By Their Epithets Shall Ye Know Them
In response to Paul Claudel’s dictum—‘fear of the adjective is the beginning of style’—a defence of adjectival extravagance, mobilizing Nabokov and Mann, Joseph Roth and Herta Müller, to showcase the literary power of the epithet, and its ability to alchemize the noun.
Teddy and Tommy: The Masks of Doctor Faustus
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?
In Bluebeard’s Chamber: Guilt and Thomas Mann
What deadly secrets (boys apart) did Thomas Mann have to hide? The Auguste Dupin of German letters follows a trail of bloody knives, howling dogs and unbidden confessions from Buddenbrooks and ‘Tonio Kröger’ to Doktor Faustus and Felix Krull.