Zwischen höllischem Feuer und doppeltem Segen
Geniekonzepte in Thomas Manns Romanen Lotte in Weimar, Joseph und seine Brüder und Doktor Faustus
1. Edition 2011
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For over 2000 years, mankind has been fascinated by the idea of genius, and the explanations of this phenomenon range from Plato's notion of divine madness to the claim of absolute originality in the Sturm und Drang period. The protagonists of Thomas Mann's novels Lotte in Weimar ('The Beloved Returns'), Joseph and His Brothers, and Doctor Faustus are part of this tradition: Goethe, to Mann the epitome of genius, is presented as an artist of the Fin de Siècle; the brilliant composer Adrian Leverkühn, who makes a deal with the Devil to heighten his creativity, is depicted with reference to the ancient concepts of inspiration and melancholy; and Joseph, bearer of the 'double blessing', transcends in his person the very concept of genius. This study analyzes how Thomas Mann's fictional characters continue the tradition of genius and, at the same time, are convincingly presented as modern-time genius figures.