A portrayal of genius possessed, through the biography of the composer Adrian Leverkuhn, narrated by his friend Zeitblom in the years 1943-45, as Germany faces ruin.
Mann was the last great European man of letters; his version of the Faust myth, published in 1947, explores Germany's political fate and was written during his exile from Nazi Germany. Mann grafts the contemporary history of Germany on to his familiar theme of the artist alone in the world. Fascism becomes seen as the tragic consequence of the creative process unchannelled; a Faustian inevitability. Doctor Faustus mixes music, philosophy, theology and politics in the history of the fictional composer Adrian Leverkuhn, who sells his soul to the devil in exchange for genius. It is a fable for the 20th century, an attack on the Nazis, a lament for a destroyed Germany and German ideals: a masterpiece. (Kirkus UK)