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The Magic Mountain Paperback – Oct 1 1996

4.2 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 720 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (Oct. 1 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679772871
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679772873
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 3 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 499 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #23,188 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

New translation of Mann's classic novel.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

One of the most influential and celebrated German works of the 20th century has been newly rendered in English by Woods, twice winner of the PEN Translation Prize. First published in 1929, Mann's novel tells the story of Hans Castorp, a modern everyman who spends seven years in an Alpine sanatorium for tuberculosis patients, finally leaving to become a soldier in World War I. Isolated from the concerns of the everyday world, he is exposed to the wide range of ideas that shaped a world on the verge of explosion. Considering what was to follow, the most poignant moment comes when Naphta, a Jewish-born Jesuit, defends the use of terror and the taking of life for the sake of an all-encompassing idea. Woods's work reads more naturally than the original translation, which, while faithful to the German, was stiff and forbidding. A necessary addition to any fiction collection.
Michael T. O'Pecko, Towson State Univ., Md.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
It has been said that a classic is a work that everyone wants to have read, but which no one actually wants to read. Now, having read this novel, I agree wholeheartedly with that statement. I'm glad I read it, and was certainly thoroughly enlightened by its message and its incredible range of philosophical and intellectual topics, but I must admit that reading this book was a laborious process.

The story is set in a saniorium in the Swiss Alps. The institution serves as a microcosm of pre-World War I Europe, and the patients are representative of the various ruling classes which eventually brought about the conflict. Two opposing philosophies, the "Asiatic" and the "European," are represented in the persons of Settembrini and Naphta. The book's central revolves around this, the parody of European social structure before the great war.

Of course, there is much, much more to the book that just this. Everything from music to medicine is covered, and a great many intellectual debates are contained, spanning everything from monism and dualism to progress and the status quo. There is also a very extensive reference to time. In fact, Time seems to be a character of the novel, and a great deal of the book covers the way we perceive time and how it works in relation to us.

I loved this novel, and feel like it is certainly worth having read. As I said, however, it is a very difficult read (at least it was for me), and often I felt as if I were wading through material too deep for me to comprehend. Mann was a brilliant individual, and deserved the Nobel Prize he won for literature. This monumental work deserves to be called one of the 'classics' of this century. It is difficult at times, yes, but it is also supremely rewarding.
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Format: Paperback
To a great many Europeans, World War I must have seemed like Armageddon, a cataclysmic event that would completely and irrevocably transform the continent. Covering the time leading up to the war, "The Magic Mountain" personifies this transformation in its main character, a young man named Hans Castorp, whose life becomes immeasurably enriched after he abandons the ease and complacency of his childhood and opens his mind to new vistas of knowledge. It is not just the coming-of-age novel of a man, but of the world.
Hans is a moderately intelligent engineering student from Hamburg who grew up in an environment of comfort and leisure with not many thoughts about anything other than what concerns him directly. One summer, he goes to the Swiss Alps for three weeks to visit his cousin Joachim Ziemssen, who is convalescing at a sanatorium called Berghof for people with respiratory ailments. While there, Hans takes ill as well and is forced to stay longer to recuperate, a stay which stretches itself out to seven years.
At the Berghof, Hans makes the acquaintance of several other patients of various intellectual and social levels. Most prominent is an Italian named Settembrini, a freelance writer, cynic, and progressivist who dreams of a world republic and believes literature is the ultimate unification of politics and humanism. His current work in focus is the contribution of a literature section to an encyclopedia on human suffering, the intent of which is to catalog all its causes and try to eliminate them. Settembrini has a nemesis in another off-site patient named Leo Naphta, a Jew-turned-Jesuit who advocates a sort of Christian communism, using St. Augustine's City of God as a model.
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Format: Paperback
I have read this novel three times and I love it more and more everytime. It is true: this is a difficult, long reading, but it is worth your time. The first time it took me about six months to finish it... and I think that it is the best way to read this novel. The reader goes along with the main character through the most interesting trip. Hans Castorp goes to Davos-Platz in order to pay a visit to a cousin of him who is being treated in a hospital up in the mountains. Way up. Joachim, the cousin, suffers tuberculosis and must be contained in the cold enviroment so the illness is kept under control. Hans is supposed to stay with his cousin for three weeks, but his plans extend themselves as an unusual attraction develops between him and a russian woman. He and Joachim are joined by the philosopher Settembrini, with whom they talk about the nature of sickness and a supposed respect towards sick people. The rythm of the novel is the most interesting I have ever seen in a work of fiction (Thomas Mann really handles the rythm of events like no one else: how much should an event be explored or briefly described). Join Hans in his trip to a hospital, to the heights of a mountain, to his own physical degradation, to his intellectual developments. Meet along with him Settembrini, Naphta (who was based in the wonderfull philosopher and critic Georg Lucáks), Peeper, the doctors... Live with him the time when he lost his way and had the most wonderfull hallucination I have ever read, live the sessions in which he and his mates meet the world of the spirits... hear his intellecutual divagations. There is so much in this novel... I can only compare it to Cervantes' Don Quixote.
Go into the magic of the reality... the real world is magical, more than in terms of phantasy, in terms of our own minds, our inheritance and our experience of time (rythm). To read this novel is to get deeper in the experience of time itself.
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