The Magic Mountain : On our way to the camp 1
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So why wait ? Let's climb ! wohooooooooooooooo !
Time : For God's sake, surely it cannot be as long as seven years!
Seven chapters , seven years ?
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...
ascent that will never end...
seperate from every day world...
Air he had never breathed before...
unknown, unwise, unhealthy...
pitch black tunnels...
with patches of snow ...in summer ?
trees and birds left behind
a world of ineffable, phantasmagoric peaks
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
Space like time gives birth to forgetfullness
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
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.
Hans is from the North
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.
Hans suffers from physical annoyances : his body is also disoriented.... cold feet, flushed face, freezing etc
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
Austrian, American, people come from all over the world to Davos
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
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
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”
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.
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 ?
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 -...."
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?)
Like I said in my intro, I will stick to these 5 themes, otherwise it becomes too much (for me).
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…
- 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…
- tradition of the old Castorp family to make past present and the present past…
- Time expressed as a string of forefathers
- Everlasting sameness
- 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.
( nothing )
( nothing )
- 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
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!
What do you mean ?
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
Still physical unconfortable
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
“ There is no shortage of ladies” . Wohoooooo ?
The Russians are the Barbarians , the uncivilized come from the East.
The Good (refined) and the Bad (uncivilized) Russians sit at different tables. There is no split for other nationalities
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
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.
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”
“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.
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
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.
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
The coughing and all the raspy throat noises.
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.
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?
Why not ?
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.
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 !
“And what sort of time period you have in mind ?”
“Our smallest unit of time is the month”
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.
Hans nearly misspeaks the name Settembrini… Mr Septem(ber)…What’s in a name ? I will not give it away right now
Settembrini comes from the south
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.
This short chapter starts with clarity of mind and a dissertation on time and ends with a numbed mind after one Kulmbacher beer
“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
Introduction of big breasted pretty Marusja. We notice that she has some effect on our friend Joachim.
Marusja, like all sexy girls from Russia
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
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.
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.
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
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 it...no, 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.
Noon of the second day and back to the restaurant for the third time. Two incidents are reported. A major new personage is introduced.
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.
Sitting at the tables as if they never left them…. Everlasting dinners? The monotony pleases Hans.
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.
- 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.
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
The adolescent boy’s wiping of eyes will come back later
Happy to see though that I'm keeping pace so far!
"Her name can be read as chaud chat, hot pussy! Wohooooo Bad Mac, bad. Go sit at the bad Russian table.
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."
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 !
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.
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"
> 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"
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 !
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Joachim recounts the story of the student who hanged himself. Hans considers returning back home !
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
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 …
It's der Drehorgelmann in German. What's the double entendre you mention?
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.
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.
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.
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!
ETA: I remember that poem in French, so sonorous with the repetition of longue misere...
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
But, as alluded to above, given that these are a bunch of TB stricken revellers in hell, I am conflicted about it.
Team Naphta how dare you, we haven't even reached page 100.
91 Slick is my man !
Hans learns to fold his blankets. It is not as easy as it looks. He is also thinking about time.
Dissertation on the nature of boredom: Do things new and interesting shorten or lengthen the experience of time ?
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 ?
Hans has not yet settled in yet. It is only the fourth day. He starts to look at and understand details, minor things.
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…
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
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mann does a great job portraying Hans' immaturity without (in my opinion) looking down on him too much.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
Forgive me if this is naive and stupid (it very probably is), but the Nazi message did historically follow this humanist ideal. Any connection?
And slick, forgive me, but I still don't get it. It's not that I disagree, I just plain don't understand.
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.
I think I shall request that for my gravestone.
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.
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.
(Woops... I've gotten ahead of the game, here. Sorry.)
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.
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.
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!
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...)
I like it that Nietzsche and Mann were capable of changing their minds. (Well, all right, so the former actually lost his... eventually...)
Growing Anxiety, chapter. I love Frau Stohr in this chapter, and the way S deals with her. Really funny.
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.
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.
So early to bed and no notes today. Sorry guys, I'll speed up my reading tomorrow.
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
#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.
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.
**nibbling uninterestedly at the same red cabbage leaf all day**
I know what I missed now. A drink ! A grog ! a hot tea with some demerara rhum
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.
“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.
Music as a drug: Goaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
Music that makes us move forward
There is flirting in this spring weather
“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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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 )
The paradox of the sick physician. Again Hans doubts and considerations makes us cringe.
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.
Hans head has a slight tremor thought to come from an inner excitement. We learn more about Madame Chauchat.
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 )
Clawdia is no Kirghiz but from Daghestan beyond the Caucasus.
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.
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!
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.
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?
The religious will say that all contradictions resolve in the deity... we'll see that too.
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?
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.
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
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.
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…?
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”
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.
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.
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.'
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"