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Doctor Faustus
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1001 Monthly Group Read > June {2018} Group Read -- DOCTOR FAUSTUS by Thomas Mann

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message 1: by Charity (new)

Charity (charityross) Discussion time


message 2: by Janet (new) - added it

Janet | 23 comments Gosh - this book is making me feel inadequate as a reader. I'm reading the translation by HT Lowe-Porter and am not sure if it's the original, the translation or my ageing brain that's the problem. I read and enjoyed lots of Thomas Mann years ago - my copy of DF has a bookmark showing I started it c.1992 and gave up! Am determined to make it this time.


Augusta It's definitely a hard read, I find the musical stuff especially difficult to get through. I'm just reading it slowly to take it all in.


Karen Hoehne | 1178 comments Mod
LOL -- I'm still in the Introduction!


message 5: by Janet (new) - added it

Janet | 23 comments I can't decide whether we're supposed to understand the musical stuff or whether it's supposed to go over our heads and maybe that's the point. Either way, it's going over my head. I find this can't be my bedtime reading as it's just not relaxing. But I am kind of enjoying it. I think.


message 6: by Rosemary (last edited Jun 21, 2018 01:27AM) (new) - added it

Rosemary | 88 comments So disappointed in this after loving The Magic Mountain. The reviews for this are overwhelmingly stellar so I suppose it's me. I refuse to feel "inadequate as a reader", though, and hope you will rise above that, Janet! I'm telling myself it's just because I don't know the first thing about classical music.

I think we are supposed to understand the musical parts, and probably 70 years ago, most readers willing to tackle this book would have had more musical knowledge than we do today.

It's not just the music, though, if I'm honest. I can't seem to connect with anything relating to Adrian--only with the descriptions of places and the parts about other events and people.


Diane  | 2334 comments Mod
My rating: 2.5 stars.

I was disappointed as well, as I had loved his writing in the past. The story itself was great, but the execution made it more of a slog. If you can get through the first 300 pages, it does improve. It is a difficult and tedious read.


Fiona Robson | 45 comments I really hated this book! It was sooooooooooooo boring. And I've found all the other Thomas Mann books really dull and hard work, too. I was disappointed because I once heard that he was one of Mishima's favourite authors, so I presumed he must be good in some way!


Amanda Dawn | 185 comments I really love Marlowe's Dr. Faustus play, and have conflicting feelings about Mann (I found Death in Venice well written but extremely creepy), so I didn't know how I would feel about this one. Overall, I liked it and there were things I thought worked, but it did feel drawn out and too cerebral for being cerebral's sake in certain parts (but maybe that's just because I don't know a lot about classical music besides casually enjoying it).

I really loved how Adrian's descent into madness mirrors the German political climate of that era, and also the ambiguity in portraying whether the Mephistopheles figure was real or imagined in his delusions.

However, I'm not sure I find the main crux of the book- the idea that madness is the price of genius- to be that enthralling or valid. I feel like its a gross misconception (certainly many brilliant minds were tortured, but many weren't and we tend to use selection bias because of this trope), and going mad by giving yourself something like syphilis wouldn't be likely to suddenly make you more brilliant.


Rosemarie I read this book a few years ago in German and loved it. I can see how it would be difficult to translate into English, since Mann has such a convoluted style.


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