The Magic Mountain : On our way to the camp 1

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The Magic Mountain : On our way to the camp 1

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Redigeret: okt 20, 2011, 12:17am


Redigeret: okt 20, 2011, 4:46pm

The people from the island of Kiribati have asked me to kick off the official Magic Mountain reading right now. It is already the 21st there and nearly noon...
So why wait ? Let's climb ! wohooooooooooooooo !

okt 20, 2011, 12:56am

How do you get these absolutely perfect photos, Mac? From my peeking ahead, that is THE dining room.

okt 20, 2011, 4:45am

it is, just count : 7 tables

okt 20, 2011, 4:47pm

Reading notes Magic Mountain Part 1 chapter 1


Time : For God's sake, surely it cannot be as long as seven years!

Seven chapters , seven years ?


a) Buildung

Hans is introduced as an ordinary, unassuming young man, as a student, as someone young in life, unexperienced,

foster father... HC is an orphan, has no Parents to direct him in life
coddled scion...we notice at his manners and clothes that his from a good family
few firm roots in life...
intend to return quite the same person... this is not sure ?

This is not the beginning of Hans story. We will have a flashback soon in chapter 2. But was essential for Mann to kick off this story with Hans travelling. A Buildungs roman starts with a journey which has a disorientating effect and the Journey should be of the heroical mythical type.

direct routes turn choppy...
crossing abysses once tought unfathomable...
Uncharming landscape...
real adventure...
ascent that will never end...
wild ride...
seperate from every day world...
Air he had never breathed before...
unknown, unwise, unhealthy...
extreme regions...
pitch black tunnels...
chasms revealed...
with patches of snow summer ?
trees and birds left behind
a world of ineffable, phantasmagoric peaks
alien air

Hans emotions : certain anxiety, confused sense of direction, no longer knowing where is north or south..., an attack of dizziness and nausea, scared, feels anxious and queer

b) Time

Space like time gives birth to forgetfullness
River Lethe

On the Mountain there is another way of experiencing time :
" Three weeks are almost nothing for us up here..."
"Home in three weeks, that's a notion from down below"
"they play with people's time here"
"Three weeks are the same as a day"

eternal snow, many things will seem eternal later... even soup... eternal soup, imagine that

c) Death

The Bodies ... the dead are mentioned for a first time. They are a cause for laughter. The story about the efforts that are taken to bring the disceased back to their families down there, is turned into a joke.

d) Eros

nothing yet

e) Geography

Hans is from the North

f) Notes

Enters Joachim
Joachim is the first of the Mentors of HC. As a military, he stands as an example for duty and discipline.
He is the picture of youthful vigour.

Joachim is not the man he used to be...

looking healthier than ever but still ill with TBC
looks different : weary, sad expression, vehement shrug, disgust, cynic
sounds different : "You're talking so strangely" ;
HC has entered a different world. Joachim is worried that he wouldn't fit anymore down below.

The ears of Joachim are a warning:

he would have been downright handsome, if his ears had not stood out so badly.

It is important that he is described as someone who could have been attractive but is not. He is not the only mentor or idea who could be but is not quite attractive at a closer look is not.

Joachim doubles up as an alter-ego of HC.

" A man changes a lot of his ideas here"

Hofrat Behrens, the head doctor running the Sanatorium and Dr. Krokowski are mentioned
Both are also like Joachim minor mentors for HC. One will take care of HC bodily health, the other one his psyche.


a) Buildung

Hans suffers from physical annoyances : his body is also disoriented.... cold feet, flushed face, freezing etc

b) Time


c) Death

An American woman died here the day before yesterday...Hans is going to sleep in a bed and a room of a dead person.

Her death was predicted.
Her Fiancé did not behave, he showed emotions.

The Austrian aristocratic horsman is coughing up his lungs. TBC is a killing disease

d) Eros


e) Geography

Austrian, American, people come from all over the world to Davos

f) Notes

3 + 4 = 7. The number seven is a running reminder that you should not take everything at face value. There are symbolic and deeper meanings

Fumigated, that is spiffing... the young engineer is speaking

Maria Mancini cigars : another item which will turn in all kind of symbols

Repulsive ghastly noise, un-human cough, like looking down inside the horseman.

In the restaurant

a) Buildung

Joachim seems to find consolation in the bottle

Enters Krokowski, another minor Mentor. The doctor of the mind ! His description is both attractive ( cheerful mutual trust, reassuring heartiness ) and repulsive ( looks like a ghost, worn clothes, floppy collar, yellow teeth, dreadful footwear ).

He pretends to be a scientist but he looks like an artist. Psychology and Psychiatry are still young sciences.

“You are a phenomenon…”: Ill is normal, healthy is abnormal !

Hans steps back: Not willing to let himself examined psychological.

Joachim and Krowkowski don’t match

b) Time

Time is not what it used to be down there…

… you’re a mere novice with your five months
… it’s an interruption, a break in the everlasting ( there is that word again ) monotony
… There is no time as such and this is no life…

Joachim, the military man, a man made for action suffers from the loss of time, the waste of time, the inaction… “I am stagnating like an old water hole”

c) Death

He recalled that someone died in that very bed….
Hans is going to sleep in a genuine but ordinary deathbed.

An ordinary young man in an ordinary deathbed.

d) Eros


e) Geography


f) Notes

Standoffish woman: There are people staying in the Sanatorium for life ! One can stay here for longer periods.

I love the details :

Rubbing the hands as if for a prayer
Eating large meals purely out of self respect
Sending the bottle of Gruaud Larose back … the Snob !

Life down there pitted against life up here

Introduction of Frau Stohr, the most illiterate and stupid person if ever there was one and a gossip too…
Mann used the many naughty descriptions of the patients as a way to liven the story up. They are based on real patients he met in the Sanatorium when he visited his wife.

Hans dream is an akward resume of all the emotions of this first part. One can easily recognize the different details… except one. Are dreams premonitions ?

okt 20, 2011, 5:53pm

Great notes Mac

I read the first two parts today and my first impressions were that death hovers over everything. Hans certainly gets to feel his motality even this early in the novel.

Mann sets the scenario of the Berghof sanatorium brilliantly. I immediately felt its otherworldliness.

"Space, like time, gives birth to forgetfulness, but does so by removing an individual from all relationships and placing him in a free and pristine state -...."

Redigeret: okt 20, 2011, 6:25pm

Great work Mac.

okt 20, 2011, 7:08pm

btw it's the 21st here too, 10:08 am

okt 20, 2011, 7:23pm

A lot of good humor in the characterization of the journey and Hans. I thought Mann was having rather a good time with them.

okt 20, 2011, 8:27pm

I have the sense of the ball dropping as we count down to the New Year . . . .

okt 20, 2011, 10:58pm

Mac - I'm ready (actually, I cheated and started early)

Buildung, Time, Death, Eros, Geography (and Notes) - I can understand each, especially time, but I'm wondering why these themes, and not also others - something psychological and social (or does Eros cover both?)

okt 21, 2011, 12:57am

dchaikin, you are free to explore and share the psycho and the social too.

Like I said in my intro, I will stick to these 5 themes, otherwise it becomes too much (for me).

okt 21, 2011, 6:35am

That is a beautiful introduction. I feel oriented now.

okt 21, 2011, 3:51pm

MM Part 2 : The Baptismal bowl / At the Tienappel’s

Flashback ! We go back to a time when Hans was 7 years old. This part could only be situated immediately after the “Arrival chapters”, otherwise it would disturb the flow of the narrative with its increasing pace.

It is not an essential chapter. Together with some biographical info, Mann only wants to make sure that we know where Hans morbid ( decadent ) fascination with death might come from…

1. Bildung
- People were curious about which party young Castorp would one day embrace. Democrat ? Conservative ? Radical ?
A hint to the upcoming political and philosophical discussions.
- HC an unwritten page…

2. Time

- tradition of the old Castorp family to make past present and the present past…
- Time expressed as a string of forefathers
- Everlasting sameness

3. Death

- early death of both Hans parents swiftly followed by that of his grandfather
- see the religious attitude when Hans sees his deceased father:
“…his grandfather had now received solemn dispensation of his interim stage and had finally returned to the form appropriate to him…
- Hans mind and senses affected by death…
- There was something religious, gripping and beautiful about death…
- Flowers to mask the smell of the corpse and a fly on the decomposing body.

4. Eros

( nothing )

5. Geography

( nothing )

6. notes

- Old Fiete wearing two earrings: Is he an old seadog who has rounded both cape horn and cape of good hope, washed ashore in the port of Hamburg? I love this detail.
- His love of cigars inherited from his granddad

okt 21, 2011, 4:40pm

My SO's father was a merchant sailor and has a certificate signed by Davy Jones that he rounded one of those capes. Or passed the equator, or something. Maybe he had an earring too. I will ask. :)

Redigeret: okt 21, 2011, 5:02pm

I think eros and the concept of temperature are linked, although temperature encompasses more than eros. Appetite generally is a concern - whether for "Maria" or plain yoghurt.

Also, more than death is at issue - how do you react to suffering?

Mann's descriptions of landscapes and people are wonderful. I also like the way he writes Settembrini's dialogue - to match the music of the name. We are lucky, however, that it is not in Italian!

okt 21, 2011, 10:35pm

Hi Slick "I think eros and the concept of temperature are linked"
What do you mean ?

okt 21, 2011, 11:01pm

MM Part 3 : The Shadow of respectability

Wednesday, the second day or first full day of Hans saty at the Sanatorium. Part 3 will encompass the whole second day. It introduces some key figures, the two first major Mentors who will influence Hans.

His day starts by witnessing both Eros and Thanatos ( death ) at the same time

Hans is both ready and not ready to meet the day

1. Bildung

Still physical unconfortable

2. Time


3. Death

An old woman clad in black strides through the garden on the rhythm or pace of march music. A death March ? This woman stands as a symbol of grief and death.

4. Eros

The sounds of the fornicating Russian couple in the room next door disturb cool Hans. Note a different kind of Music here, a waltz and a popular ballad.

5. Geography

It is no accident that the couple is Russian. Bad manners, sexuality and laisser –allez come from the east. Hans the cool Northerner is not amused

Redigeret: okt 21, 2011, 11:45pm

Mac: See your number 4 immediately above!

okt 22, 2011, 12:11am

Mac, you continue to add to my experience.

I'm wondering about Hans repulsion of the Russian couple. I'm guessing his repulsion wasn't normal, even for his time and culture, although maybe it was normal publicly. But, either way, Hans has some complex issues with Eros. This seems to be the first hint of that.

okt 22, 2011, 3:10am

DD interesting you mention that. I think that taking into consideration Hans upbringing, his bourgeois social class, age etc, his reaction is rather normal. This is the time of my grandparents and I can picture a similar reaction from them a 100 years ago.

okt 22, 2011, 4:40am

MM Part 3 : Breakfast

1. Bildung

Hans still feels physical uncomfortable

Introduction of Hofrat Behrens. With Krokowki and Joachim you have now met the people who have a minor influence on Hans. Beherens takes care of the body, Krokowski the Mind and Joachim the soldier is a personification of duty and discipline

“you would be a better patient than him”… Joachim wants to proceed with his military training and can’t wait to go back to the real world.

2. Time


3. Death

The tragic story of Tous – Les – deux. Loneliness, an inability to communicate, sorrow and impending death. Still for Hans this is “comical and weird” and he makes a bad joke, there is no empathizing yet…

Hans is surprised, considering that everybody around him is ill, that breakfast is a cheerfull business. There is a holiday atmosphere hanging around.

4. Eros

“ There is no shortage of ladies” . Wohoooooo ?

5. Geography

The Russians are the Barbarians , the uncivilized come from the East.

6. Note

The Good (refined) and the Bad (uncivilized) Russians sit at different tables. There is no split for other nationalities
Seven tables

The banging door will sound three times to introduce a major character. Just like in a play.

“he found his subordinate position a bit absurd”. Mind over Body ?

Behrens diagnoses Hans as being anaemic and advices him to follow the cure while he is at the Berghof.

Different hints at the “Mercury cigar”and body temperature measuring

okt 22, 2011, 4:43am

MM Part 3 : Teasing / Viaticum / interrupted Merriment

The cousins make a short walk up the hill and take a rest on a bench. At the end of the chapter, somebody important approaches.

1. Bildung

Hans is still not his usual self. His beloved Maria’s do no taste as they should. Joachim conforts Hans that he will get used to the life “up here”

3. Death

“illness and death” are no serious matter up here

“They deal with the death quite discreetly…” Hans starts to wonder about dying.

Joachim recounts the Hujus girl story: the misery and terror of dying. The young girl sees the approaching priest who is going to administer her the viaticum as a personification of death and is terrified.

