Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Languages & Literatures


The two powers of Adrian Leverkuhn's life's struggle in Thomas Mann's Doktor Faustus, his hunger for and failure to rationally obtain truth as well as his unabating truth-ignoring need for artistic production, eventually cause a tremendous dissonance within him which ultimately leads to his insanity. This struggle, though destined for dissonant failure, nevertheless becomes a successful expression of Leverkuhn's oneness both with all humanity's struggle for truth and with modern humanity's consciousness of its failure to find truth. Leverkuhn's lifelong struggle is best represented in the novel through Leverkuhn's musical compositions and in them, through his fictional development and use of Arnold Schonberg's 12-tone technique and of Theodor Wiesengrund Adorno's philosophy of music. It will be the object of this thesis to analyze Leverkuhn's struggle for truth as well as his need for artistic production, to explain the roles of Adorno's philosophy of music and 12-tone music in this struggle, to show how the built-up dissonance within Leverkuhn finally destroys him, and to point toward the success Leverkuhn achieves within his failure.