Unit 4

Thomas Manns Doktor Faustus



Thomas Mann
Thomas Mann

Discussion Board Posting 14: Leverkuehn's childhood, education and youth
Discussion Board Posting 15: Leverkuehn's destiny: Adrian's pact and life as a musician
Discussion Board Posting 16: Leverkuehn's fate: Adrian's end and the end of the novel

Post essays to the discussion boards concentrating on topics you find most interesting after responding to the questions you find below that relate to the relevant sections of the novel. Your essay should focus on a particular theme or topic and have an introduction, body and conclusion. Your essay should be substantive and show thoughtful analysis. You may wish to consult an article or two in Collection 3 (in Blackboard) for additional assistance in understanding this novel.

This list of questions is to help you focus your reading of the novel and organize your understanding of the text.  Answer each question as you read. Most of the questions will need at least a paragraph to answer, although a few are just to help you spot details.

Night - Alan McGowan Witch's Mirror - Alan McGowan Prison - Alan McGowan
Three visions by Alan McGowan inspired by Goethe's Faust: Night, Witch's Mirror, Prison
  1. What two time periods are represented in the novel?  How?  
  2. How does Mann construct a relationship among genius, illness and the demonic at the start of the novel?
  3. Who is Serenus?
  4. What is his relationship to Adrian?
  5. In what ways are Serenus and Adrian different?
  6. Describe Serenus's family.
  7. Describe Adrian's family.
  8. Describe Adrian's childhood and education.
  9. Describe the experiments of Adrian's father.  How would you characterize them?  What is their purpose?
  10. Describe Adrian's uncle and Adrian's relationship with him.
  11. Which school subject was the only one to interest Adrian? What does this suggest?

Before or during your reading and in your consideration of the novel as a whole and especially of the following questions, you need to listen to some musical works. Click here for a guide to your listening.

  1. Who is Wendell Kretzschmar?
  2. What is the significance of Kretzschmar's lectures about Beethoven's Opus 111?
  3. What does the metaphorical contrast of subjective harmony versus objective polyphony represent?
  4. What is the significance of the lectures about the  Beissel cult in Pennsylvania?
  5. What does Adrian decide to study?  What does Serenus think of this decision?
  6. Where does he go to study?  What does Serenus do?


  1. What happens to Adrian upon his arrival in the university town?  How do we learn about it?
  2. Describe Schlepfuss and his lectures. What are the themes and associations? How does this relate with Adrian's recent experience? What is his theological point of view?
  3. Describe Kumpf and his lectures. To which historical figure does this character allude? What is his theological point of view? What is his significance?
  4. To what childhood experience does the term "Hetaera Esmeralda" refer, and how does the term influence Adrian's work?
  5. Describe Adrian's health.  Describe his experience with doctors.


  1. Who is Rüdiger Schildknapp? What are his main characteristics? What are his relationships with the other characters?
  2. Who is Rudi Schwerdtfeger? What are his main characteristics? What are his relationships with the other characters?
  3. Who are Inez and Clarissa Rodde? What is their fate in the novel?


  1. In chapter 25, Adrian has a visitor.  What does the visitor look like?
  2. Why has the visitor come to see Adrian?
  3. How does Adrian feel in the presence of the visitor?
  4. How much does the visitor know about Adrian?  How does he demonstrate this?
  5. What effect does the visit have on Adrian's life?


  1. Describe Adrian's compositions. On what is each one based? With what ideas or events is each one associated? What is the significance of each work in the progress of the novel and in the unfolding of Adrian's destiny?
  2. Describe Adrian's home. What is Serenus' opinion of this choice of residence? Why?
  3. What is the relationship between Rudi and Inez?  Rudi and Adrian?
  4. Who is Marie Godeau? What role does she play in Adrian's life?
  5. Who is Nepomuk Schneidewein?  What is his relationship to Adrian?
  6. What does Adrian vow when Echo leaves?  What does he produce?
  7. Describe Adrian's last public appearance.
  8. Describe Adrian's end.
When you are through with these questions, continue with summary questions for reflection.