Hans finds that there is something respectable in someone dying and that the moribund deserves respect.
Joachim and Behrens find that there is a certain way one should behave when dying.

6. Note

Joachim’s coughing and the fact that the stroll in the meadow is taxing for him reminds us that he is very ill.

Fun : Hermine Kleefeld whistles at the boys with her pneumothorax.
Fun : The Half lung club : Kleefeld, Levi, Iltis

Viaticum, sacrament for the dying

Redigeret: okt 22, 2011, 4:46am

Denne meddelelse er blevet slettet af dens forfatter.

okt 22, 2011, 11:16am

Superb stuff Mac

I am enchanted with my 30-40 pages per day of The Magic Mountain. It really feels like stepping into another world. I live near the Pyrenees and there are some sanatorium towns there which remind me of Davos-Dorf and Davos-Platz. I am thinking of Eaux Bonnes in particular

Hans Castorp seems to me like a sponge in the first hundred or so pages of this book. Soaking everything up even the illness. I am at the point where he has had his first philosophical discussion with Settembrini. During this Settembrini quotes from the poetry of Giacomo Leopardi an Italian author whose keen and perceptive mind was trapped in a feeble and weak body.

Strangely enough this morning I was reading a review of Canti by Leopardi and thinking I might like to read his poetry. Its a penguin bilingual edition translated and annotated by Jonathan Galassi. Its too much of a coincidence for me and so I have ordered the book.

okt 22, 2011, 11:55am

Thanks for info Bas !
One of my todo's in live is sleeping one night at the sanatorium Berghof. The fictional Berghof is made up of at least two hotels in Davos

okt 22, 2011, 12:22pm

The sounds of the sick wards, etc. are important. This story has a little more meaning for those who have any experience with these places.
The coughing and all the raspy throat noises.

okt 22, 2011, 12:57pm

The Magic Mountain has certainly been a journey. It's become a different book that I thought it would be from the first two or three parts.

In Part 1, I remember there was a constant contrast of images and terms, depths and elevations. There was a definite sense of a simultaneously outward and inward journey—a departure from the flatlands for some place rarified.

Part 2 continued the juxtapositions of contraries, of age and youth, of ages past, the baroque and the subdued Reformation sensibilities as illustrated by the plate and bowl, and the engraved names.

The re-occurring spectre of the Austrian horseman, especially in the bobsled dream... creepy, ghoulish, and quite stimulating to my imagination.

I have to say, these introductory chapters were some of my favorites. As sanatorium living normalized, the vibrancy of the storytelling seemed somewhat diminished. But then out of that lull there are parts that sizzle and bristle. They're a bit later, though.

okt 22, 2011, 1:13pm

Bas - I got through the first 100 pages quick, then things started to slow down. I was excited about a free hour yesterday morning, and made it through...ten pages of Research. Certainly that's slower than most would read that section, but still, it gets tougher as Mann seems to get more philosophical. "What was life really? It was warmth, the warmth produced by instability attempting to preserve form, a fever of matter that accompanies the ceaseless dissolution and renewal of protein molecules, themselves transient in their complex and intricate construction. It was the existence of what, in actuality, has no inherent ability to exist, but only balances with sweet, painful precariousness on one point of existence in the midst of this feverish, interwoven process of decay and repair"... that's really beautiful when I start to get it, but then I read it again and it's a little different, so then I find myself reading a few more times...

on a different note, I re-read some of the first sections this morning and noticed space-time right up front (page 4 in my Woods translation). Relativity dates from about 1905. Should we be bringing Einstein or Plank into our discussions?

okt 22, 2011, 1:14pm

Porius - thanks for that link. Very entertaining, even though I don't speak a word of German.

okt 22, 2011, 1:17pm

Not necessary. It's excellent cinema. Sometimes words get in the way.

okt 22, 2011, 1:39pm

Should we be bringing Einstein or Plank into our discussions?

Why not ?

okt 23, 2011, 1:31am

MM Part 3 : Satana

First meeting with and introduction to the unforgettable Settembrini.
Settembrini is the first of the Major Mentors of Hans. See the details of his first description : a delicate stranger encountered on the path, striking a graceful pose propping himself on his cane and crossing his ankles. His greeting is precise and melodious.

Settembrini is the God Hermes, the mentioning of the ankles, the cane, the precise and melodious communication capture all the attributes of this fine deity: the winged sandals at the ankles, his herald staff, the kerykeion, god of successful communication and music, his handlebar moustache twirled at the end might even resemble the wings of the helmet.

Hermes is the conductor, the guide of the souls of the dead to the Underworld: He is the Psychopomp.

1. Bildung

Again there are both attractive and a repulsive characteristics in the description of the Mentor. Although the general impression is that of a likeable and educated man, Thomas Mann reminds us that he is poor, clothed shabbily , looking like an organ grinder, a street musician. A windbag even when he annoys a passing local girl with some remarks.

Settembrini does not like his stay in Davos. Like Joachim he ggives the impression that he would prefer going down immediately :

“One could in fact forget completely where one is…” It sounds as if this idyllic décor of mountain meadows and splendid weather are something bad.

“ Has the gloomy ceremony of the first examination taken place yet… “How many months have our Minos and Rhadamantus saddled you with…” …” Settembrini thinks Hans is a patient like all others.

Settembrini is surprised when he hears that Hans is not ill.
“You are not one of us?” “Settembrini compares Hans to Odysseus visiting the Underworld ( Virgil)

Settembrini presents himself as a disciple of the Italian freethinker Carducci famous for his ode to Satan “Inno a Santana”

Hans finds there is a preachy flavour in what Settembrini says

Settembrini: “ I am a humanist, a homo humanus” and therefore an educator. Only the humanist can defend dignity and beauty.

Malice, the spirirt of criticism is a weapon to defend progress and enlightment against the powers of darkness and ugliness.

First advice to Hans: Form opinions !

2. Time

“And what sort of time period you have in mind ?”
“Our smallest unit of time is the month”

3. Death

Minos and Rhadamantus are brothers, one is judge of the death and the other ruler of the underworld. Settembrini means of course Behrens and Krokowski. Behrens is Rhadamantus and Krokowski is the God Minos, known for his many love affairs… ( filled with the secret of the ladies…) Settembrini criticizes the upcoming science of psychiatry. Krokowski , the Man of the night, the man with the filthy thoughts. Wohooooo !

Hermes : psychopomp

The Sanatorium Berghof is in fact the Underworld, the World of the Moribundi, hanging between life and death.

4. Eros

Hans nearly misspeaks the name Settembrini… Mr Septem(ber)…What’s in a name ? I will not give it away right now

5. Geography

Settembrini comes from the south

6. Note

Neither Joachim or Settembrini smoke because of their weak lungs ?

Settembrini: … I have my vices too… ( he does not say which )

Adriatica Von Mylendonk; Settembrini doesn’t like her because she is a devout Christian, from an aristocratic family or just because she is a bossy woman ?

Settembrini reminds us that the Sanatoria are Big Business and that their Managers go to the utmost to keep their patients.

Is Settembrini serious ill ? What keeps this man who advocates work and action on the mountain. Not a serious case but a stubborn case.

okt 23, 2011, 2:11am

MM Part 3 : Clarity of Mind

This short chapter starts with clarity of mind and a dissertation on time and ends with a numbed mind after one Kulmbacher beer

2. Time

“What Time actually means…” : Joachim means : to realize the duration it takes
The length of time depends on how you experience it says Hans
Joachim disagrees. It can be measured mechanically with a clock. It is the same for everybody.
Hans says that this is wrong; Measuring time by the movement of the clocks hand in space is as wrong as measuring space with the time needed to walk, bike or run tha distance

What is the organ for our sense of time ?
Hans concludes : all about time is convention

4. Eros

Introduction of big breasted pretty Marusja. We notice that she has some effect on our friend Joachim.

5. Geography

Marusja, like all sexy girls from Russia

6. Note

The door bangs for a second time

Krokowski speaks to Marusja ( dirty talk ? Hans does not understand Russian, but she keeps her eyes down.

The neighbours of Hans sit at the bad Russian table

A cigar is kept seven minutes in the mouth

okt 23, 2011, 2:45am

MM Part 3 : One word too many

A short walk to the centre of the village and back. Hans mentions Marusja and realizes that his cousin is not indifferent to her. It disturbs Hans realizing this. The conversation is strained after that. Joachim has his mind elsewhere.

3. Death

Marusja seems to be very ill too. Joachim obviously likes her, but refrains too make contact with her either because he hopes to go back to the real world soon or because it is useless to love a terminally ill girl.

6. Note

Hans beating heart and the foul taste of his Maria Mancinis are still indications he is not acclimatized yet. Or does his heart beat in expectation? Does his mind dictate the body ? Or is his heart beating on reasons of her own?

Glockenspiel refers to Joachim’s remark on measuring time with a clock

The horizontal people

okt 23, 2011, 6:22am

Balcony, setting of the 'Liegekur' (rest-cure, pity that the Liegen (lying down) is lost in translation)

okt 23, 2011, 7:07am

Nice, especially with the snow on the balcony

Redigeret: okt 23, 2011, 11:21am

I totally missed Settembrini as Hermes. Music is politically suspect! I enjoy Settembrini's dialogue so much. I did catch the rest cure's death-in-life aspects, but the "lying-down" is more poignant.

okt 23, 2011, 11:20am

I am finding all of this fascinating, and food for thought as I read. Thank you.

okt 23, 2011, 12:19pm

I didn't pick up on Settembrini as Hermes, either. I guess Minos and Rhadamanthus, and the frequent underworld references should have clued me in to start asking the question.

okt 23, 2011, 12:56pm

Mac - you keep changing the book for me. It's very rewarding to read your posts while reading.

Two comments:
I've been trying to figure out why Settembrini is associated with Satan (his name is Satana). It's not making sense. Am I doing this wrong?

Also, HC's thoughts on time are really interesting here.

"So then, what is time? Will you please tell me that? We perceive space with our senses, with vision and touch. But what is the organ for the sense of time? Would you please tell me that? You see, you're stuck. But how are we going to measure something about which, precisely speaking, we know nothing at all--cannot list a single one of its properties. We say time passes. Fine, let it pass for all I care. But in order to measure, wait! In order for it to measurable, it would have to flow evenly, but where is it written that is does that? it doesn't do that for our conscious minds, we simply assume it does, just for the sake of convenience. And so all our measurements are merely conventions, if you please."

As a side note on this through "social psychology", see geography of time by Robert V. Levine.

okt 23, 2011, 1:06pm

> 41 Hi dchaikin, you are right, it is a misleading title. The chapter refers to the blasphemous poem by Carducci, not to Settembrini, I think. It puzzled me too. Of course Settembrini is an anticlerical, if ever there was one and maybe this brands him as Satan.

okt 23, 2011, 2:20pm

Thanks Por !

Redigeret: okt 23, 2011, 3:08pm

MM Part 3 : But of course – a Female!

Noon of the second day and back to the restaurant for the third time. Two incidents are reported. A major new personage is introduced.

1. Building

Joachim hates unpunctuality, remember that he stands for discipline.

Third bang of the door and her she comes, Clawdia Chauchat, the young women , a girl really, who will have such an impact on Hans that we can safely consider her the second major Mentor of our hero.
Again there is also something negative about her: her manners, her uncared hands, her carelessness, she is married but is alone at the Sanatorium

Hans heart is still beating too fast and he has now traces of blood in his snot. The cigars still don’t taste as they should.

2. Time

Sitting at the tables as if they never left them…. Everlasting dinners? The monotony pleases Hans.

3. Death

Blumenkohl, the most ill of the table, has to flee the dining room to vomit sputum. He is on his last legs, Frau Stohr remarks. Blumenkohl vomits in a blue glass container specially made to collect sputum thought to be infectious.

4. Eros

- Behrens sits at the table of Frau Salomon attracted by her deep décolleté
- Captain Miklosisch is a beast of prey when it comes to women, Frau Stohr gets all excited by it just imagining it.
- Seeing Clawdia’s face, Hans is reminded of someone or something. It is an important detail as you will notice.

5. Geography

Clawdia, like pretty Marusja is Russian as you could have expected, everything sensual, erotic comes from the east. She is from the Caucasus, has blond reddish hair, broad cheekbones and narrow eyes. She is a babe. Her name can be read as chaud chat, hot pussy! Wohooooo

6. Note

The adolescent boy’s wiping of eyes will come back later

okt 23, 2011, 4:10pm

>41 dchaikin:, 42 also maybe in a Faustian way? Settembrini is offering Hans Castorp knowledge, the difference being that Hans isn't so sure he wants it.

okt 23, 2011, 7:35pm

Thanks Mac, all very enlightening. Much of the above was lost on me.

