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Doctor Faustus – Thomas Mann

 
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Posted September 4, 2016 by

Doctor Faustus – Thomas Mann – 1947

Reviewed by: James F. Welch          Date: 20 February 2003

I find Mann to be an interesting writer, but his prose and ideas are often dense and need a lot of concentration. This work must have had a particularly poignant meaning to him, because of his experiences with his homeland and the Nazis. It is the Faust story, but is modern, i.e., 20th century. The protagonist is a musician who basically sells his soul to become a famous musician. It ultimately traces the road to World War II and its subsequent ruin for the German people. Mann was forced to leave Germany in the ’30’s by the Nazis, whom he hated. He never really returned, and this book is his “I-told-you-so” to the German people. I think he was a little upset, not just about his own experiences, but those of the Germans themselves. He felt like he had warned them, and this book reflects his intense anger about the war and its ultimate catastrophe. This is a good book, but there’s a big ax to grind.


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