Books: Case History of a Genius

DOCTOR FAUSTUS (510 pp.)—Thomas Mann—Knopf ($3.50).

In a poll of the world's literary critics, Nobel Prizewinner Thomas Mann would probably win the nomination as the greatest living novelist. He would not, however, win any prizes as the most read—or most readable. His ninth and latest novel, Dr. Faustus, is probably his most difficult. A November co-choice of the Book-of-the-Month Club,* Dr. Faustus is a challenge to the club's membership, who will find it a chewy mouthful after some of the literary pap they have been fed recently.

Ostensibly Faustus is the biography-in-progress of a fictitious German composer, Adrian Leverkühn, who was born in...

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