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El doctor Faustus (1947)

de Thomas Mann

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Es mostren 1-5 de 41 (següent | mostra-les totes)
This is not an easy review for me. I previously posted excellent reviews for Mann's Buddenbrooks and The Magic Mountain. Both books were evidence of Mann's gift for literature. I still have no doubts regarding Mann's well deserved status as a great writer. However (you knew that was coming), I was not so enamored with Doctor Faustus.

I need to preface my remarks by saying that I have no formal musical training. [Why, you ask, am I reading a fictional biography of a composer? Excellent question.] Thus, some of my struggles with the book can be attributed to my musical ignorance. I grant that.

Yet, ill-advisedly, I proceed. Mann spends an inordinate amount of time (pages) on musical theory that only tangentially relates to our central character. One feels more like one is reading a long and dry textbook on music theory. It seemed those lengthy sections begged for an editor.

Less annoying but still questionable is Mann's exposition on the cultural and philosophical milieu of the late nineteenth and early twentieth-century. The discussion is interesting but again, it often feels separate from the flow of the story.

For some strange reason, even the composer's pact with the devil seems artificial and not an integral part of the story. The way the story is written the pact with the devil seems almost superfluous.

A perhaps too critical additional concern, Germany and WWII. Mann periodically includes short observations about the war which, we are told, was taking place as he wrote. His brief observations seem to portray Germany and its culture as the real victims of the war. Although it is true Germany did suffer, the scant attention paid to the horrific treatment of Jews and others is inexcusable. One gets the sense that, for Mann, the tragedy of WWII was that Germany lost.

Finally, I don't feel I came away with any sense of who this composer really was and how his sad fate came to be. The work seems to function better as a music primer and/or German philosophical text than the story of a man. ( )
  colligan | Mar 30, 2022 |
„Ich möchte seine Einsamkeit einem Abgrund vergleichen, in welchem Gefühle, die man ihm entgegenbrachte, lautlos und spurlos untergingen. Um ihn war Kälte – und wie wird mir zumute, indem ich dies Wort gebrauche, das auch er in einem ungeheuerlichen Zusammenhange einst niederschrieb!“ (Zitat Seite 15)

Dr. phil. Serenus Zeitblom ist sechzig Jahre alt, als er am 27. Mai 1943 beginnt, die Lebensgeschichte seines langjährigen Freundes Adrian Leverkühn niederzuschreiben. Der innovative Komponist ist vor drei Jahren verstorben und hat seinem Freund Serenus alle persönlichen Aufzeichnungen und Unterlagen hinterlassen. Auf Grund dieser Aufzeichnungen schildert nun der Ich-Erzähler Serenus Zeitblom die Kindheit, Jugend, gemeinsame Studienzeit, aber auch die weiteren Lebenswege, die unterschiedlich verlaufen, sich jedoch immer wieder kreuzen. Teilweise verfasst Zeitblom die Texte zu einzelnen Kompositionen des genialen Musikers Leverkühn und erlebt auch seinen künstlerischen Werdegang schon ab der frühen Schulzeit mit, mit allen Höhen und Tiefen, geprägt von einer manchmal besessenen Hingabe zur Musik und zum Komponieren, der Suche nach neuen musikalischen Strukturen. „Nur einer so dringlich beobachtenden Freundschaft wie der meinen, konnte ein solcher Bedeutungswechsel der Dinge fühlbar oder ahnbar werden, und Gott sei davor, daß die Wahrheit mir die Freude an Adrians Nähe beeinträchtigt hätte! Was mit ihm vorging, konnte mich erschüttern, mich aber niemals von ihm entfernen.“ (Zitat Seite 322)

