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New Left Review 20, March-April 2003

The one-sided love story of Theodor Adorno and Thomas Mann and its comedy of errors, as the philosopher wooed, counselled and was misused or rebuffed by the novelist. What was Adorno’s exact role in the genesis of Doctor Faustus, while the two shared an Angeleno exile? Why did they never meet again after the war? Who was the real original of Adrian Leverkühn?



A few years ago, a Scottish newspaper carried the story of a bird-call imitator who, to his great pride, had sustained a conversation with an owl in the next door garden for over a decade. They would call to each other every evening from either side of the wall. One day his wife mentioned the matter to her neighbour. This lady’s husband, it appeared, had also been mimicking an owl for the past ten years. Is it conceivable that this Scottish misunderstanding might cast some light on the complex relationship between Thomas Mann and Theodor Adorno—or Tommy and Teddy, as they called themselves?

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Michael Maar, ‘Teddy and Tommy: The Masks of Doctor Faustus’, NLR 20: £3

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