a Fellow of the Library of Congress. He revisited his native country in 1949 and returned to Switzerland in 1952, where The Black Swan and Confessions of Felix Krull were written and where he died in 1955.

Review quote

"John E. Woods is revising our impression of Thomas Mann, masterpiece by masterpiece." The New Yorker "Doctor Faustus is Mann's deepest artistic gesture... Finely translated by John E. Woods." The New Republic "Arguably the great German novel" New York Times "Perhaps not since Thomas Mann's Doctor Faustus has a novelist conveyed so tangibly and exaltedly the mechanism and the aesthetic effect in musical performance" New York Times "The real masterpiece" New York Times