Happy to see though that I'm keeping pace so far!

okt 23, 2011, 8:38pm

This is all terrific, Mac.

"Her name can be read as chaud chat, hot pussy! Wohooooo Bad Mac, bad. Go sit at the bad Russian table.

okt 23, 2011, 10:05pm

I'm on chapter One word too many. I started on Saturday and read until 1.30 last night. Fantastic stuff. This is the first Mann I am enjoying. I loved Death in Venice, but Buddenbrooks bored me to tears, and it's one of the few books I decided not to finish when I started it.

Great notes, MAc!!!! I'm wondering about a couple of things:

altitude sickness: Is the strange burning HC feels on his face, his bloodshot eyes etc a symptom of altitude sickness, or is he(we) trying to bury the fact that he is also ill?

I'm finding the whole illness/death thing very disturbing, and I could slap HC for some of the stupid things he says in the presence of Joachim, who is dying. I find Joachim an extremely sympathetic character: he is very patient with his arrogant and self centred cousin.

I loved all the stuff about smoking.

time: I love Settimbrini's discourse on Time that Dan quoted in 41. I don't know about Einstein, but the person we should be looking at here is Bergson. In fact, I'm beginning to think that MM might be an artistic examination of Bergson's ideas, notably those on time, and laughter and elan vitale. I know next to nothing about Mann, but mac, do you know to what the relationship was between Mann and Bergson?

further stuff that struck me:

-The link between humanism and pedagogy: very interesting: See also George Steiner's book on Pedagogy.
-form opinions: in direct contradiction to the Dao. One must apply truth and energy in naming things. There's lots of stuff about naming.
- work: "Work was simply something that stood in the way of the unencumbered enjoyment of a Maria Mancini."

okt 24, 2011, 1:22am

All the annoyances Hans has including the foul taste of the cigar are due to the altitude. But it underscores that not only his mind but also his body is disoriented within the scope the bildungs theme.

For the sake of the story one should assume that HC is not ill, however according to the doctors, this makes him a freak.

On first check of my sources, I don't find any link between Mann and Bergson. You might have discovered something !

okt 24, 2011, 3:51am

The first one hundred pages are now under my belt, and I must say that I was not prepared for the level of irony, wit and downright comedic aspects of this novel. In the midst of all the philosophical superstructure, Mann is very entertaining. The chapter introducing Settembrini is an absolute hoot, beginning with his description – striking a pose with his "mixture of shabbiness and charm, plus the black eyes and a handlebar moustache" – the very picture of a villain in the Commedia dell'arte. Organ grinder, indeed! And all the not-so-veiled sarcasm. I laughed out loud. Mann was having great fun when he described Settembrini as "a literary man," after all, "He wrote the obituary of Carducci for the German papers," as though obituary-writing were a high literary achievement.

And as for Carducci and his "Inno a Satana" (Hymn to Satan), I read a Google-generated translation which I thought was neither very poetic nor terribly literate and resembled more a mind dump of esoterica and Classical allusions than anything, but someone (Quirico Filopanti for you cognoscenti) in a letter to the editor of a Bolognese journal in 1869 said, "your poem as a whole is not poetry, it is intellectual orgy." This was also a Google translation, so it may be somewhat garbled as well, but it goes on from there. At any rate, one gets the idea. (One deplores one's inability to read Italian.)

Hymn to Satan

In short, if this keeps up, this will be one entertaining novel, over and above its preoccupation with death, time, etc.

Redigeret: okt 24, 2011, 6:24am

Hans Castorp is a prize prig. He only seems tolerable because he is presented by Mann in all his gaucheness and we laugh at him.

Everything seems to be centred around meal times and

People filled their plates at all seven tables - they ate with the appetites of lions here in these vaulted spaces. Theirs was a hot hunger that it would have been a joy to observe, if its affects at the same time seemed eerie, even repulsive

There are five meals per day (if you include tea and cakes). I presume the voracious appetites are a symbol for desperate people. I don't think that the treatment of TB included large quantities of food and so it may have just been something that developed in the culture of the sanatoriums.

Hans is taking a real risk staying at the sanatorium because TB was an infectious disease and Hans would have known this as it was recognised as contagious in the 1880's

The sanatorium is a sort of hot house, where emotions are heightened. Hans has his hot flushes, Frau Chauchat the hot cat. They eat with "hot hunger"

Redigeret: okt 24, 2011, 6:35am

> 51 Carducci got the Noble prize !

> 52 I presume the voracious appetites are a symbol for desperate people. I agree with you Bas. I eat therefore I am
" Quand l'appetit va, tout va"

okt 24, 2011, 12:16pm

Hello everyone. I am enjoying this conversation a lot. I am around 200 pages in. I wanted to comment on 52 because yeah this was really bothering me. It's a TB sanatorium and it allows visitors to stay there with the patients for 3 weeks? This seemed incredible to me.

Also all the meals. I keep imagining Hans getting fatter and fatter as he lies around on his perfectly engineered deck chair and waddles back and forth to the meals. I can't imagine how Joachim stays fit.

okt 24, 2011, 12:36pm

The 'Eatanswill' place is doubtless the best place to bring the members together. Even if they were real voters, HC & cuz would not gain an inch or an ounce. Mann make this crystal clear. Lots of reckless eyeballing etc., going on while the 'land tuna' are feeding.

I've been less than successful a couple of times previously with the MM, but this time I am detecting the Magic. Sometimes the Magic works.

okt 24, 2011, 1:26pm

fantastic Por, you made my day

okt 24, 2011, 1:40pm

About the authenticity of the "sanatorium experience", I'll just note that René Crevel stayed in one in Davos in the late twenties and describes the same routine as Mann, down to the regimented rests on the terrace and servings of mocha. (In Êtes-vous fous?--incidentally, Mann's LT catalogue lists it!)

About "Satana"--Mann is ironising the perception of Settembrini (who is a progressive reformer, humanist and teacher) by the society, not offering the character for derision. Satan became popular as a symbol of rebellion against tyranny, political, intellectual and clerical, already with the Romantics, perhaps also because it was inevitable that the opponents of such rebellions would Satanise the rebels. Mann is also ironising the reaction of his two well-fed bourgeois boys to the slightly louche, suspect appearance of this shabby foreign figure--aren't all Italians organ-grinders in the worldview of German burghers? Aren't foreigners who speak our language well more suspect than any? Don't they show an uncanny, histrionic, monkey-like ability to ape "us", who are the only real thing? Settembrini isn't an organ-grinder--but Mann knows that's how the boys will "explain" him. There is a touch of Northern racism here (more on that when we get to theories about Asia).

Dear Joachim (who truly is a dear) in sum is a narrow-minded militaristic ass--the pre-war glory of Prussia. He's the one who will learn nothing from his "illness". One may pity him, but there's just nothing doing with such people.

okt 24, 2011, 1:55pm

The entire way the various nationalities are portrayed (through the lens of how Hans sees them, also a bit Settembrini's wry way of picking up on this and responding to it) reminds me of one of those cartoons of a map of European stereotypes of each other...

Yes, 58, I was reading that the same way - the way he sees Settembrini as an "organ grinder" (he is embarrassed about this in real life but in his dreams it keeps coming out) is pretty telling.

okt 24, 2011, 1:56pm

MM Part 3 : Herr Albin.

Lets proceed. The Herr Albin chapter is a very interesting one. Hans Castorp overhears from his terrace the conversations going on between Albin and some female admirers surrounding him.

Albin plays with dangerous weapons, smokes heavily despite his bad lungs and stands without coat in the evening chill. Why is he doing these unhealthy things ? Only to impress his audience ?

Albin shows his terrified audience that he is ready to commit suicide, to blow out his brains, if things get “boring”. He wants to keep the initiative of the moment and the way he is going to die to himself. Genuinely or as a show-off, Albin considers the option of suicide.

Albin is ready to give up. He has been in the sanatorium for three years and hasn’t seen any progress towards health. He thinks he is incurable.

This “giving up”, this surrender is accompanied by an agreeable feeling. Albin describes the sense of relief you get when after fighting a lost war for so long, you finally decide to give up.

Hans Castorp, empathizes easily with this feeling, he is even envious of Albin.

“ he could recall the somewhat ignominious but humorous and pleasantly untidy state of affairs that he had enjoyed in the last quarter ( of his school ), once he had given up even trying and was able to laugh at the whole thing".

Like honour, disgrace has its boundless advantages. When one is finally free of all the pressures honour brings and one can endlessly enjoy the unbounded advantages of disgrace

What disgrace has Hans Castorp in mind ? And in which fight is he going to surrender ? He and we don’t know yet. What we do know is that unlike his cousin Joachim, Hans could suffer, even enjoy dishonour as an option !

Redigeret: okt 24, 2011, 2:02pm


Hans must learn to look past appearances. The shabby foreigner, the glowing sick girls, his upright cousin--none are exactly as they appear. Have you read the whole book? I don't know whether it's a "spoiler"--but there comes a time when he gorges on the hidden "reality", the dying ones, and dives into study ever more basic, getting under the skin of the world--and the memento Clavdia leaves him? Her lung X-rays.

okt 24, 2011, 2:03pm

>58 LolaWalser: Your comments ring so true and underscore for me why this is all so deliciously subversive. Can we possibly know the full range of Mann's mockery? As you say and I agree, irony? All I can say is "Wow!" to your insight about Satan as a popular and even preemptive symbol with the Romantics! Wow!

okt 24, 2011, 2:07pm


All I can say is "Wow!" to your insight about Satan as a popular and even preemptive symbol with the Romantics! Wow!

Can't rightly take credit for it, it's a commonplace since at least Romantic criticism of Milton.

okt 24, 2011, 2:12pm

>63 LolaWalser: Sheepishly I must admit to having neglected the Romantics so that particular commonplace had not sunk in.

okt 24, 2011, 2:25pm


Well, should you want to investigate it, you're in luck, there must be libraries on the subject by this time. I'd google "satanic hero" for a start. As for book recommendations, others will know more, I've read The romantic agony by Mario Praz, as good a place as any to begin with, I think, especially as a reference source.

okt 24, 2011, 2:50pm

Nothing like seeing 30 plus substantive posts after a weekend out of town. Wonderful stuff.

Now, are we going to actually talk about those cigars under Eros (yes, I've just gotten to the place where Maria tastes good again), or is it declasse to mention it explicitly? And perhaps someone can tell me if "organ grinder" is the same double entrendre in German as in English?

And are we going to read some Carducci or what?

okt 24, 2011, 2:57pm

MM Part 3 : Satana makes shameful suggestions.

We follow the cousins to tea-time and then to supper. Hans who is tired and drowsy cannot stand the half glass of beer he drinks and gets a bit drunk. Unprepared he has a second encounter with Settembrini.

1. Building

Seeing Clavdia, Hans Castorp is for the second time reminded of something or someone else.

Meeting Settembrini :
- he insults him by calling him an organ grinder
- HC finds himself wiser
- HC confirms his young age : 24
- HC makes a fool of himself babbling nonsense in front of the pedagogue

Settembrini gets angry and admonishes Hans “ pull yourself together !” then he says :
“Since your stay here appears not to be good for you… how would it be , if you were to pack your things tonight and ( leave )

Settembrini already foresees that Hans is going to waste his time at the Sanatorium. As a humanist, supporter of work, he urges Hans back to the real world and go do his duty as the young promising engineer he is.

Unfortunately at that moment HC catches a glimpse of Chauchat’s narrow eyes and broad cheekbones and is again remembered of someone. He refuses Settembrini’s supposition for the sake of reason and courage, but we have all reasons to believe it is for Clawdia that he stays.

Settembrini recounts the story of the girl Kneiffer ( as a warning ? ) who lost all sense of reason and decided to stay on the mountain although she was not ill anymore.

2. Death

Joachim recounts the story of the student who hanged himself. Hans considers returning back home !

3. Eros

Check Krokowski and his ladies
The Russian neighbours of Hans Castorp have a second go at it ! Scandalous ! Outrageous !
Hans realizes with sympathy that Joachim is in love with Marusja

4. Notes

Silent sister. A thermometer without grading
Settembrini is named Satana
Hans understand that if you are not ill, you are not important. It is a honour to be healthy, a dishonour to be unhealthy

A second dream is a nice summary of this second day and effectively closes the third chapter.

Behrens marches like Tous – les –deux, this personification of death Hans saw in the early morning
Behrens offers Hans a few years of stay at the Sanatorium
He wipes his eyes like the adolescent boy at the table
Hans meets beautiful Clawdia in his old schoolyard. He borrows a short ( phallic ) red pencil in a silver holder. She has a pleasant husky voice and asks the pen back when he is finished. Hans remembers who it is Clawdia makes him think of, but does not name her / him.
He is fleeing in panic because Krokowski is chasing him
He pushes Settembrini away with his shoulder ( because he stands in the way ? )
A beast of prey run through with a spear.
And finally, Hans kissing the inside of the hand of Clawdia. He dreams this twice.

