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The Magic Mountain

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4.13  ·  Rating Details  ·  22,564 Ratings  ·  1,224 Reviews
Written by the most important figure in German literature in the first half of this century, The Magic Mountain is in Mann's own words 'a dialectic novel'. The seeting (like that of his earlier Tristan)is a sanatorium high in the Swiss Alps; and it is into this rarefield and extra-mundane atmosphere, devoted to and organized in the service of ill-health, that young Hans Ca ...more
Paperback, Penguin Modern Classics, 716 pages
Published 1960 by Penguin Books (first published 1924)
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Virtuella A profound understanding of the human condition, of our culture and its decline, of philosophy, religion, psychology; combined with the very best use…moreA profound understanding of the human condition, of our culture and its decline, of philosophy, religion, psychology; combined with the very best use of the German language.(less)
The Usual Well, I read my copy on the bus but...
OK, I'm being annoying. I'm pretty sure it's still in copyright so you're going to need to visit a bookshop.
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Kalliope
Nov 30, 2015 Kalliope rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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
Jason
I am in a good mood today!

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
Megha
Dec 18, 2012 Megha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews

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
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Warwick

You’re faced with a daunting task when you try to talk about The Magic Mountain – there are so many threads that to pull on one seems unfair to the others. For some it’s a meditation on time, for others it’s the foundational ‘sick-lit’ masterpiece; it’s an allegory of pre-First World War Europe, say one group of supporters; not at all, argue others, it’s a parody of the Bildungsroman tradition.

And yet despite the profusion of themes and ideas, this is a supremely contained book. ‘Insular’ you mi
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Samadrita
Imagine being stuck in a place where all sense of time is lost in the web of inactivity, a place which enables people to lead a life devoid of any greater purpose and only focused on recuperation from a queer illness, a place almost hermetically sealed and self-controlled, successfully keeping the repercussions of wars and diplomatic feuds between nations at bay. Imagine being rid of all your earthly woes of finding means of survival and all the elements that stand as pillars supporting the norm ...more
Lance Greenfield
Mar 03, 2015 Lance Greenfield rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-up-on
At the risk of being labelled a Philistine, I declare that this book is one of the most insufferably boring tomes that has ever made it onto my bedside table. I admit that I only struggled my way through the first 170 pages, but that was enough to convince me that I should not waste any more minutes of my precious life wading through any more of this drivel.

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
matt
If you give this book a chance, and some long quiet hours with your full attention, you will be in the midst of incredible richness.

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
Aubrey
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a contestant for the spot of my absolute favorite novel. The judgment is only being withheld due to the fact that I currently don't have a review for Of Human Bondage, so no accurate comparison can be made as of yet. However. It must be said that if the previous book gave me hope for the human condition, this one explosively revitalized my admiration for the human ideal.

Few people write like this nowadays. Most don't appreciate their world and its myriad ideas and o
...more
Ian Vinogradus
Socratic Dialogues

"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.

Becau
...more
Dolors
Oct 02, 2014 Dolors rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Seekers of the controversial currents of thought in the Nineteenth Century
Recommended to Dolors by: Thomas Mann
Impressions on my first reading of "The Magic Mountain" in 2009. Before GR

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
Lee
Sep 20, 2012 Lee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In 1997, in Jamaica Plain, Boston, ~4 am, mid-June, after a college friend's band that was blowing up at the time played the Middle East and everyone afterwards came back to our place, I remember a coolish girl on our porch saying to me something like "Oh, you like to read? I bet you like boring shit like The Magic Mountain." I don't remember my response but since then whenever I've thought of this book I've flashed to that scene and her assumption that only pretentious little fuckers read books ...more
Fionnuala
Reviewed in December, 2013


