What's your opinion about this book? I've not seen it being discussed on /lit.
According to one of my professors, an European intellectual must read the Brothers Karamazov, Les Miserables and this. Is he right? Does these three books sum up the European literacy?
my favorite mann.
i think if you want a comprehensive overview of european literacy magic mountain is better. it's more encompassing in scope, whereas doctor faustus is more concerned with art and aesthetics in a more narrow way.
mann gets discussed now and then (there was a magic mountain thread earlier today) but he's definitely underread here. mainly cause he's actually good and not meme :^)
My professor said he chose these three books, because they represent the three most significant nations in literature (implying that Russian culture is part of Europe), they aren't short or simple at all and can be considered as classics by their own right.
I'll add the Magic Mountain to my to-read list.
I've not read Marlowe's play, but I googled it, so I figured its the dramatization of the classic Faust legend from the 1600's (so an earlier version than Goethe's).
In comparsion, Mann's Faustus is a 600-page novel, written during WW2. A fictive narrator writes the biography of his composer friend, a faustian artist character, who, at one point, meets the devil (a scene much similar to Ivan's mental breakdown in Brothers K.) and sells his soul. To fulfil his artistic works, he moves away from people to a distant village for 24 years. Becomes a renowned composer, then after writing his greatest work, he becomes ill and dies.
About one-third or maybe half of the book is about this story, the other parts are about the narrators impressions on the German society at the time of the novel's story (early 1900's) or at the time he writes the biography (WW2) and essay-ish parts about classical music or arts and humaities in general.
>and essay-ish parts about classical music or arts and humaities in general.
I really enjoyed these sections in The Magic Mountain. I felt they transcended essays though & seemed closer to poetic rhapsodies on human biology, botany, music & to a certain extent greek myth. I'm deep in 2666 at the moment, but I'm absolutely going to queue up a Faust binge. Has anyone seen the film by Alexander Sokurov? It's not perfect, but has one of the greatest visual images in film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jShvbCGync