Everything is set for a first battle for Hans soul. It is, as you have probably understood, Settembrini’s reason versus Clawdia’s erotic attraction. Settembrin has already suggested Hans to leave. Clawdia doesn’t have to do anything, her animal attraction might be enough to keep Hans at the Sanatorium.

To be continued …

Redigeret: okt 24, 2011, 3:01pm


It's der Drehorgelmann in German. What's the double entendre you mention?

okt 24, 2011, 3:02pm

68 Ball - buster is what he means I think.

okt 24, 2011, 3:05pm

One can think of it as "ball buster" - a grinder of sexual organs.

Part of what's fun about this is that there is all the rich, droll irony, but I also think there is a lot of crasser, more earthy humor, like Ms. Chauchat's name.

Redigeret: okt 24, 2011, 3:28pm

Not much more than you don't quite fit in. They called 'Joltin Joe' DiMaggio a 'Spaghetti Bender' among other affectionate epithets. The name caller seldom is aware of the insensitive nature of the activity.

okt 24, 2011, 3:52pm

Interesting, I just assumed "ball buster" would be similar to Romance rompiballe, rompipalle, casse-couilles etc. meaning annoying, pain in the ass etc. Not sexual activity per se.

Mann underwent a transformation of sorts during the time he was writing the mountain, basically became the Mann we know. I bought the other day Reflections of a nonpolitical man which cover this transformation (at least in the later editions). I think it's probably of great interest, as some of his pre-war (I mean the WWI) opinions are completely at odds with later ones.

okt 24, 2011, 8:15pm

Back to everything revolving around meals, this isn't only about desperate people eating a lot, is it - doesn't it also come back to Time? Circularity, and the way things happen in between the meals, and then back they come to the same place doing the same things (even down to the yoghurt and rosehip tea) and there's a sort of comparing who we were last time we here here, and who we are now. And the weight of the sameness of the mealtimes weighs down upon us, again and again - so much happens, and then we come back to this?

okt 24, 2011, 8:17pm

The meals are where they take stock of one another, from friends and acquaintances to strangers--who's there, who's not, what they look like. A lot of socialising, perhaps most, happens during mealtimes.

Redigeret: okt 24, 2011, 8:29pm

Yes, and they're so much the same, and so constant. No matter what happens, they come back there again. So they experience all kinds of things in between, but when they go back to those meals it's as if they're not getting anywhere, coming back to the same door, seven times a day. I'm not that far in (pretty much keeping abreast of Mac's summaries), but already those mealtimes are feeling nightmareish.

okt 24, 2011, 9:00pm

More on Satan and the Romantics:

The Litany of Satan
O you, the wisest and fairest of the Angels,
God betrayed by destiny and deprived of praise,
O Satan, take pity on my long misery!
O Prince of Exile, you who have been wronged
And who vanquished always rise up again more strong,
O Satan, take pity on my long misery!
You who know all, great king of hidden things,
The familiar healer of human sufferings,
O Satan, take pity on my long misery!
You who teach through love the taste for Heaven
To the cursed pariah, even to the leper,
O Satan, take pity on my long misery!
You who of Death, your mistress old and strong,
Have begotten Hope, — a charming madcap!
O Satan, take pity on my long misery!
You who give the outlaw that calm and haughty look
That damns the whole multitude around his scaffold.
O Satan, take pity on my long misery!
You who know in what nooks of the miserly earth
A jealous God has hidden precious stones,
O Satan, take pity on my long misery!
You whose clear eye sees the deep arsenals
Where the tribe of metals sleeps in its tomb,
O Satan, take pity on my long misery!
You whose broad hand conceals the precipice
From the sleep-walker wandering on the building's ledge,
O Satan, take pity on my long misery!
You who soften magically the old bones
Of belated drunkards trampled by the horses,
O Satan, take pity on my long misery!
You who to console frail mankind in its sufferings
Taught us to mix sulphur and saltpeter,
O Satan, take pity on my long misery!
You who put your mark, O subtle accomplice,
Upon the brow of Croesus, base and pitiless,
O Satan, take pity on my long misery!
You who put in the eyes and hearts of prostitutes
The cult of sores and the love of rags and tatters,
O Satan, take pity on my long misery!
Staff of those in exile, lamp of the inventor,
Confessor of the hanged and of conspirators,
O Satan, take pity on my long misery!
Adopted father of those whom in black rage
— God the Father drove from the earthly paradise,
O Satan, take pity on my long misery!
Glory and praise to you, O Satan, in the heights
Of Heaven where you reigned and in the depths
Of Hell where vanquished you dream in silence!
Grant that my soul may someday repose near to you
Under the Tree of Knowledge, when, over your brow,
Its branches will spread like a new Temple!


Redigeret: okt 24, 2011, 9:15pm

Lola, that is great. Thanks so much for all the knowledge. Mac, belatedly I am jumping on the bandwagon to say, your notes are great and background from your blog much appreciated.

ETA: I remember that poem in French, so sonorous with the repetition of longue misere...

okt 24, 2011, 10:00pm

Anna, I'm very glad if anything I say adds to your reading, but I'm sure it doesn't compare with the cumulative effect of Mac and the others' insight!


Devil, the bad boy to end all bad boys. Lucifer, Morningstar, Satan, lightbringer, dispeller of darkness, tempter-with-knowledge (what are real teachers?), rebel, naysayer, conscientious objector to Yahwe's cosmic puppet show--one could go on.

okt 24, 2011, 11:25pm

Satan, or Cher?

okt 24, 2011, 11:28pm

> 73 The MM was written during and interrupted by World war 1. Mann himself and his book changed completely after that. I haven't read reflections of a non political man but I understood that it was his last nationalistic pamphlet and he turned to humanist and democratic principles after that.

okt 25, 2011, 12:49am

MM4: A necessary purchase

This is the third and fourth day of Hans stay. The weather has changed to the worst.
The cousins go for shopping and meet Settembrini


Hans Castorp goes into town to buy himself some blankets. He even considers to buy a fur lined sleeping bag but backs off, frightened by the idea. Investing in a sleeping bag, which he cannot use in Hamburg would mean he considers staying on the Mountain, to make himself at home the Sanatorium.

Meeting with Settembrini

- he is suffering of the cold as he was from the warmth some days before. With only one set of clothes he is either over dressed or under dressed.
- He criticizes the rules of the Sanatorium which are according to him based on financial interest.
- Yearning for warmth he has fond memories of his father
- Settembrini suffers from the stupidity of some of his tablemates
- Settembrini does not like Behrens ( because he keeps him on the mountain? ) nor Krokowski ( father confessor ) who wants to dissect his mind

Then Hans makes a careless assumption :

“One assumes stupid people must be healthy and vulgar, and that illness must ennoble people and make them wise and special”

Settembrini reacts immediately:

- placet experiri: Settembrini says that Hans like other young people is experimenting with ideas.
- Bad ideas must immediately be countered else they become an indelible trait of character in the young man
- Of all ideas “hanging” around this subject, why has Hans exactly chosen this one?
- “Illness is definitely not elegant and certainly not venerable- such a view in itself is a sickness”
- It is an ugly and outdated idea that comes from ( religious ) superstition that harmony and health is suspicious and devilish and infirmity a passport to heaven

Then Settembrin as an organ grinder switches to his political tune : Reason and Enlightment will battle religious superstition with earthly work, which will lead us on the path of progress and civilization and then towards a brighter light.

And now comes the catch. Settembrini in his reasoning overshoots the truths with which he has begun with and makes his ideas suspicious. Listen to the ugly things he says:

- “Illness is a debasement of humanity”
- “The tragedy begins where nature has been cruel enough to break the harmony of the personality by joining a noble and life – affirming mind to a body unfit for live”.
- ( about Leopardi) “He viewed nature as evil, and she is evil, stupid and evil”
- “ A human being who lives as an invalid is only a body – he is no better than a cadaver

Finally Settembrini sees the young mind not as an empty page, but a page fully written, the wrong and the good ideas together and it is up to the educator the erase the wrong ideas

Anyhow the message is missed on Hans and Joachim who have only been impressed by his eloquence

2. Time

Snow in August. Seasons are absent on the mountain. We cannot count on them to appreciate time. See: The seasons are not all that different from one another.

3. Notes

Reminder that Settembrini is not as well to do as most guests.

Placet experiri: Latin phrase meaning "It pleases to experiment"

See how Hans when speaking to Settembrini is ashamed to admit that he bought blankets.

okt 25, 2011, 8:58am

Settembrini in his reasoning overshoots the truths with which he has begun with and makes his ideas suspicious. Listen to the ugly things he says

I must demur. He expresses no more than the classical ideal of harmony of mind and body--"mens sana in corpore sano". And Hans' silliness is alarming as the first step to veneration of martyrdom.

okt 25, 2011, 9:14am

I agree. I don't find Settimbrini's views at all objectionable. Nature is vile, red in tooth and claw and all that. And to live as an invalid is dehumanising.

I'm extremely interested in the link between humanism and pedagogy that Mann/S is making here. Are these Mann's own views, or Settimbrini's?

okt 25, 2011, 9:29am

Settembrini is the exponent of Mann's own ideas and ideals of secular humanism. He's not a mere mouthpiece, naturally, none of Mann's characters are ever that. He's like a composite of Mann's changing ideas, in a way. But just how much of authorial voice is in Settembrini becomes clear by the end of the book.

Redigeret: okt 25, 2011, 10:55am

TM tidbits. Mann's grandson marries Heisenberg's daughter. He fights to get away from the shadow of his self-important family.

Redigeret: okt 25, 2011, 11:13am


okt 25, 2011, 11:13am

Thanks Lola. I'll pay more attention to what he says then. lol

I loved the chapter 'Analysis'. Dr K's lecture was very funny. I was strongly reminded of the literary gala in Dostoevsky's Demons. Mann really skewered Freudians in that one.

okt 25, 2011, 2:21pm

83, 84 Dear friends, permit me to disagree, in the sayings of Settembrini, evil reasoning takes root.

okt 25, 2011, 2:45pm


Redigeret: okt 25, 2011, 2:49pm

I liked Settembrini a lot until about the halfway point. Something prior to Walpurgis Night had me reserving a bit of my admiration for the organ grinder - maybe an indifference to real life in his high falutin' humanism. On the other hand, he is talking to a quite possibly healthy kid who is contemplating mixing it up wih a bunch of TB infected hos. Regardless, he expresses himself so well...

okt 25, 2011, 2:57pm

What indifference to real life?

Redigeret: okt 25, 2011, 3:11pm

Discouraging Hans from taking part in the social life of the Sanitarium. I think I recall that he also discouraged Hans from delivering flowers and visiting the dying - which seemed like practical action to relieve suffering - versus writing a multi-volume encyclopedia about it.

But, as alluded to above, given that these are a bunch of TB stricken revellers in hell, I am conflicted about it.

okt 25, 2011, 3:14pm

90 Oh Lola, that is soooooooooooooooooooooo cheap : )
Team Naphta how dare you, we haven't even reached page 100.

91 Slick is my man !

okt 25, 2011, 3:21pm

MM 4 : Excursus on the sense of time

Hans learns to fold his blankets. It is not as easy as it looks. He is also thinking about time.

1. Time

Dissertation on the nature of boredom: Do things new and interesting shorten or lengthen the experience of time ?

okt 25, 2011, 3:46pm


Settembrini doesn't want to see Hans lured, trapped and mired in the sanatorium because the sanatorium represents to him everything CONTRARY to the real life, it is the gateway to death and death itself. And the idiots are even enjoying their own funeral banquets!


Do things new and interesting shorten or lengthen the experience of time ?


okt 25, 2011, 3:47pm

MM 4 : He tries out his conversational French

Hans has not yet settled in yet. It is only the fourth day. He starts to look at and understand details, minor things.

1. Bildung

Behrens tries to keep Hans at the sanatorium by describing Ladies – la crème de la crème – beautiful as birds of paradise who visit Davos in Winter. And amorous wohoooooo…

2. Death

Hans sees his first dying man, a man called Reuter. – waxen profile – large rolling eyes
“What dignity in the way the man lay his head…” Hans obviously hasn’t listened to one word of Settembrini.

