Knowledge Versus Love: The Problems of Passion and Art in Thomas Mann's Doctor Faustus
Green, Rachael Leigh
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Arts
Sanford Ray Schwartz, Thesis Supervisor Lisa Ruth Sternlieb, Honors Advisor Jonathan Paul Eburne, Faculty Reader
Love Knowledge Thomas Mann Doctor Faustus Prometheus Art Passion
Throughout history, myths have been used to explain the unexplainable, explore tensions and conflicts in human history, and to communicate truths about the human condition. Prometheus, the Biblical Adam, and Faust are legends that all confront the idea of knowledge and whether one can go too far in the quest to learn more. In this thesis, I argue that Thomas Mann builds upon these pre-existing myths in his novel Doctor Faustus to expand the tension between love and knowledge in order to explain World War II Germany and the ramifications the Nazi regime had on the world. Though many argue that myths and the questions they raise are becoming obsolete, the idea of forgetting humanity in the quest to learn more is arguably more relevant today than it has ever been before, and Mann’s novel calls this question to the forefront for continued debate.