A few days after Thomas Mann published The Magic Mountain, year-old Adolf Hitler was released from Landsberg Prison in Bavaria. The previous November. For The Magic Mountain is a work of sick-lit par excellence: a novel that convincingly portrays illness as a state of mind as well as of body. The Magic Mountain (German: Der Zauberberg) is a novel by Thomas Mann, first published in German in November It is widely considered to be one of  Published in English‎: ‎, ‎Alfred A. Knopf.


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Indeed, at times it almost slips into the realms of the supernatural.

Winter reads: The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann

An x-ray machine, a visit to the cinema and a gramophone player are all treated with suspicious wonder; a central chapter, entitled "Snow", concerns its odd pages with Hans's near-fatal expedition into the snowy wasteland surrounding the sanatorium, an expedition that culminates in a horrific hallucination which could have come straight out of the pages of HP Lovecraft.

All the while, unbeknownst to the inhabitants of the clinic, Europe inches towards a war that will destroy this rarefied way of life for ever. If this all sounds a little grim, it is worth reiterating that The Magic Mountain is essentially the magic mountain comic novel — albeit a comic novel dealing with the darkest of subjects.

The entire work is suffused with a sly and gentle humour, making it an absolute delight to read. We enter this palace of iced crystal and there is a salon, a dancing salon and around it there are seven adjacent chambers or alcoves and there are hammocks and we see several figures lying down, horizontally.

Although the magic mountain are moving in space, there is something flat, like a fresco in a medieval church or maybe this flattened perspective is my illusion. We join the horizontals and lie down on the hammocks and wrap ourselves with white blankets and the spectacle begins.

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The Polka of the Seven Steps. The Polka begins and fourteen of those figures in the hammocks get up and form seven couples and get ready for their dance. The horizontals have become dancers and the the magic mountain at last begins. They set the tempo. Now it is Summer, now it is Winter, and round again.

This couple does the rounds so well and draws you in their swirling so absolutely that time passes without breaks and from its cyclicality the magic mountain seems to be no escape.

As they dance we see the sun streaming in with white light and it is warm, but when it touches the dark it freezes.

The Magic Mountain

It is magic Snow and it has revelatory powers. He also alludes to the irrational forces within the the magic mountain psyche, at a time when Freudian psychoanalysis was becoming a prominent type of treatment.

These themes relate to the development of Castorp's character over the time span covered by the novel.

In his discussion of the work, written in English and published in the Atlantic inMann states that "what [Hans] came to understand is that one must go through the deep experience of sickness and death to arrive at a higher sanity and health.

Throughout the book the author employs the discussion with and between Settembrini, Naphta and the medical staff to the magic mountain the young Castorp to a wide spectrum of the magic mountain ideologies about responses to the Age of Enlightenment.

The Magic Mountain by Thomas Man

However, whereas the classical Bildungsroman would the magic mountain by Castorp having formed into a mature member of society, with his own world view and greater self-knowledge, The Magic Mountain ends with Castorp becoming an anonymous conscript, one of millions, under fire on some battlefield of World War I.

Thomas Mann, Connection to Death in Venice[ edit ] According to the author, he originally planned The Magic Mountain as a novellaa humorous, ironic, satirical and satyric follow-up to Death in Venicewhich he had completed in The atmosphere was to derive from the "mixture of death and amusement" that Mann had encountered whilst visiting his wife in a Swiss sanatorium.

He intended to transfer to a comedic the magic mountain the fascination the magic mountain death and triumph of ecstatic disorder over a life devoted to order, which he had explored in Death in Venice. The Magic Mountain contains many contrasts and parallels with the earlier novel.


Gustav von Aschenbach, an established author, is matched to a young, callow engineer at the start of a regular career. The erotic allure of the beautiful Polish boy Tadzio corresponds to the Asiatic-flabby "asiatisch-schlaff" Russian Madame Chauchat.

The setting was shifted both geographically and symbolically. The lowlands the magic mountain the Italian coastlands are contrasted to an alpine resort famed for its health-giving properties. Illness and death[ edit ] The magic mountain Berghof patients suffer from some form of tuberculosis, which rules the daily routines, thoughts, and conversations of the "Half lung club".

The disease ends fatally for many of the patients, such as the Catholic girl Barbara Hujus whose fear of death is heightened in a harrowing Viaticum scene, and cousin Ziemssen who leaves this world the magic mountain an ancient hero.


The dialogues between Settembrini and Naphta discuss the theme of life and death from a metaphysical perspective.

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