Virtual Course | Reading Thomas Mann’s Doctor Faustus with Anne Hall [in progress]

Date / Time

  • September 15, 2021
    6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
  • October 6, 2021
    6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
  • November 10, 2021
    6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
  • December 8, 2021
    6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
  • January 12, 2022
    6:30 pm - 8:30 pm



  • Tuition for this course is $250.
  • Rosenbach members receive a 10% discount on tuition.
  • Not a member? We invite you to join upon registration. Click here for more information about membership.
  • This course is limited to participants who are 17 years of age or older.
  • This course is virtually over Zoom. Please check your spam folder for your email confirmation.
  • If you have questions about registration, please call (215) 732-1600 or email [email protected].
  • Registration opens for Delancey Society members on August 4, for members on August 6, and for the general public on August 9.



Course Description

The background of Thomas Mann’s Doctor Faustus is the rise of Nazism in Germany. Its wider theme is modern culture, which might best be characterized, in Mann’s words, as “culture without the cult,” that is, culture without a connection to a transcendent world. For Mann, modern culture, seeking intensity of feeling, takes as its hero Nietzsche, who thought creative energy, not a quest for the truth, is the best ground for a renewal of culture. Such a path would allow artists to explore human experience more fully. In Mann’s view, however, modern art has set artists on a ceaseless quest for novelty and difficulty for their own sake. In so doing, they have cut themselves off from what Mann calls “the bovine warmth” of art, a language that can speak to the general reader and to the soul of a nation. Mann’s hero makes a “Faustian bargain” with the devil, selling his soul in exchange for ever renewed creative invention. In case you are a lover of classical music, Doctor Faustus makes frequent reference to famous musical works. Probably as a ploy for notoriety, Schoenberg brought suit against Mann for attributing 12-tone music to the hero of his tale.

Required Text

Please be sure to get the translation by John E. Woods, Doctor Faustus: The Life of the German Composer Adrian Leverkühn As Told by a Friend, published by Vintage ISBN 375701168

Reading Thomas Mann’s Doctor Faustus with Anne Hall Syllabus

About the Instructor

Anne Hall taught for 25 years in the English department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, another 18 years in the English department at the University of Pennsylvania, and for The Rosenbach, has led courses on Mann’s The Magic Mountain, Henry James’ The Portrait of a Lady and James’ The Ambassadors.

Scholarship Opportunities

Scholarships may be available for this course. For more information, please contact Emilie Parker at [email protected].

About Rosenbach Courses

Revisit beloved classics or experience new ones with Rosenbach courses. Book lovers delve into fiction, history, and poetry with the guidance of a literary expert and the company of other readers. See all upcoming courses.

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