Hans is imitating the big eyes of the dying man when he bumps into Clawdia Chauchat. He must have looked stupid to her – simply hilarious

Meeting with Tous-les-deux, Hans reacts perfectly “ Je le sais Madame…et le regrette beaucoup”. Well done Hans !, except that he is more concerned with how he handles this moment, than really empathize with the misery of that sad « Mater Dolorosa »

Hans finds that he gets along better with sad people
“ I feel in my element…”

Then he sounds like a genuine Ishmael, loving coffins and funerals

3. Notes

The potbellied containers he noticed already his first evening are canisters containing pure oxygen. They are used to rouse dying people – the moribundi – a last time. Behind the doors where those canisters are found, someone is dying

They meet sister Berta, caretaker of the moribundi in their last act.

okt 25, 2011, 3:49pm

Lola are you hanging at my lips ?

okt 25, 2011, 3:54pm

yes, always

okt 25, 2011, 4:03pm

Mens sana in corpore sano is that it ?

What if the body is ill or handicapped, is the mind then also damaged ?
If one is insane, is a beautiful body then impossible?

(Mac looks puzzled at Lola)

okt 25, 2011, 4:30pm


Well, that's an interesting question. I once ran on the street into a couple with a small child, maybe two or three years old. The kid had a horribly deformed face, quite indescribable. And she smiled at me with that face, a smile like sunrise, huge, brilliant, unstinting. The most heartbreaking smile I ever saw. Of course I thought--what is going to happen to her, and to that smile, when she becomes conscious of herself? Yes, the body can mark and shape the mind, in myriad ways, be it sadness, anger, madness, positively or negatively, whatever.

Now, taking in account that on the Mountain health isn't merely physical health, and the illness isn't merely physical illness, the important thing is for Hans to learn to love health, and not glorify illness. Besides, his remark about expecting stupid people to look "healthy and vulgar" is itself frankly stupid, and damn well stands to be corrected.

okt 25, 2011, 4:39pm

I agree that Hans remark is stupid. But Settembrini's remark taken to the extreme contains the seed of segregation based on physical aspects.

okt 25, 2011, 4:51pm

Yes to 102, that's what bother me about S is the "Europe good, Asia bad" and all the other dichotomies he insists on drawing for poor Hans. That said I am in agreement with L, in that I am watching horrified as Hans glorifies illness more and more as the book goes on, and S's attitude "this is wrong, go home and be healthy" is obviously correct, and I wish he would listen to him but then of course the book would be a lot shorter.

okt 25, 2011, 4:55pm

Waving to Mac.

Think about HC's education and background--despite being an orphan he is really a child of privilege, and not very smart or motivated. He reacts in ways we expect modern teen-agers to react. His attitudes are childish in part because he has no experience of life. He is trying out new ideas in his head. And he has only been there for a couple of days--not long enough to acclimatize and certainly not long enough to reach any level of maturity. In this short time Hans Castorp has encountered more different types of people and ideas than he probably had in his entire life. I picture him with his head reeling from the assault on his mind and on his senses.

One should not judge him too harshly, yet.

okt 25, 2011, 5:07pm

That's awfully foreboding.

Redigeret: okt 25, 2011, 5:19pm


And yet, Settembrini is working on a monumental work about human suffering, that is his life's work, because he wants to abolish human suffering. Is he likely to draw the same conclusions as you? Is he likely to segregate anyone? And if illness isn't evil, why do we try to cure, to eradicate it?

Anyway, sorry for hogging the thread--I just want to summarise that Settembrini here asserts a classical ideal vs. the medieval one, soon to enter the stage.


"Asia" is Spenglerian for everything regressive, reactionary, stagnant--an unfortunate identification, but that's how it looked to the Western progressives of the times.


I think Hans is quite bright, only he's NEW, he doesn't know anything.

okt 25, 2011, 5:09pm

Going back up to the photo at #1, not only does it portray a similar dining hall, it looks almost like an x-ray! Well done Mac.

okt 25, 2011, 5:44pm

Its interesting to note the cousin's differing views on Settembrini. Joachim says

But then again there's a kind of pride about him, with no hint of anything disorderly, quite the contrary. He's a man with a lot of self respect , or better, respect for people in general, and I like that about him, there's something decent about that as I see it

Hans who has just been very critical of Settembrini immediately agrees with his cousin. Hans at this stage in his life is still scratching around to form his own opinions.

After the cousins meeting with "tous les deux: Hans congratulates himself on handling the meeting well, he then rambles on about death and funerals in the most unfeeling and immature way. Hans has a lot to learn.

Redigeret: okt 25, 2011, 6:03pm

Playing devil's advocate, but Satana's detractor: Self respect or self regard? Also, oftentimes nothing is worse for individual people than the person that respects people in general.

Mann does a great job portraying Hans' immaturity without (in my opinion) looking down on him too much.

okt 25, 2011, 6:47pm

I think there are two different things being discussed here re illness and evil. There's the question of how people perceive illness (HC is glib and immature in its praise; Settembrini is judgemental and...searching for word here - alarmist? fatalist?). This is relating to stigma.

Then there's the question of the experience of illness. Physically limiting, can be socially harmful, etc. Pain, self-worth, suffering. Can also be either transformative, or mundane, or anywhere in-between.

But I get the sense that Satana is redefining the worth of the person who is ill, saying they are about as worthwhile as a corpse. What can I say? I agree with Mac - this is a worrying and dangerous idea.

And slick, please explain your comment above that people who respect people in general are detrimental?

okt 25, 2011, 8:38pm

Addendum to comment I made earlier: Let's not forget the discussion of Hans Castorp's "mediocrity".

And Settembrini also raised the issue of how much money was made by these sanatoriums, bringing into question how many of those diagnosed were really ill. And, what of those who were told they were cured and could go "down" but did everything to stay? Illness on the mountain is not socially harmful, CM. It is a badge of honor, to a point (unless one dies). Consider the group with the pneumothoraxes (?I am sure that is not the correct way to make that plural!).

#106 I respectfully disagree--Hans Castorp is not bright. He might be "teachable", but not bright.

okt 25, 2011, 8:40pm

I think chances are you'll change your mind.

okt 25, 2011, 8:46pm

No, I have read it before and I won't.

okt 25, 2011, 8:47pm

Ah, okay then.

Redigeret: okt 25, 2011, 9:00pm

>111 LisaCurcio: Lisa, I think all those things you say about illness is part of Mann's purpose in exploring illness in all its vagaries... The pneumothoraxii? is one; the young man who's bragging that he'll kill himself is another; Settembrini is another and so on. Settembrini is only one of all these aspects, and I must say I do not at all like the discussions here that suggest that his opinion is the 'right' one. Isn't any single one of these ideas too narrow taken by itself?

I'd be interested to see what people think about that girl who did all she could to stay, now you bring that up, Lisa. I'm sure that means something, or several things, but what?

okt 25, 2011, 9:12pm

Yes, CM, one cannot consider Settembrini's opinions in a vacuum, and Mann will not let us. However, in the context of Hans Castorp's really inane responses to the situations so far, his opinions seem "more right" than anything else.

Redigeret: okt 25, 2011, 9:37pm

no no no no no no that is not what S is saying at all. Listen carefully to him. The leap from the idea that 'illness is bad' to 'we should eradicate those who are ill' is entirely a modern construct, which comes from we-know-who. But it is still a logical non-sequitor: the one does not follow the other as a cart follows a horse. It is also an anachronism. classical humanism does not say this at all. Rather, S - and humanism- says that we should therefore spend our efforts in eradicating illness itself, not those who are ill.

Don't you find it tragic that a mind like Stephen Hawkins is in a body like his? Don't you find it tragic that Jacqueline Du Pres, Iris Murdoch (to name a few of the examples that enrage me when I think about them) are victims of nature? These are extreme examples (S's example is Leopardi), but those on the mountain are also victims of nature- we all are. humanism's response to this is twofold: to eradicate illness, and to eradicate the attitude that the ill are victims, enobled by their suffering. the idea that illness and suffering leads to spiritual growth is one that comes from religion, and it allows all kinds of passive acceptance of illness, a passive acceptance which is anathema to humanism (Dostoevsky was big on this kind of bullshit).

"A human being who lives as an invalid is only a body...."

the key word here is 'lives'. S is not saying a human being who 'is' an invalid, but one who 'lives' as an invalid, in other words a human being who is enervated, debilitated, laid low by their disease and who does not fight against it, who is not helped to fight against it, who looses the ideal, the possibility of transcendence because of their illness, is only a body. this is true. The ideal of humanism, don't forget, is transcendence; transcendence above circumstance of life, class, gender, etc. an ill human being who through his illness allows the ideal of transcendence to be lost, is little more than a thing of nature, a living cadaver, a collection of cells, losing all that is human- in the cultural, social, humanist sense of the word. Truly a victim of nature. This is S's message.

Don't fall a victim to historical anachronism by drawing some sort of Nazi message from the humanist ideal. This is how American Christians/Republicans think.

okt 25, 2011, 9:39pm

dammit, you guys are too fast for me. My message above was meant as a riposte to Choco's in 110, and to the discussion of S's ideas.

Redigeret: okt 25, 2011, 10:43pm

Let's remember that Settembrini himself is ill (and so is his major opponent).

If I may make one general comment: I think it's important to be always aware of the time when this story is unfolding. About... 1907? The giant ancient empires are crumbling, West and East, the nation-states are consolidating on republican principles, the Church is losing power and influence, labour is organising internationally, the turmoil is ubiquitous and incessant. The opinions of the characters can only be understood in relation to the times and their backgrounds. We have a century of hindsight on them, but I think it would lead us completely astray to judge them with this hindsight.

Anyway, for my part, I am only interested in qualifying their philosophies and opinions, not pronouncing them "right" or "wrong". Besides, Mann makes difficult any such simplistic approach, having people on opposite ends of the political spectrum voice arguments that sound as if coming from the other side, and generally enjoying in startling his hapless hero (and readers) by various switcheroos and paradoxes.

okt 25, 2011, 10:58pm

Murr - The only problem with that logic is that Nazi ideas didn't come out of a vacuum. Besides the point, though. That "illness is sad" can be extrapolated to some darker meaning, some bias against the sick...dehumanization wasn't created by the Nazi's or their direct predecessors.

okt 25, 2011, 11:02pm

If the issues were easily resolved, the book wouldn't be worth much. Grossly simplifying, "people in general" thinkers are ends not means folks.

okt 25, 2011, 11:18pm

I was indeed seeing some sort of Nazi message in the humanist ideal, Murr, thank you for putting me straight on that. I see what you're saying, and it fits. Thanks.

Forgive me if this is naive and stupid (it very probably is), but the Nazi message did historically follow this humanist ideal. Any connection?

Redigeret: okt 25, 2011, 11:29pm

Just saw yours, Dan. You have put my thoughts into words beautifully, and therefore it wasn't naive or stupid.

And slick, forgive me, but I still don't get it. It's not that I disagree, I just plain don't understand.

Redigeret: okt 25, 2011, 11:26pm

It's been a busy time at work and the conversation has been moving so quickly...

A few disjointed comments follow.

Settembrini is a magnificent person to listen to. He's never boring. He's witty and full of ideas and verve. Like slick, I get the feeling that Settembrini loves his concept of humanity far more than he loves any particular human, and he seems a bit gaga for progress and a humanistic utopia while the whole world is made up of these meagre human creatures with their banalities, endless appetites, and weak minds and wills. Great idea belied by shoddy material.

Settembrini seems to me to be a guide to H.C. in a way reminiscent of Virgil to Dante. He is great, indeed, but he's still a citizen of Limbo, and of an age that will soon become almost a distant past. (“It does not actually owe its pastness to time.”) H.C. is no Dante, however, and won't be lead by the nose by his friendly ghost. He is a pampered fool, though so was I at his age, and I've seen some hopeful signs from him here and there.

Joachim never seemed so much like a mentor to me. Very early on he seemed to take on the role of H.C.'s shadow. He's ever-present, but has the substantiality of a ghost. A caricature of a young man trying to live up to the ideal of the "man of action?"

I find it particularly interesting how Mann introduces people and things by slight physical descriptions without saying what they are, then lets 10, 20, or 100 pages go by before putting a name to them. One specific example is the Blue Peter/Henry—introduced first by description as a possession of Joachim’s, then the second reference is when Frau Stöhr makes the gauche joke about Dr. Blumenkohl and his Blue Henry. Even then, there was nothing provided to link the Blue Henry with the physical item described earlier.

okt 25, 2011, 11:30pm

Oh, and I love H.C.'s tangents where he relates that he feels he could almost have been a priest, and the very silly reasons he gives to support the idea. He's an embarrassing child, but the embarrassment is mostly in how he reminds me of myself.

okt 25, 2011, 11:47pm

He might be "teachable", but not bright.

I think I shall request that for my gravestone.

okt 25, 2011, 11:50pm

I have found the reverse to be just as true, T.

okt 25, 2011, 11:53pm

#126 ha!

