Mann began working on The Magic Mountain in 1912, following a few weeks' visit to a sanatorium in Switzerland. Twelve years later the novel that had begun as a short story appeared in two long volumes. The war that had postponed the book's completion had "incalculably enriched its content." Now it was a massive meditation on "the inner significance of an epoch, the pre-war period of European history." It was an immense international success from the time of its publication.
The Magic Mountain is the story of an unassuming, undistinguished young engineer named Hans Castorp who sits on the balcony of a sanatorium, wrapped in his camel's hair blanket, thermometer in his mouth, naively but earnestly pondering the meaning of life, time, and his love for the beautiful Frau Chauchat. Among the other characters on this Germanic ship of fools are the malapropian Frau Stohr; Hofrat Behrens, the head doctor, and his hearty but sick-looking sidekick, Dr. Krokowski; Ludovico Settembrini, the enlightened humanist; Han's noble cousin Joachim Ziemssen; and Hermine Kleefeld, who, with her whistling pneumothorax, is the pride of the Half-Lung Club. In this community organization completely in reference to disease, Hans Castrop achieves a kind of transcendence unimaginable in the world of the "flatlands" below him.
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Hans Castorp is 'a perfectly ordinary, if engaging young man' when he goes to visit his cousin in an exclusive sanatorium in the Swiss Alps.What should have been a three week trip turns into a seven year stay. Hans falls in love and becomes intoxicated with the ideas he hears at the clinic - ideas which will strain and crack apart in a world on the verge of the First World War.Review:
"Magnificent... a beautiful, feverish account of obsessive love" (Jonathan Coe Guardian)
"Featuring lengthy debates between humanist freemasons and Jews-turned-Catholics, a long love-scene written entirely in French and a brilliant hallucinatory journey down the snowy slopes, it merits multiple readings. A novel for a lifetime not just a rainy afternoon" ( Guardian)
"A monumental writer" ( Sunday Telegraph)
"The greatest German novelist of the 20th century" ( Spectator)
"Mann is Germany's outstanding modern classic, a decadent representative of the tradition of Goethe and Schiller. With his famous irony, he was up there with Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and Freud, holding together the modern world with a love of art and imagination to compensate for the emptiness left by social and religious collapse." ( Independent)
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Book Description Penguin Books, 1990. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P11014018144X