In this dizzyingly rich novel of ideas, Mann uses a sanatorium in the Swiss Alpsa community devoted exclusively to sicknessas a microcosm for Europe, which in the years before 1914 was already exhibiting the first symptoms of its own terminal irrationality. The Magic Mountain is a monumental work of erudition and irony, sexual tension and intellectual ferment, a book tha...more
Which should be readily apparent, because if I were not, this book would probably have received only two stars from me—not as a reflection of its literary quality per se, but rather as a reflection of my own reaction to it.
Here is what happened yesterday: I finished this book and tossed it forcefully onto the coffee table next to me in what may be seen as a transparent attempt to attract attention to myself (which is something I tend to do often) and sure enough someone...more
THE POLKA MACABRE of the SEVEN STEPS
It is dusk, and we are on a slim boat, similar to a black gondola and approach an isolated island. As I can make out better the shapes, I realize I have seen this before. The image in front of my eyes is like a black and white version of Arnold Bocklin’s painting and now I am transported to his Isle of the Dead. There is deep silence. I can only hear the very faint stirring of the water as the boat slides over it. Well no, there is also a faint melody which be...more
Imagine hiking up a steep mountain. You are not quite winning the game of hide & seek with the Sun and it has got its fiery eyes firmly on you. Your legs are chewing your ears off with incessant grumbling. With each step you take, a wish to flop down right there grows stronger. One of these steps carries you to a spot where a spectacular vista suddenly opens up before you. For the briefest moment, the scene in front of you consumes not only your vision, but your consciousness. It is only in...more
I know, I have also been chastised for criticising modern art in the same way. Tracey Emin's "Unmade Bed" and Thomas Mann's "The Magic Moun...more
Few people write like this nowadays. Most don't appreciate their world and its myriad ideas and o...more
"The Magic Mountain" is a sequel to “Death in Venice”.
Just as Plato’s Socratic Dialogues were the foundation of the novella, they guide the narrative of "TMM", a "Bildungsroman" that is concerned with the education of the protagonist, Hans Castorp, during the seven year period from ages 23 to 30.
Castorp doesn’t so much learn or grow by his physical actions. The character development is intellectual, a development which is equally apparent in both the author and the reader.
Wise, erudite, deeply engaged but titanically remote, grand, magisterial, ironic, cosmopolitan, comic in a sly gently mocking way.
They don't write 'em like this anymore. the title is onomatpoeic. The book itself is mountainous....some of the deepest philosophical prophecy on what the 20th Century was, and would become. The characters are allegorical, true, but the c...more
I love when the themes of two books I happen to be reading overlap. And when those themes also reflect aspects of my own life experience, I feel a wonderful convergence, an exchange of awareness at an almost physical level as if the the space between the pages where the authors ideas are laid out and my reading of their pages has become porous and a continual flow happens between all three, an exchange not unlike the one that happens in the deepest tissues of the respiratory system when we breat...more
I finished this over-long book and I can only say I am not prepared to read it again, even if Thomas Mann himself asked me in person.
A complex book, philosophy, history and politics all mixed up with symbolism and irony. The author plays with the perception of time and the reader loses touch with reality. A swayed main character, too much of vain discourse and little sense.
I won't deny the singularity of the work, but I...more
There were times when I wondered if I’d ever finish this book. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to, but reading a novel driven by ideas rather by plot or character has its challenges. Particularly if, like me, you do most of your reading at night, in between getting into bed and switching off the light. This is not the kind of novel which can be read, digested and disposed of quickly. It demands concentration, patience and perseverance – qualities in which I am frequently lacking at the end of a day...more
Ah, Thomas Mann, you have held me captive from a hot summer's day in August until I have begun to see the first hints of color tinging the leaves with a hue that will lead to their fall and ultimate decay. You have occupied my thoughts during long days and nights. I do not know whether to bless you or curse you, for I recognize how precious time is. At times the tick of the clock sounds ominous.
At its most basic level Mann tells us of the...more
There are parts of this novel that I loved, where the prose simply glowed and was such a pleasure to...more
Never have I come across a man (only Proust in another way) so obsessed with the perception of time. I will reread it (especially the chapter "Snow" which greatly impressed me), this book should be read twice - as his author recommends - to fully enjoy, as we do with the music. Because this novel was written like a symphony!
This book was horrific. There was no point, no enjoyment, no anything save for a harrowing description, 900 pages in length, of some sad sack in a tuberculosis sanitarium. The only reason I even finished the book was that I refused to let it defeat me.
It wasn't until a friend I respect above all others urged me, pleaded with me, b...more
Francis Bacon Of Studies
TMM clearly belongs in the final category.
Do not believe the naysayers– The Magic Mountain is an easy read i.e. if you know your Hegel,Schopenhauer, & Nietzsche well,also Einstein's Theory of Relativity, Freud's literature on Psychoanalysis, & Classical, Medieval,& Modern Western religio-politico-cultural thoughts. I'm,of course,assuming that (like Mann) you cut yo...more
And liked it far more than I liked Ulysses.
The two books are somewhat similar – massive, dense, reputations. I always had the impression with Ulysses that Joyce was showing off how smart and clever he was, and that feeling interfered with the enj...more
During his extended stay, the young, idealistic yet fatalistic and clueless young man transformed almost miraculously. The people...more
Con che coraggio consigliare ad un amico la lettura di un volume di oltre 600 pagine in cui ci sono digressioni filosofiche sul giansenismo, la massoneria e il senso della vita?
Già, è un problema di coscienza.
Una mia amica mi ha detto che non riesce mai a superare le prime cinque pagine e mi ha anche informato che questo libro è tristemente famoso per l’alto numero di “abbandoni” da parte dei lettori.
Io avevo sempre desiderato leggerlo perché è considerato...more
Thomas Mann was a German novelist, short story writer, social critic, philanthropist, essayist, and 1929 Nobel Prize laureate, known for his series of highly symbolic and ironic epic novels and novellas, noted for their insight into the psychology of the artist and the intel...more