Our aim is to exchange views on the themes and meaning of topical, culturally diverse and thought-provoking books

Thursday, 1 March 2018

The Magic Mountain

By Thomas Mann 1924

This book is considered as one of the most influential works of the 20th German literature and many learned to study about this book and his 
philosophical Ideas til today.

Thomas Mann is to be known as one of the best German writers.
He received the Nobel price in 1929 for his book “The Buddenbrocks”
He marries Katja Pringsheim in 1905., daughter of a Mathematics Professor and Millionaires family.
By that time it was well-known that he was homosexual but nevertheless
he fathered 5 children
All of his children became quite famous as writers, musician, artist
but lead quite troubled lives.
The family struggled with homosexuality, suicides, 2 of the sons committed suicide,and incest, his wife Katja was deeply in love with her brother,
Thomas Mann was all his life in homosexual relationships and his
children Erika and Thomas seems to have much more then a brother-sister
Katja Mann got often sick and was sent to sanatoriums.
By visiting his wife in a Davos sanatorium Thomas Mann became the Idea
for the book “The magic mountain.”
He himself contracted a , cough and was asked to stay but said
‘’No, I prefer to compose the book ‘’the magic mountain’’instead, for had I
agreed to stay I may still be there now!!
The book describes the long cumbersome road of Hans Castorps self education.
Hans Castorp, son of a bourgeois German family, travels to Davos to visit his sick cousin Joachim Ziemsen in the Berghoff sanatorium and instead of 3 weeks visit ends up staying 7 years.
The sanatorium is packed with interesting characters.
He arrives in another world where death is ever present but behind the scenes.
He is exposed to ideas of philosophical an intellectual dimensions via
meeting patients like Sembrini, who wants to introduce him to the enlightenment of humanism and tolerance and
Naphta who is a Hegelian Marxist and in constant discussion and 
disagreement with Sembrini.
He falls under the spell of beautiful Claudia Chauvrat, she represents
erotic temptation, lust and love in a quite degenerate and morbid form.
Joachim, his cousin, is full of ideas of loyalty to his status as an officer.
The whole sanatorium is packed with so many interesting characters
which come completely to life ‘’Thomas Mann at his best!””
The treatment of time is another topic and is analysing it different manifestations makes us looking at time in a whole new way.
It also portraits illness as a state of mind as well as body.
On a political level “’the magic mountain”’ portraits the sick and chauvinistic and decadent European society before world war 1.
Another theme is the difference between the Eastern mentality
‘’passivity’’ and the western mentality ‘’activity’’.
Overall it is an exceptional book to read on many levels and
Mann’s gentle humour makes it a delight to read but be aware
it takes time!


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