I'm suddenly stuck on the dehumanization idea - this is a major theme here, no? The lack of humanity in a medical facility. So many deaths, it's a regular insignificant occurrence, if only the dying would not make such a fuss about it. Which seems to point to some discomfort, or ambivalence to the modern world in general. And Settembrini's humanism and idealism is very modern.

okt 25, 2011, 11:53pm

LOL, T. LOL and lqarl.

Also, what you say about S helps me understand what slick's saying a bit better. And I agree about the perfection of HC's embarrassingness. Also the insubstantiality of Joachim.

Redigeret: okt 26, 2011, 12:05am

I have to give it to old Hans Castorp. His mission of visiting the dying, while the motives are suspect, still did something no one else was doing. The point being not that H.C. is some kind of Christ figure for having played at being priest, but that the dying were seen, talked to, and not completely ignored. H.C.'s reasons for embarking on such a mission were by no means free and clear of self-interest. Did that matter to the dying? Settembrini is rather icy in contrast.

(Woops... I've gotten ahead of the game, here. Sorry.)

Redigeret: okt 26, 2011, 12:06am

But he was reluctantly doing a duty, wasn't he?

(I see)

Redigeret: okt 26, 2011, 12:15am

So many interesting discussion ! I fear my notes are too slow, but it is all I can do with the work at the office.

113 Lisa, I am with you, that Hans is and is intented to be a "Mister average"...unassuming or ordinary as he is discribed in the first lines.

114 124 Joachim is a minor mentor. He stands there as an example of someone who wants to do his duty, go down, pick up his life etc. He is the same age as Hans, but is less mediocre

103 Spenglerian ! Spot on Lola, Help me here, were there no dissenting voices when this philosophy appeared ? Did nobody react ? Or was the whole world only shaken up during the second WW ?

117 TC yes yes yes, I ses I see I see. LOL Tc, there are other bad guys still waiting to appear in the book. Retract the claws for a moment. The thing about this book, I think, is that all ideas are suspect and have a darker edge. all ideas if not handled with care can turn into evil if wrongly used.

see Lola's remark :

"Besides, Mann makes difficult any such simplistic approach, having people on opposite ends of the political spectrum voice arguments that sound as if coming from the other side, and generally enjoying in startling his hapless hero (and readers) by various switcheroos and paradoxes".

Still Settembrini is a very likeable Man and certainly one of the best HC is going to meet but he has his flaws too.

Ofcourse your warning about historical anachronism is true.

Redigeret: okt 26, 2011, 1:31am

119> lola, I agree. I think it's important that we read S's arguments carefully and make sure we understand their subtleties before we decide if they are right or wrong. We need to suspend judgement and listen/read v. carefully. I had the feeling that S's ideas were being misrepresented, and that's not fair to S, to humanism or Mann.

dan and Choco 120 and 122

Yes, and no. The Nazi's ideas did follow humanism historically (oh dear does that mean H is dead?) but that does not make a connection of cause and effect. Nazi ideas were based on racial purity coupled with simple dumb-assed nationalism. The 'euthanasia' programs - no dammit let's call them what they were and not sully the word 'euthanasia'- the MURDERS carried out by the Nazis since the early 30s on the handicapped, the terminally ill, the deformed, were based on the idea of keeping the Germanic, Aryan race pure from defects, keeping the breeding pool clean by removing impurities. There were also cost benefit concerns. such people were seen as a burden financially on the state, and it was cheaper to simply liquidate them than to look after them. needless to say, this is antithetical to humanism and can in no way be seen as connected. Mein Kampf makes this all explicitly clear. Any perceived connection with humanism/atheism is a right wing American, religious myth. (I stress this because I have heard the argument that atheism and humanism are responsible for the nazis very often on LT, in the pro and Con religious group, where the idiots and ignoranti like to hang out. No offence to anyone here.) I'll put my claws away now, mac.

okt 26, 2011, 1:12am


Settembrini is rather icy in contrast.

Is he? He is sincerely fond of Hans, much more deeply concerned for him than Hans is for the dying people he visits, and he shows compassion for Joachim too.


Still Settembrini is a very likeable Man and certainly one of the best HC is going to meet but he has his flaws too.

Oh, yes, he has flaws, but he's not evil.

all ideas are suspect and have a darker edge. all ideas if not handled with care can turn into evil if wrongly used.

The MM is in a way a repository and record of a time when Mann appeared painfully ambiguous, no wonder impressions change like reflections in the water. He changed his mind. But I think nothing could be more foreign to his nature and intentions than if this ambiguity, this difficulty of understanding of what is complex, resulted in paralysis of action. If all ideas are suspect, why don't we lobotomise everyone and turn everyone into TeleTubbies? If thinking is dangerous, why not police it? Maybe we should report all suspect thoughts occurring to us to some Homeland Security office. Or to Father Confessors, so handily provided by at least one major religion, supreme at surveillance and control. If philosophers are responsible for crimes of political parties, why don't we kill all philosophers? Maybe Athenians were right to poison Socrates. Maybe Nietzsche ought to have been burnt on the stake, like so many freethinkers before. Never mind the liberation and joy his philosophy brought to so many. How about Jesus? The man said "Love thy neighbour", gave hope to the poor and humble, and yet somehow or other someone took it "to the extreme" of warfare (down to armed priests), crusades, witch hunts and a million ways of social oppression.

Yes, happy is the cactus, for he's not a thinking reed.

were there no dissenting voices when this philosophy appeared ? Did nobody react ? Or was the whole world only shaken up during the second WW ?

There's always someone dissenting, isn't there, but no, I don't think people saw anything much wrong in assuming the superiority of the West, and that the East is a threat, physical and cultural. Europe was spreading light and civilisation from Africa to Japan, but the Russians were threatening a rude revolution (already one failed attempt in 1905), and the yellow people who had spent immobile centuries like Sleeping Beauties behind their walls, just kept multiplying. (I recently read Gunter Grass' Headbirths, or the Germans are dying out, from 1979, dealing with EXACTLY the same fears of Asia crushing Europe by her sheer human weight.)

So, Thomas Mann--racist, anti-semite, AND Nazi? Read more in a thrilling new sequel!

Redigeret: okt 26, 2011, 1:36am

>133 tomcatMurr: awesome post.

just an addendum to what lola said about historical anachronism. in a way German culture still remains damaged (irreparably?) by the nazis, in the sense that anything written before they came along is bound to be viewed through the lense of what we know they did. Mann (and Grass in his earlier works at least) was supremely aware of this problem. The fact that the nazi's appropriated such luminous German cultural figures as Nietzsche and Wagner, does not make either of them Nazis. (although having said that, I wonder whether Wagner wouldn't have signed up had he been around...)

okt 26, 2011, 1:47am

And Nietzsche reneged Wagner. Big bitter breakup!

I like it that Nietzsche and Mann were capable of changing their minds. (Well, all right, so the former actually lost his... eventually...)

okt 26, 2011, 4:31am

and he honestly did attempt not to judge what was alien to him, but simply to define and compare.

Growing Anxiety, chapter. I love Frau Stohr in this chapter, and the way S deals with her. Really funny.

okt 26, 2011, 6:37am

>134 LolaWalser: Is he? He is sincerely fond of Hans, much more deeply concerned for him than Hans is for the dying people he visits, and he shows compassion for Joachim too.

Yes, I find him so. He maintains an ironic distance from all. He looks over his engineer, but as pedagogue for disciple, and when H.C. moves contrariwise to Settembrini's druthers there is friction and aloofness to follow.

I like Settembrini. I like much of what he stands for. And the relationship between him and Castorp is interesting. I don't see him as a ideological hero, however.

And Castorp, however fragile and semi-sincere his mission of mercy was, did seem to take interest in those he visited... But that's still ahead of us.

okt 26, 2011, 8:39am

I love Settembrini a marvellous character and much admired by the steady Joachim.

Changing the subject. I am surprised so far by how little outside events seem to intrude in this novel. If it was set in 1907 then this was at the start of the arms race, rising nationalism and of course imperialism were creating all sorts of tensions between nations. The staff and patients at the sanatorium seem unaware of this to a large extent. I know that Hans wants to be a shipbuilder and Joachim wants to take up his military career, but there seems to be no real urgency.

This all goes to create the atmosphere and the feeling of people living very much in a different world. They are forced to look inwards, by the nature of their environment and their illness.

okt 26, 2011, 11:51am

139: I was talking to C about why it is called the MAGIC mountain and that was sort of the reason we decided he called it that. It is very much its own little enchanted kingdom where the "flatlands" are far away and remote and in danger of becoming completely irrelevant. Like Brigadoon or Shangri-La.

okt 26, 2011, 11:59am


Or a university campus!

okt 26, 2011, 2:16pm

you will not believe it, but I am flushed in the face, my feet are cold and a fever is setting in. My cigars don't taste like they should and I keep thinking about Time. I am checking if I have a moist spot somewhere...

So early to bed and no notes today. Sorry guys, I'll speed up my reading tomorrow.

okt 26, 2011, 2:19pm

Feel better Mac! For the past two days I was home sick with a cold and it felt really weird to be sitting in the recliner, all bundled up, reading about these people in the sanatorium in their lounge chairs. :)

okt 26, 2011, 3:09pm

Great captaining so far, Mac. Being out of my depth, and somewhat away from my turf, I will limit my contributions to titbits.

In Mann's Fiorenza the dying Lorenzo de Medici says to Savanarola: 'Whither the longing urges, there one is not, that one is not - you know? And yet man likes to confuse himself with his longing.'
So it would seem after all that the 'bourgeois run astray', Tonio Kroger, Th: Buddenbrook's soul-mate become writer, and the genuine bourgeois with his code of 'composure', embody the ethic of the new bourgeoisie.

from somewhere in Georg Lukacs, ESSAYS ON THOMAS MANN, Grosset & Dunlap, NY, 1964

okt 26, 2011, 3:14pm

I am reading along, and following the discussion with interest, but when I've felt moved to respond I find that one of the next 20 messages has already said it. Especially enjoy the history of ideas and what led to what. I was right there with Dan's comment - 120, but not suggesting that the ideas expressed by S were Natziism.

Redigeret: okt 26, 2011, 7:14pm

Get well soon, Mac! funnily enough I've been home sick since yesterday too (that's how I get to play around on the net...) My temp's 38 Celsius, what's yours? It went down this morning and now it's up again. (I was going to measure it for seven minutes but lost patience at four.)

#145 et al

Speaking of history of ideas, maybe we could use a thread discussing the general intellectual climate of the times? For instance, the ideas of racial superiority of the West became widely propagandised with the rise of colonialism, buttressed by the ideas of social Darwinism and eugenics (originating in England), and first eugenics programs ever were instituted in that bastion of democracy and freedom, the United States--in the early 1900s. And it wasn't because the people involved read too many Enlightenment philosophers, not at all.

Anyway, I'll leave that to others, I already made one additional thread for this read.

okt 26, 2011, 9:05pm

"I am reading along, and following the discussion with interest, but when I've felt moved to respond I find that one of the next 20 messages has already said it."

Yeah, me too, Solla. And besides, right now I'm still sorting everyone out and getting a feel for the place and the main characters. The book is hitting me on a visceral level, also. I wanted to swat Hans Castorp off his "splendid lounge chair" when he finally learned to wrap himself in the blankets. And I read "Hippe" three times, once to myself and twice out loud. What a perfectly constructed chapter! And set up so well in the previous chapter.

For my money this pace is just right, Mac, as are the notes. I hope you and Lola are better soon.

okt 26, 2011, 9:47pm

oh dear oh dear is reading this book contagious? Mac, get well soon. Are we nearly at camp 1? Is there any more of that rosehip tea?

okt 26, 2011, 10:17pm

My bug can't be TB, I'm not at all hungry. All that glorious fressing up in the restaurant, and I can't join.

**nibbling uninterestedly at the same red cabbage leaf all day**

Redigeret: okt 27, 2011, 12:14am

We are near basecamp 1, it is at the end of chapter 4. There is a welcoming hanshake by the God of the Underworld.

I know what I missed now. A drink ! A grog ! a hot tea with some demerara rhum

okt 27, 2011, 12:18am

I hope you feel better soon, Mac.

okt 27, 2011, 12:21am

Thanks all, with all the sick people we need a group picture

Redigeret: okt 27, 2011, 2:58am

Le Salon du Berghof


okt 27, 2011, 6:42am

MM 4 : Politically suspect

Sunday! It is the fifth day of our friend Hans on the mountain. People dress smartly for Sunday. There is a holiday atmosphere hanging over the Berghof, Music is playing.

1. Bildung

“Ah Bravo…Beer, tobacco and music…behold the fatherland”. Settembrini observes a patriotic mood in Hans. Ironic? Does S want to say to Hans, I can see that you enjoy these things; you can have that everyday in your normal world.

