In Search of Humanity: Reading Thomas Mann
|From the movie Mefisto, based on Klauss Mann's novel|
Again, what a delight! As already indicated, Doktor Faustus is a dark, indeed very dark and heavy novel, a tragic and deeply pessimistic work of mourning (Trauerarbeit) over the catastrophic decline of German culture under Hitler. Now that he had put that task behind him, and World War II was mercifully over at last, it is clear that Mann needed some emotional relief. On every page of this book, you can feel the sheer joy of finally being able again to just tell a story – for the fun of it, without all that heavy sense of responsibility about writing the novel about German’s pact with the devil while knowing all too well that you are yourself Germany’s greatest living writer.