Thomas Mann: Doktor Faustus [Doctor Faustus]

(2648 words)
  • Hannelore G. Mundt

On 23 May 1943, while living in exile in Southern California, Thomas Mann began writing Doktor Faustus: Das Leben des deutschen Tonsetzers Adrian Leverkühn erzählt von einem Freunde [Doctor Faustus: The Life of the German Composer Adrian Leverkühn as Told by a Friend]. Mann’s plan of a Faust-novel was conceived in 1904 when he contemplated turning the Faust theme, famed in German literature through the chapbook about Dr. Johann Faust (1587) and Goethe’s drama Faust (1808/32), into the narrative of an ambitious artist who, in contracting syphilis and conspiring with the devil, overcomes creative stagnation and produces innovative art. Mann’s desire to emulate Goethe, to underscore his …

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Mundt, Hannelore G.. "Doktor Faustus". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 11 September 2003
[, accessed 23 May 2015.]