Thema und Genre
Den realen Hintergrund dieses biografischen Romans um einen fiktiven Komponisten bildet die Geschichte Deutschlands zwischen 1884 und 1945, die gesellschaftlichen Veränderungen. Das alte Faust-Thema in dieser modernen Version, welche die unerschöpfliche künstlerische Schaffenskraft in den Mittelpunkt des Pakes stellt, steht für das Leben des Adrian Leverkühn, der als Künstler genial und hochbegabt, als Mensch jedoch einsam und unnahbar bis zur Gefühllosigkeit ist. Dieses Buch ist jedoch ebenso ein Gesellschaftsroman, ein zeitgeschichtliches Dokument Deutschlands in diesen wichtigen Jahren, das die Situation des Bildungsbürgertums, die Stellung der Frauen, die kulturellen und künstlerischen Strömungen, besonders in Musik und Sprache, schildert. Es ist eine weit gefasste Suche nach den kulturgeschichtlichen Gründen für die Entstehung des nationalen Gedankengutes, das sich aus dem Verständnis der deutschen Romantik entwickelt hat und mit zum Nationalsozialismus führte. Die Handlungsorte und Personen dieses Romans sind fiktiv, alle haben jedoch reale Vorbilder, dadurch wird dieser Roman auch autobiografisch geprägt.

Meine hier notierten Bemerkungen sind keinesfalls als literaturwissenschaftliche Auseinandersetzung mit diesem Roman von Thomas Mann zu sehen, dafür gibt es qualifizierte Fachliteratur, sondern schildern meine wichtigsten Eindrücke beim Lesen dieses interessanten, ideenreichen, zeitlosen, bis heute noch lebhaft diskutierten Romans des deutschen Literaturnobelpreisträgers. ( )
  Circlestonesbooks | Mar 30, 2022 |
This book is a continuation of my post-election reading program; it turned out to be another appropriate choice, written as it was when the world stood “in Endes Zeichen,” as the narrator expresses it. I first tried to read this nearly a half-century ago, in the translation of H. T. Lowe-Porter, but didn’t get very far; the book was beyond me then. I lacked the knowledge of theology, philosophy, and music theory to appreciate it fully. But more than that, I’m glad I waited so that I could read it in German and savor both Mann’s convoluted style as well as his pastiche of archaic vocabulary.
Thomas Mann seems to be an old-fashioned writer. Certainly, he is less modernistic than contemporaries such as Joyce. In his way, however, he is inventive, particularly in the way he gives the impression that the book is not a novel by having an obtrusive narrator as one of the characters.
Doktor Faustus treats Mann’s familiar theme, artistic genius and its relation to illness and madness, in this case, even the demonic. It is a variation on that theme, though. In many of his earlier works, the protagonist is divided: too bourgeois, he fears, to truly be successful as an artist, with a related fastidious alienation from artistic circles, yet too attracted to art to fit in as a solid burgher. Here, by contrast, the traits of each are apportioned to two characters, the composer Adrian Leverkühn and the narrator, Serenus Zeitblom, a pedantic, small-caliber scholar whose name suggests the transient nature of the decayed humanist tradition he personifies and is powerless to defend.
Another way in which this story of an artist’s life varies from Mann’s earlier works is the way in which Leverkühn’s life and fate correspond to that of Germany in the first half of the 20th century; in a way, it serves as a parable of it. This correspondence is underlined by the way the narrator repeatedly sidetracks himself to ruminate on the course of the war at the time of composition (1943—45). This juxtaposition of two timelines, that of Leverkühn’s life and that of the composition of the narrative is one of the skillful ways Mann suggests the impression of a factual account, rather than a novel.
The title takes its name from the composer’s final work, The Lamentations of Doktor Faustus, a work the narrator describes as simultaneously one of extreme calculation and pure expressivity. This pairing of polar opposites is characteristic of Mann’s recurring preoccupations.
As Leverkühn declares, this cantata, based on the enduring proto-German Faust legend, is nothing less than the retraction of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. That work’s famous closing choral movement, Ode to Joy, celebrates the humanistic ideals of brotherhood and enlightenment, ideals that Germany betrayed.
While not as great an achievement as Der Zauberberg, Tonio Kröger, or Tod in Venedig, this book is so masterful and rich that I can’t give it less than five stars. The complexity of its prose and the topics treated demand attentive reading, but I felt amply rewarded for the effort. Nevertheless, I think I’ll read next something with simpler sentences. Perhaps Hemingway. ( )
1 vota HenrySt123 | Jul 19, 2021 |
I read 80 pages and found little of interest. And I love classical music and have enjoyed other things by Mann. ( )
  KENNERLYDAN | Jul 11, 2021 |
Finally I found the time for it. What a work! Is there anything else comparable written? Musil? Proust? Joyce’s Ulysses? The Brothers Karamazov? Goethe’s Faust? (but the second part never spoke to me). Conceived in 1943, Thomas Mann was than living in exile in the U.S., the german army suffered their first set-backs. The locations are Munich and small places in southern Germany. The time before, during and after WW1 following Leverkühn growing up and maturity is interwoven with the events of the last years of WW2, the (than) present of Leverkühn’s fictional friend Serenus Zeitblom looking back on Leverkühn’s life. Through Thomas Mann’s komplex use of the German language, the reader encountering persons speaking in the local vernacular as well as the protagonist using frequently Early German, the language of Luther, further because of the German characters that are encountered, the life in Munich and in small german villages, and the looming defeat of Germany at the time it is written down, the novel is tightly bound up with Germany and German history, its culture and life in the first half of the 20th century.

