With this dizzyingly rich novel of ideas, Thomas Mann rose to the front ranks of the great modern novelists, winning the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1929. The Magic Mountain takes place in an exclusive tuberculosis sanatorium in the Swiss Alps–a community devoted to sickness that serves as a fictional microcosm for Europe in the days before the First World War. To this hermetic and otherworldly realm comes Hans Castorp, an “ordinary young man” who arrives for a short visit and ends up staying for seven years, during which he succumbs both to the lure of eros and to the intoxication of ideas.
Acclaimed translator John E. Woods has given us the definitive English version of Mann’s masterpiece. A monumental work of erudition and irony, sexual tension and intellectual ferment, The Magic Mountain is an enduring classic.
(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)
In 1912 Thomas Mann's wife, Katja, stayed in Dr Friedrich Jessen's Waldsanatorium from March to September, suffering from a lung complaint. Mann himself visited her for four weeks in May and June. During that time, he said, he suffered a troublesome catarrh of the upper air passages, owing to the damp, cold atmosphere on the balcony. The consultant diagnosed a 'moist spot' of tubercular infection, just as Dr Behrens in the novel diagnoses Hans Castorp. Mann, however, did not stay in the magic mountain, but hastened back to
Flatland and Munich, where his own doctor advised him to pay no attention. There is an ironic twist to this story which would have amused the novelist ? Katja, it appears was misdiagnosed, whereas Mann himself, in his post-mortem, was indeed seen to bear the marks of an earlier tubercular illness.