“Don’t you enjoy Music?” “Not when I am ordered to do so”.
Music plays an important role in the book. I am not taking it into detailed account in this reading, but there is a whole symbolic world out there: from the popular porno polkas through the classics and the military or funeral marches. Anybody willing to study it for us ?

S does not like music because it is planned ( every second week and only on Sundays ) and because it is organized for medical reasons. He wants independence in his enjoyment of music (what, when and where)

S sees his attitude as a rebellion against the strict order of the Berghof. He annoys Joachim with a “you’ve learned the trick of keeping your pride, even in slavery”

S compares Music to Writing and remarks that there is something dubious, irresponsible and indifferent about it. (this is how I would characterize nature instead of the earlier “evil”.) … S seems to expect this comment “nature can be clear as well- but what good does that do us?”

“My distaste for Music is Political”

It can be positive and then S likes it: awakening our zeal, a power that draws the mind upward and forward. Literature must precede it. S means probably the words, the text.

Negative, by itself music cannot draw the world forward, music is dangerous

Joachim: “it fills the hours, it gives the empty hours content”. A piece last 7 minutes...

S reacting: “Bravo, Music awakens time”, “a moral element in the nature of music”. Music is good when it awakens! But what if like a drug in numbs you, puts you to sleep, counteracting activity and progress. Music like Opiates is a Devil’s tool, creates dullness, rigidity, stagnation, slavish inertia…”

Music is ambiguous and dubious and thus political suspect.

Dangerous Music!

Music as a drug: Goaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

Music that makes us move forward

2. Eros

There is flirting in this spring weather

3. Time

“spring-like day”: By the time that the first week has passed, Hans will have experienced the four seasons. Arrival in Summer, then quickly following: fall and winter ( is your summer over ?) and now spring-like weather

4. Notes

The boy with the fingernail… A boy sent to the sanatorium for a short stay and who became ill and had to stay… beware Hans beware !

Cigar tastes better after four days.

okt 27, 2011, 8:03am

MM4 Hippe Hippe Hurrah

Chapter finalizes the cheerful Sunday! The cousins are watching Clavdia and Marusja in the carriages. “Russians (particular Russian ladies) love to go for rides”.
On Monday, Hans decides to take an extended walk, all by himself. This is perverse and ill advised. He exhausts himself terribly and after a while will rests on bench near a brook. His nose starts bleeding and Hans has something like a minor epiphany.

It is forbidden not to attend Krokowski’s lectures! Settembrini is absent.

The Austrian Horseman’s cough he hears every day, lest he would forget where he is.

“The nose bleeding left him in a state of strangely reduced vitality”. This pseudo death announces another one later, more dangerous. This time HC suddenly remembers where he has seen the eyes before, finally telling us who he recognized in the dream he dreamt in the chapter “Satana makes shameful suggestions”

Notice HC’s body described as “lifeless”

Hans is still puzzled about who or what he was reminded of each time he sees Clawdia’s eyes. Hans notices again the effect Marusja has on Joachim.

Krokowski’s lecture “Love as a force conducive to illness”

Remembering Pribislav Hippe, Polish first name, Slavic blood, bluish grey or greyish blue eyes ( like distant mountains, the Caucasian Mountain range no doubt ), curious, narrow slanted shape ( Asian ) with prominent distinctive strong cheekbones.

Kirghiz eyes, Kirgizstan in the Caucasus? Is that not where Clawdia comes from and where her French husband is working? Where do German schoolboys know Kirgizstan from? Their reading of the Russians? Tolstoy? Lermontov?

“HC did not worry about the intellectual or emotional basis of his reaction or even what name he would give it if he had to. It could not be called friendship…” It is love of course, it is attraction, it is infatuation. See how many times the word “loved” is used indirectly when speaking about the attraction Hans feels for Hippe. He loved the emotion, he loved the satisfaction, he loved the disappointments. This homosexual attraction cannot be pronounced. It is too adventurous, too risky…

Exchange of the silver and red phallic symbol: “Could you lend me a pencil?”, both heads bent in a joint communion. Hans the fetishist collects the shavings.

“Intimate relationship with Hippe”.

And he looked so strangely like her…The heterosexual attraction Hans obviously feels for Clawdia is a remake of an attraction of an earlier platonic and homosexual Love Hans felt for the beautiful boy Hippe.

The epiphany is like a time warp

Lovely people have ( Central Asian ) Asian blood.

okt 27, 2011, 8:46am

MM 4 : Analysis

Hans, still unsettled by his lonely walk, arrives in the nick of time for Krokowki’s conference. There is a free chair in the back of the room where he urgently sits down. The person right in front of him is “La Clawdia”! It turns out to be, quite an exciting chapter.

1. Bildung

Hans thinks that the loose manners of Mme Chauchat are due to a certain “laissez-aller” à la Herr Albin, in the face of death.

2. Eros

Hans is sitting right behind Clawdia who holds herself as if she is standing on all fours: her back rounded (mentioned three times in the text ), shoulders drooping forward but thrusting her head out…the arm barely clad, the hand so suffocating close to his face.

Krokowski is a caricature of early psychiatry and like Freud is sex obsessed. K is talking dirty. Krokowski described like a real Rasputin…including the Monastic sandals

Erotic images abound: Images of watery milk… sperm ? Very stiff things…Open gasping mouths, Perversion here, perversion there,

Conclusion of Krokowski conference: Illness is transformed Love !!! Unsanctioned love reappears as illness!!! Imagine that.

HC understands it all: Women dress “ just to arouse our ardent desires”. It is accepted because it is the way to get pregnant. He continues: Is there any point in wearing sexy clothes when you are ill? When you are not suited for motherhood? … ought to be considered improper, to be forbidden”. (Hans, what are you saying ?!)
And here comes the conclusion one might expect… “Because a man to be interested in a sick woman was certainly no more reasonable than…well, than for Hans Castorp to have pursued his silent interest in Pribislav Hippe back then”.

Hans has still lots of things to learn.

3. Notes

Krokowski takes the pose of Jesus on the cross

… all ye that labour and are heavy laden… ( pregnancy ?)

Strange last sentence. Both cousins are avoiding to speak about the love theme. Because it is inappropriate? Does Joachim refrain to make advances towards Marusja because she is ill? Because, like Hans said because she is not suited to Motherhood, because it is no use for she will be death soon?

okt 27, 2011, 9:10am

MM 4 : Doubts and Considerations

Tuesday. Hans is now one week at the Sanatorium. He gets his weekly bill. 180 Swiss Francs. ( can anybody calculate what that would be in today’s money?)

Clearly running Sanatoria is big business. ( Board of directors, Joint-stock, juicy dividends )

1. Bildung

The paradox of the sick physician. Again Hans doubts and considerations makes us cringe.

2. Notes

Although Hans sees nothing to complain about, I think the bill is a genuine scandal.

- HC as a visitor has to pay for medical treatment.
- HC has to pay an entrance fee
- HC has to pay for the disinfection of the room

I think that it is rather romantic that Behrens has chosen to stay close to his buried wife.

Krokowski’s office is described as a hellish den in the underground: Murky twilight, deep dusk. See the image of the woman escaping, in shock we think, from the office of K.

okt 27, 2011, 9:44am

MM 4 : Table Talk

Hans head has a slight tremor thought to come from an inner excitement. We learn more about Madame Chauchat.

1. Eros
Hans is ashamed for the behavior of Clawdia, as if he has to account for her bad manners.

Frau Engelhart, Hans table neighbor has understood that there is a certain emotional bond between HC and CC. Her name might indicate she acts as a surrogate Cupido. For she starts “breaking into raptures about Mme Chauchat”, egging Hans on, promoting Chauchat. FE acts as a matchmaker.

Poor Hans, the comments of Englehart must make him crazy: what a charming way she has about her – like a kitten slinking to its bowl of milk – (notice animal imagery)

Russian women are by their very nature so very free and liberal.

You are not supposed to know what Chauchat first name is. Minka ? Tatyana ? Natasha ? Avdotya ? Katyenka ? Ninotchka ? but then it turns out to be Clawdia.

Hans is clearly in love: humming, cheerful, singing, heart pounding. Ah l’amour ! ( Mac turns eyes upward )

2. Geograph

Clawdia is no Kirghiz but from Daghestan beyond the Caucasus.

3. Notes

Redigeret: okt 27, 2011, 9:59am

Oh, you are all climbing so fast, I am breathless! Perhaps not just breathless from the physical exertion?

Lola, you've made some interesting points, esp. in 119 and 134.

I want to introduce here a word that Murr used with Brother's K that seems very appropriate: dialectic. There is a dialectic of sorts going on, though more subtle and more fractured than in Brother's K (while I know there will be points of coming together, I don't think they resolve as much as in Karamazov; Mann's world is simply more in flux, less settled, even if less outrightly passionate in many ways).

Mann's dialectic works most fully on Hans, but all these characters are incomplete in important ways, and to be developed into something else. None are "right" or "wrong", each is a way station, though some we like much more than others. Our dialectic begins with Hans' family and with the Doctors, but our Santana friend really sets it in motion and jump-starts the progressions.

For a little more insight into Mann's dialecticalism and his East meeting his West, I do recommend for those who haven't read it The Transposed Heads. It's a rewrite of a half-forgetten Indian legend about two friends and love rivals, each of different classes, whose heads and bodies are transposed.

okt 27, 2011, 10:05am

Wonderful, wonderful notes, Mac! Damn funny too.

Poor Austrian Horseman, down he sinks with the Habsburgs... maybe I'm romanticising here (too many turn of the century novels featuring Austrian nobility)--but I can't help seeing his passing as the twilight of the aristocratic ruling class, and old-time chivalry, inherited and bequeathed intact through centuries of feudalism. A relic--that's what he is, a relic shipwrecked on the Mountain!

okt 27, 2011, 10:07am


Yep, "dialectic" has also come up just yesterday, in the quotes from Mann's own analysis of another of his publications, which I put in another thread, if you're interested... The Periphery of the Mountain.

Redigeret: okt 27, 2011, 11:28am

Thanks - it took me a while to find it among the quote there, but as you point out, it is very relevant, and puts in Mann's own words the point: "It is not for me to solve the paradox of this mixture of dialectics and genuine, honestly striving to truth." I like that.

I'm trying to sort out what is East, what is west, and where they mix (obviously a mixing is desired, right?!). Sex is a possible dialectical resolution, no?

okt 27, 2011, 11:06am

Haaa! I don't see why not! :)

The religious will say that all contradictions resolve in the deity... we'll see that too.

okt 27, 2011, 11:55am

It is good to have the notes on the "periphery" thread separate, but this short quote posted there by Lola seems to fit well into this discussion:

From Mann's own writing in the Prologue in the Reflections of an nonpolitical man:

I do not think and cannot from my very nature think that it is natural and necessary for the writer to support a development in a completely positive way by direct, credulous-enthusiastic advocacy--as a solid knight of the times, without scruple and doubt, with straightforward intentions and an unbroken determination and spirit for it, his god. On the contrary, authorship itself has always seemed to me to be a witness to and an expression of ambivalence, of here and there, of yes and no, of two souls in one breast, of an annoying richness in inner conflicts, antitheses and contradictions. What is, after all, the origin and purpose of writing if it is not an intellectual-moral effort in behalf of a problematic ego?

okt 27, 2011, 11:59am

Doesn't "the solid knight of the times etc." sound just like Joachim? :)

okt 27, 2011, 12:07pm

This principle is akin to Dostoievski Polyphony, voices pitted against each other...

okt 27, 2011, 12:10pm

Mann has also been so clever as to borrow the concept of the polyphonic novel from Dostoyevsky.
Mann too“Creates a set of characters, each endowed with a distinctive voice and worldview, who are pitted against one another in an open ended dialogue” The attentive reader should easily recognize these different voices and from their interaction draw his conclusions about the validity of their statements. Like in real life all voices and opinions are fully valid and there is no “authorative authorial voice” to arbitrate. This is the reason why people will keep discussing about the lessons Hans has learned for many years to come.