Could it then ever speak to an US-reader without knowledge of German and Germany? It may be difficult I would think and may require sustained effort and interest; already the narrator Serenus Zeitblom writes in the Nachschrift that any English translation may be partly at least impossible, i.e. those written in the local vernacular; the Early German spoken by Leverkühn presents also difficulties, the komplex sentences, the amusing names given to some persons - a smile in a dark story - do not make it easier. (I have not looked at any of the English translations)

Hence will the work age and no longer of interest to readers living through different times with different problems? The Faust theme is age-less I would think. And so many other questions, ethical, rational and emotional, are woven into the reminiscences. These may be asked differently now but remain never the less. And similar to a film where the images, the sound, the action and narrative all need to come together, to succeed, here the way the language itself and how it is used is as important as the story itself. Unity has to and is brilliantly achieved. (II-21) ( )
  MeisterPfriem | Feb 22, 2021 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 41 (següent | mostra-les totes)
The career of Thomas Mann's modern Faust is intended to illustrate the political, artistic, and religious dilemmas of the author's time. Yet paradoxically, the story of a former divinity student who bargains his soul and body to become a "musician of genius" is set in the wrong historical era. And the book's major flaw as fiction— counting as minor blemishes the discursiveness, and the imbalance between theory in the first half, story development and human variety in the second—may be attributed to conflicts between Mann's symbolic and realistic intentions.

To compare Dr. Faustus and the realistic novels of, for example, Solzhenitsyn, is to recognize how much more limited in scope is the newer genre. In the sense of embracing the spectrum of humanistic, religious, and artistic themes, Dr. Faustus may be the last of its kind.
afegit per SnootyBaronet | editaNew York Review of Books, Robert Craft

» Afegeix-hi altres autors (122 possibles)

Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Mann, ThomasAutorautor primaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Ekman, KerstinPròlegautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Fontcuberta i Gel, JoanTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Kallio, SinikkaTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Kross, HelgaTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Kurecka, MariaTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Laeis, ChristophDissenyador de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Leverkühn, AdrianEditorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Lowe-Porter, H. T.Traductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Palmen, ConnieEpílegautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Pocar, ErvinoTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Sato, KoichiTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Seki, KusoTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Servicen, LouiseTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Wallenström, UlrikaTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Wessel, ElsbethTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Westphal, GertSprecherautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Woods, John E.Traductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Апт, С.Traductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Ман, Н.Traductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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I wish to state quite definitely that it is by no means out of any wish to bring my own personality into the foreground that I preface with a few words about myself and my own affairs this report on the life of the departed Adrian Leverkuhn.
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… talora in una materia semplice come il tema dell'Arietta, svolto in quelle formidabili variazioni che formano il secondo tempo della sonata. E come il tema di qusto tempo, attraverso cento destini, cento mondi di contrasti ritmici, finisce col perdersi in altitudini vertiginose che si potrebbero chiamare trascendenti o astratte – così l'arte di Beethoven aveva superato sé stessa: dalle regioni tradizionali e abitabili si era sollevata, davanti agli occhi sbigottiti degli uomini, nelle sfere della pura personalità – a un io dolorosamente isolato nell'assoluto, escluso anche, causa la sordità, dal mondo sensibile: sovrano solitario d'un regno spirituale dal quale erano partiti brividi rimasti oscuri persino ai più devoti del suo tempo, e nei cui terrificanti messaggi i contemporanei avevano saputo raccapezzarsi solo per istanti, solo per eccezione.
Dopo un do iniziale accoglie, prima del re, un do diesis, … e questo do diesis aggiunto è l'atto più commovente, più malinconico e conciliante che si possa dare. È come una carezza dolorosamente amorosa sui capelli, su una guancia, un ultimo sguardo negli occhi, quieto e profondo. È la benedizione dell'oggetto, è la frase terribilmente inseguita e umanizzata in modo che travolge e scende nel cuore di chi ascolta come un addio, un addio per sempre, così dolce che gli occhi si empiono di lacrime. … Dopo di che Kretzschmar non ritornò dal pianino alla cattedra. Volto verso di noi, rimase seduto sullo sgabello girevole, nello stesso nostro atteggiamento, chino in avanti, le mani fra le ginocchia, e conchiuse con poche parole la conferenza sul quesito: perché Beethoven non abbia aggiunto un terzo tempo all'op. 111. Dopo aver udito, disse, tutta la sonata potevamo rispondere da soli a questa domanda. – Un terzo tempo? Una nuova ripresa… dopo questo addio? Un ritorno… dopo questo commiato? – Impossibile. Tutto era fatto: nel secondo tempo, in questo tempo enorme la sonata aveva raggiunto la fine, la fine senza ritorno. E se diceva «la sonata» non alludeva soltanto a questa, alla sonata in do minore, ma intendeva la sonata in genere come forma artistica tradizionale: qui terminava la sonata, qui essa aveva compiuto la sua missione, toccato la meta oltre la quale non era possibile andare, qui annullava sé stessa e prendeva commiato – quel cenno d'addio del motivo re-sol sol, confortato melodicamente dal do diesis, era un addio anche in questo senso, un addio grande come l'intera composizione, il commiato dalla Sonata.
Il pianoforte, chi ben guardi, è il diretto e sovrano rappresentante della musica, persino nella sua spiritualità, e per questo lo si deve imparare.
Con la intelligenza si può fare molta strada nella Chiesa, ma non nella religiosità.
– … L'organizzazione è tutto. Senza di essa nulla esiste, e men che meno l'arte. Ed ecco che la soggettività estetica si prese questo compito e si assunse di organizzare l'opera, per proprio impulso, in libertà. – Tu pensi a Beethoven. – Sì, a lui e al principio tecnico col quale la soggettività dominante s'impadronì dell'organizzazione musicale, cioè dello svolgimento. Questo era stato una piccola parte della sonata, un modesto campo di illuminazione e di dinamismo soggettivi. Con Beethoven essa diventa universale, diventa il centro della forma totale che, anche quando è premessa come convenzione, viene assorbita dal lato soggettivo e ricreata in libertà. La variazione dunque, una cosa arcaica, un residuo, diventa il mezzo della spontanea nuova creazione della forma.
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