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Doctor Faustus

Doctor Faustus is a German novel written by Thomas Mann, begun in 1943 and published in 1947 as Doktor Faustus: Das Leben des deutschen Tonsetzers Adrian Leverkühn, erzählt von einem Freunde ("Doctor Faustus: The Life of the German Composer Adrian Leverkühn, Told by a Friend").OutlineThe novel is a re-shaping of the Faust legend set in the context of the first half of the 20th century and the turmoil of Germany in that period. The story centers on the life and work of the (fictitious) composer Adrian Leverkühn. The narrator is Leverkühn's childhood friend Serenus Zeitblom, who writes in Germany between 1943 and 1946.Leverkühn's extraordinary intellect and creativity as a young man mark him as destined for success, but his ambition is for true greatness. He strikes a Faustian bargain for creative genius: he intentionally contracts syphilis, which deepens his artistic inspiration through madness. He is subsequently visited by a Mephistophelean being (who says, in effect, "that you can only see me because you are mad, does not mean that I do not really exist"), and, renouncing love, bargains his soul in exchange for twenty-four years of genius. His madness – his daemonic inspiration – leads to extraordinary musical creativity (which parallels the actual innovations of Arnold Schoenberg).Leverkühn's last creative years are increasingly haunted by his obsession with the Apocalypse and the Last Judgment. He feels the inexorable progress of his neuro-syphilitic madness leading towards complete breakdown. As in certain of the Faust legends, he calls together his closest friends to witness his final collapse. At a chamber-reading of his cantata "The Lamentation of Doctor Faust", he ravingly confesses his demonic pact before becoming incoherent. His madness reduces him to an infantile state in which he lives under the care of his relatives for another ten years.
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Doctor Faustus

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Found: 17.10.2015

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