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 respir
...more
Geoff
Apr 16, 2015 Geoff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
~~~

“The Hamlet of Europe now looks upon millions of ghosts” Paul Valery wrote. Elsinore is everywhere. “The time is out of joint” spoke Hamlet. And he gazed at laughing skulls and procrastinated and made colloquies with ghosts within the walls his cliffside castle. Hans Castorp also waits, lingers, decides not to decide, dallies with whether it is better to be or not to be, listens to his attendant spirits, weighs skulls in the palm of his hand while time pulses around him on great heights. But
...more
Kim
Oct 19, 2013 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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
Thomas
Nov 29, 2007 Thomas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I just finished Thomas Mann's Der Zauberberg (The Magic Mountain, tr. John Woods), and without a doubt it is among the five best works of literature that I have ever read. Covering more than 700 densely-packed pages, it is not for the light of heart, but provides ample reward for the tenacious reader. Published in 1924 and winning the Nobel Prize for literature in 1929, The Magic Mountain should reside on your shelf next to The Brothers Karamazov, The Persian Letters, The Sorrows of Young Werthe ...more
Lawyer
Oct 07, 2013 Lawyer rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those with patience and perseverance
Recommended to Lawyer by: The Thomas Mann Group
The Magic Mountain: Thomas Mann's Ambiguous Bildungsroman

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
Lotz
Ah yes, irony! Beware of the irony that flourishes here, my good engineer.

In my freshman year of college, I took a literature course to fulfill a core curriculum requirement: Sexuality in Literature. It was a great class; we read Plato’s Symposium, Sappho’s poetry, the Song of Solomon, Sade, and Sacher-Masoch. But of all the great books we made our way through that semester, the one that most stuck with me was Mann’s collection of short fiction, which included Death in Venice.

I was a negligen
...more
Hadrian
Jun 17, 2011 Hadrian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: german, fiction, favorites
Finally read this, after several failed attempts with a truly awful translation (Lowe-Porter's). I've missed out on a truly extraordinary novel for too long. The dazzling descriptions and the intricate and fiery conversations of the characters are truly amazing. This book is a labyrinth of ideas and thoughts and definitely merits further study.
Szplug
Nov 18, 2009 Szplug rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In my opinion, Thomas Mann was a genius and one of the most brilliant writers of the twentieth century. I originally read most of his works through the H. T. Lowe-Porter translations, which, though elegant and literary in their own right, took several liberties with Mann's ideas, subtleties, and humor. I have been grabbing up the newer translations by John E. Woods which, in my opinion, are superior to Lowe-Porter's in virtually every aspect. If you are planning to tackle this, probably the best ...more
Sophie
Jan 22, 2016 Sophie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
A Bildungsroman, or novel of initiation, as noted by Thomas Mann himself, concisely written and challenging. Mann spends the first book setting the backdrop and then focuses gradually more and more on his characters; on the way that each of them thinks and acts, thus creating fleshed out personalities.

Our main protagonist is Hans Castorp, whose psychological and intellectual growth we follow during his 7 year stay in the sanatorium. His representation of the mediocre German bourgeois is confront
...more
Mala
Apr 17, 2015 Mala rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Philosophers, Debaters, Readers with lots of time on their hands.
"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested."
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
...more
Alex
Wimps in the Mist

Time is not a constant, said Einstein in 1916, and his fellow German Thomas Mann was like whoa. Eight years later he finished Magic Mountain, which proves that time is relative by making the experience of reading it last fucking forever.

Here is the "plot": Young Hans Castorp has found that he doesn't enjoy having a job, or anything else about life, so when he ambles up a mountain to visit his consumptive cousin Joachim who does nothing but sit around wrapped in a blanket all day
...more
Ahmed
Aug 16, 2016 Ahmed rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

وداعًا هانز كاستورب الشريف،وداعًا،ابن الحياة رقيق الصحة!حكايتك رُويت.رويناها حتى النهاية،وهي ليست بالقصيرة ولا بالطويلة،بل كانت سحرية حكيناها من أجلها هي وليس من أجلك،ذلك انك إنسان بسيط….
وداعًا إن كنت حيًا أم ميتًا!دلائل نجاحك فقيرة. الرقصة المتهورة التي بها أُصيبت مصائرك،سوف تستمر مع ذلك بضع سنوات شريرات، نحن لا نكترث بأن نراهن على حياتك في الوقت الذي تنتهي فيه. لا بل حتى نعترف قائلين أننا بدون اهتمام كبير نترك المسألة مفتوحة. مغامرات الجسد ومغامرات الروح ،بينما تعزز بساطتك ،تخولك حق المعرفة با
...more
Sue
Oct 28, 2013 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well I have finished! and Hans Castorp, well he has spent his seven years on the mountain thinking about time, freedom, love, illness, but not thinking too aggressively about anything. He is not an aggressive fellow. He receives...from everyone. Mann uses him as an Everyman in a wilderness of ideas of various stripes, ideas important to the early 20th century and all the havoc and madness to come.

There are parts of this novel that I loved, where the prose simply glowed and was such a pleasure to
...more
Daniel
Mar 10, 2011 Daniel marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
"I don't understand," Hans Castorp said. "I don't understand how someone can not be a smoker - why it's like robbing yourself of the best part of life, so to speak, or at least of an absolutely first rate pleasure. I eat, I look forward to it again, in fact I can honestly say that I actually only eat so that I can smoke, although that's an exaggeration of course. But a day without tobacco - that would be absolutely insipid, a dull, totally wasted day. And if some morning I had to tell myself: th ...more
Yelena Malcolm
Oct 01, 2007 Yelena Malcolm rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Masochists
I could only pick one year for when I read this book, but the truth is that I started it in 1991 and read 100 pages every year until I finished the damn thing in 1998.

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
Emilian Kasemi
Indisputable masterpiece !!! The top of the mountain of world literature, from which you can look at "things" in a different light. An initiatory book, very inspiring.
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), because this book should be read twice - as his author recommends - to fully enjoy, as we do with music. Because this novel was written like a symphony!

Ps:
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El
Tagline: Time. It Happens.

You know how in The Fellowship of the Ring Boromir says "One does not simply walk into Mordor", and then a hundred million nerds created memes about a hundred million nerdy things? Like see for yourself.

One does not simply pick up and read The Magic Mountain.

The Magic Mountain is all sorts of things - it's a beautiful story; an investigation in religion, philosophy, spiritualism; a biography of tuberculosis; a novel of ideas [insert collective groan here]; and an instru
...more
Chris
This book had been sitting, unread, on my bookshelf for some time. It has the reputation like Ulysses. It doesn’t help that I know people who gave up half way into both. But I read Joyce, and with this book, there was a group reading it. So I read it.

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
Andrei Tamaş
Mar 30, 2016 Andrei Tamaş rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Hans Castorp: produsul dialecticii dintre iezuitul Leo Naptha şi progresistul Ludovico Settembrini. Eram adineaori sub duş şi mi-a venit brusc în minte scena duelului. Cred că e un moment literar (lirism, ce s-o lungesc?!) definitoriu pentru mine. Plus finalul acela poetic ("Adio, Hans Castorp, brav copil răsfăţat al vieţii...")...
Şi când mă gândesc că, atunci când am început volumul, voiam să-l abandonez din pricina detaliilor de factură anatomică...
"Muntele vrăjit" rămâne unul dintre romanele
...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

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
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