"John E. Woods is revising our impression of Thomas Mann, masterpiece by masterpiece." —The New Yorker
"Doctor Faustus is Mann's deepest artistic gesture. . . . Finely translated by John E. Woods." —The New Republic
Thomas Mann's last great novel, first published in 1947 and now newly rendered into English by acclaimed translator John E. Woods, is a modern reworking of the Faust legend, in which Germany sells its soul to the Devil. Mann's protagonist, the composer Adrian Leverkühn, is the flower of German culture, a brilliant, isolated, overreaching figure, his radical new music a breakneck game played by art at the very edge of impossibility. In return for twenty-four years of unparalleled musical accomplishment, he bargains away his soul—and the ability to love his fellow man.
Leverkühn's life story is a brilliant allegory of the rise of the Third Reich, of Germany's renunciation of its own humanity and its embrace of ambition and nihilism. It is also Mann's most profound meditation on the German genius—both national and individual—and the terrible responsibilities of the truly great artist.