You, Me, and Doctor Faustus

posted in: School 5

A 17th century cover for a different Doctor Faustus (except if you've seen one Mephisto, you've seen 'em all, am I right??) Image: Wikipedia.


The following is an imaginary convo between you and me but it’s like, super real. 

YOU: Why the long face?

ME: I have to read all of Thomas Mann’s Doctor Faustus by Tuesday. For school.

YOU: That’s that one about the guy who sells his soul to the devil for fame and glory, right?

ME: Pretty much.

YOU: And he’s got the good angel on one shoulder and the devil on another, doesn’t he?

ME: Yep.

YOU: It’s not Shakespeare, is it? Isn’t Doctor Faustus a really old story?

ME: (Sighs.) There are a million versions. Thomas Mann’s was published in 1947 and it’s this classic, scary story, retold in modern times, but it’s also big, intricate allegory for Germany under fascism. It’s incredible. This book is like… It’s a brocade. A tapestry. But all that richness don’t make it fast reading. And I’m only on page 150.

YOU: Out of?

ME: Out of 534.

YOU: (Whistles.) Why are you talking to me, kid? You better this laptop and crack that book.

ME: I’m sleepy and I’m grumpy!

YOU: You’re in grad school! This is how it works! You read long books and you read ’em fast! What do you think you’re paying for?

ME: I have to write a response paper tooooooo —

YOU: Mary Katherine Fons, I am about to take this blog away from you. Go get that book. Get yourself some tea, pull Pendennis into your lap, and quit yer bellyachin’. Mann’s novel is a masterpiece and your heart, brain, and soul are being nourished and enriched with every sentence you read.

ME: Maybe I could sell my soul to Mephistopheles and just snap my f—

YOU: Mary!

5 Responses

  1. HelenMarie
    | Reply

    Yes. All that. And my best news of the day is that yesterday I got to take a workshop with Pepper Cory, and last night I got to share a delightful meal of Asian stile food at Kamita in Audubon, PA, with Elly Levy and Pepper, after a fun and informative lecture by the inimitable SARAH BOND. More about Sarah, later, y’all!

  2. HelenMarie
    | Reply

    And our grandson, Ben Van Meter, is a National Merit Finalist! Crossing my fingers for a nice scholarship for him!

  3. Pamela Keown
    | Reply

    HaHaHaHa….. I wasn’t expecting the end. You’re great Mary!

  4. […] I’m afraid Doctor Faustus is not finished Fausting himself into a froth, yet — and the clock is ticking. […]

  5. Clsire
    | Reply

    At least you got to read in English! I got to read German back in my college days!

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