Redigeret: okt 28, 2011, 12:49am

MM 4 : Growing Anxiety / two grandfathers and a twilight boat-ride

Hans is nearly a week and half on the Mountain. He tries not to think about his departure.
We are entertained by Hans early attempts to get in contact with beautiful Clavdia. Then we switch to Settembrini and his sayings

1. Eros

What entertainment! What beautiful lines! Hans and Clavdia are executing the early steps of a precise choreographed mating dance. It is sooooo cute. First the eye contact, trying to get noticed, then the stolen smile, the cruel games, how she makes Hans suffer by not noticing him for two full days. How charming are Hans strategies to try to meet her in the corridor, to bump into her, so to say unexpectedly. How clever is his trick to forget his handkerchief to be able to approach her head-on as she walks to the restaurant. In a first attempt, surprised, maybe a bit intimidated, she looks away but the second time, the second time, she turns towards him and holds his gaze… and his and our blood runs cold. Frau Chauchat’s face in close-up, she is such a beauty… That reddish blond hair with its slight metallic sheen, the small somewhat flattened nose, those prominent high cheekbones which give her that exotic mysterious look, the soft concavity of the cheeks enhancing her slightly voluptuous pout and then those wide set of magical eyes, Kirghiz shaped, blue – grey or grey blue, the color of distant mountains…

The anxiety of the title is the claustrophobic feeling of being locked together with the auspicious chance of meeting Pribislav/ Clawdia again, inevitable and inescapable.
Hans is caught in the web.

Joachim, by avoiding social contact with Marusja, has not been caught. He is driven away, nay, he drives himself away from Marusja because he is aware that it holds such a strong attraction for him.

2. Bildung

Hans is in need of a father figure or a pedagogue, he craves to be influenced. He is in need advice.
He pits to mentors against each other, Behrens the father figure and Settembrini the pedagogue.

Behrens he cannot trust, there is something wrong with him, but what ?
He is too brash, too jovial, too easygoing. What is this melancholy and this secret vice he has? Why does he stay on the mountain? Because he wants to be close to his wife tomb ? or because he too is incurable ill? Or is it just because he wants to save as many people he can?

And what about his archenemy Settembrini? That windbag, that nay-sayer, that critical organ-grinder who had rebuked Hans twice.
Should he pack his bags as Settembrini suggested?

First Settembrini is described as an agreeable and entertaining man and on top of that a funny gossip. Alone with the cousins Settembrini tells about his grandfather, a revolutionary, and about his father, the man of letters.
Hans compares him with his own grandfather, a solid bourgeois. Both wore black clothes as if in mourning, but for different reasons.
Hans compares these to opposites to a vision he once had of day and night at the same time.

Settembrin rambles on, enlightenment – progress - revolutions and so on. Settembrini in his words is rather polemic. He uses sentences as: “one must deal a fatal blow to Austria and crush her…”

Settembrini thinks the Western democracies and principles of enlightenment should free the world of the Asiatic principle of bondage and obduracy.

Hans gets the message, he has now well understood that Behrens is not the enemy of Settembrini’s thinking, but who else than Clawdia…?

3. Notes

Is room 7, Clavdia’s room?
Funny stupidities of Frau Stohr… Tantalus vs Sisiphus etc
Young Schneerman whisked away by his mother because o his debauched life on the mountain. “In Baccho et ceteris”

okt 27, 2011, 4:14pm

MM 4 : Thermometer

This is the last chapter of part 4 and a terrible chapter it is.

Hans is three days into his third and last week. He just received his bill for the second week. Hans is making some doubtful arithmetic, he calculates that a stay would not cost more than 1000 Swiss Francs a month, a 12000 Francs a year. In his calculation he even adds cigars and a new suit.
Joachim doesn’t smoke and is in no need of a new coat. That means that Hans has made this calculation to check if with his ample annual income of 18000 SF he could stay longer on the mountain. At least a year longer that means. That sneaky fellow…

Hans has nothing to keep him on the mountain, or so he says to himself except that he feels sorry for his cousin who has to stay behind. Hans thinks he has acclimatized by now, the taste of his Maria’s confirm it and Hans rather likes this laidback life on the mountain.

He has adapted to the strict regime of the Sanatorium too: the five meals, the rest cures, the short walks. The only thing he does not do is take his temperature but that is soon to change.

Hans has caught a cold and has the sniffles. Joachim advices to consult the head nurse Mecklenburg, who visits him on her next round. Hans buys a thermometer from her and soon measures nervously his temperature and yes… you guessed it, Hans has a fever.

At his table in the restaurant, people seem to be happy with his fever. They now feel he is one of them and his fever has taken away this superiority healthy people have over ill ones. Joachim proposes to ask Behrens to control Hans too, when on Friday at 2o’clock he goes for his check-up. In an eerie moment, Clawdia who sits with her back towards Hans turns around and over the tables looks straight in Hans eyes. Obviously the grave pine has told her about Hans condition. Is she worried about him, or expecting him to stay longer…?

The outcome of the check-up is dramatic. Not only has Joachim’s health not improved, but Hans it seems has TB too. At least there is a moist spot in his lungs which could indicate or deteriorate in TBC. Behrens advices Hans too stay longer.

Krokowski, who is also present, advances too Hans and shakes his hand, either out of compassion or as a welcome to the world of the Moribundi.

okt 27, 2011, 4:15pm

We have now reached the first basecamp. I hope everybody is still with us.

Redigeret: okt 27, 2011, 4:25pm

Denne meddelelse er blevet slettet af dens forfatter.

okt 27, 2011, 4:25pm


okt 27, 2011, 5:02pm

Mac - You are quite the pedagogue, yourself!

okt 27, 2011, 5:11pm


okt 27, 2011, 10:10pm

awesome notes mac. Seems like you got over your cold.

I arrived at camp 1 yesterday night, sobered, moved, and not a bit stirred up by what has happened to HC. I have been present, like Joachim, when a friend has been told he has an incurable mortal disease, and it is very distressing for all concerned. This episode was very difficult for me to read. Mann got this very accurately. This book seems to veer between humour and very grim tragedy.

Anyway. The Growing Anxiety chapter is very important for the theme of humanism: we see three versions of it: the revolutionary, outward-directed humanism in the grandfather, the studious, inward-directed humanism of the father, the pedagogue in the figure of S himself. The chapter ends with this: 'What a piece of work is a man', which is of course a reference to two of the most luminous texts of humanism:

Hamlet's Act 2 Scene 2 speech:
What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how
infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and
admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like
a god! the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals—and yet,
to me, what is this quintessence of dust?

and this, from Sophocles's Antigone:

Numberless are the world's wonders, but none
More wonderful than man; the storm gray sea
Yields to his prows, the huge crests bear him high;
Earth, holy and inexhaustible, is graven
With shining furrows where his plows have gone
Year after year, the timeless labor of stallions.

The light-boned birds and beasts that cling to cover,
The lithe fish lighting their reaches of dim water,
All are taken, tamed in the net of his mind;
The lion on the hill, the wild horse windy-maned,
Resign to him; and his blunt yoke has broken
The sultry shoulders of the mountain bull.

Words also, and thought as rapid as air,
He fashions to his good use; statecraft is his
And his the skill that deflects the arrows of snow,
The spears of winter rain: from every wind
He has made himself secure--from all but one:
In the late wind of death he cannot stand.

O clear intelligence, force beyond all measure!
O fate of man, working both good and evil!
When the laws are kept, how proudly his city stands!
When the laws are broken, what of his city then?
Never may the anarchic man find rest at my hearth,
Never be it said that my thoughts are his thoughts.

There are constant references to this latter speech in S's remarks throughout this chapter.

some thoughts on Spengler from earlier. It' is unfortunate that the term 'Asiatic' used by Spengler has connotations of Orientalism, and colonialism, because I think it's not very inaccurate. One of the differences between Western humanism and Asian thought systems, such as Doaism, Confucianism and Buddhism is in the attitude towards transcendednce. Western humanism is driven towards transcendence, as we see in the figures of the three Settimbrini's, and in the Sophocles speech. Nature is there to be controlled, to be exploited (in the good sense of this word), man is master of his destiny. Eastern systems, however, emphasise the oneness of man with nature and hold up the ideal of non inteference with nature's flow. Eastern cultures often seem extremely passive, or at least breed what looks like passivity to our Western eyes. I'm thinking here of the Daoist Wu Wei idea, 'do nothing'.

At the end of this chapter, HC chooses Asiaticism (?) represented by the Kirghiz eyes, the beyond-the-Caucus Russianness of Clavdia, over Europeanism, the moon over the sun, the mist over clear light. Hans cannot stop his mind being drawn to the opposite of what S has just told him. This is a wonderful chapter.

At the risk of boring everyone, I also must say I loved the analytic chapter too. The conflation of Freud/psychoanalysis with Jesus/Christianity, and then both culminating in an 'advertisement for dissection' was a wicked joke on Mann's part.

Mac, I'm going to take up your challenge and put some thoughts together on music.

okt 27, 2011, 10:25pm


okt 28, 2011, 12:26am

hahaha Gargamel ? He must still appear

okt 28, 2011, 12:28am

175 TC, great comments there !

okt 28, 2011, 12:45am

From Wiki ( Humanism )

Polemics about humanism have sometimes assumed paradoxical twists and turns. Early 20th century critics such as Ezra Pound, T.E. Hulme, and T.S. Eliot considered humanism to be sentimental "slop" (Hulme) or overly feminine (Pound)63 and wanted to go back to a more manly, authoritarian society such as (they believed) existed in the Middle Ages. "Post Modern" critics who are self-described anti-humanists, such as Jean-François Lyotard and Michel Foucault, have asserted that humanism posits an overarching and excessively abstract notion of humanity or universal human nature, which can then be used as a pretext for imperialism and domination of those deemed somehow less than human. Philosopher Kate Soper64 notes that by faulting humanism for falling short of its own benevolent ideals, anti-humanism thus frequently “secretes a humanist rhetoric”.65 In his book, Humanism (1997), Tony Davies calls these critics "humanist anti-humanists". Critics of antihumanism, most notably Jürgen Habermas, counter that while antihumanists may highlight humanism's failure to fulfill its emancipatory ideal, they do not offer an alternative emancipatory project of their own.66 Others, like the German philosopher Heidegger considered themselves humanists on the model of the ancient Greeks, but thought humanism applied only to the German "race" and specifically to the Nazis and thus, in Davies' words, were anti-humanist humanists.67. Such a reading of Heidegger's thought is itself deeply controversial, Heidegger includes his own views and critique of Humanism in Letter On Humanism. Davies acknowledges that after the horrific experiences of the wars of the 20th century "it should no longer be possible to formulate phrases like 'the destiny of man' or the 'triumph of human reason' without an instant consciousness of the folly and brutality they drag behind them." For "it is almost impossible to think of a crime that has not been committed in the name of human reason." Yet, he continues, "it would be unwise to simply abandon the ground occupied by the historical humanisms. For one thing humanism remains on many occasions the only available alternative to bigotry and persecution. The freedom to speak and write, to organize and campaign in defense of individual or collective interests, to protest and disobey: all these can only be articulated in humanist terms.'

Redigeret: okt 28, 2011, 12:34pm

#175 - Murr, cats have their moods and ways, but if you came nearby I would give you a good scratch under the chin for this post. Beautiful thoughts, beautiful way to close our trip to base camp 1. I have my own thoughts, a different, less intellectual take. I'm hesitant to dirty our thread wit them... Briefly, I'm in the Mac-designated section three (part 6) and just figuring out two things. One is that HC is playing at, or trying to be like a monk. The other is that I missed the significance of this almost-minister's decision to become a ship-builder - a vessel to move our lives through space and time and so on.

If HC is really trying to be monk, he has figured out about the only way to do this in modern capitalistic, post-industrial revolutionary life. He's cheating the system, playing hooky in order to find a place of reflection, and possibly explore a chance for spiritual growth.

And this brings me back to Mann and what I see as his discomfort with modern life. He has an ambiguity towards everything modern and post-industrial. His sees life in a faster pace, with larger populations and less humanity for each individual. Commerce and technology are a corrupting necessities, or at least uncorrectable realities. He loves and hates what modern meant for him, which means what it has done to Europe over the last hundred years since 1805 or so. The simpler past as a golden age is underneath there somewhere, even if Mann almost certainly understood its fictional aspects.

I think this is correct on some level, and fundamental here, even if Mann would not have put it that way, or seen it that way. And, so I see here a spiritual quest to figure out modern life, and dissect it and come to terms with it in all its problems. And, it's this, as much as anything, that makes this work as relevant today as in the 1920's. Actually, in ensures the relevance of this work for all human future until we get close enough to a stone age, that books like this cease to exist. (This makes me see the book's existence and relevance as a permanent relationship, which I think is a beautiful notion regardless of its veracity here.)

Which leads me to wonder about the significance of the 100-yr-old baptismal bowl on the mismatched 250 year-old plate. What is significant about 1650 that was lost by 1805 (which happens to mark, thereabouts, the end of the French Revolution and the beginning of Napoleon)?

ETA - fixes from "it's" to "its"

okt 28, 2011, 11:32am

181 Great toughts DD, the reason why I like to be in Le Salon.

okt 28, 2011, 12:35pm

Very kind comment, Mac. Thanks!