I won’t argue that Thomas Mann is everyone’s cup of tea. He’s not known for his concision, and his intellect sometimes drowns out the rest of his humanity. But if you only ever read one work of German literature, this might be it. Don’t rush; time has a quality all its own here. (Do you remember the first few weeks of the pandemic? It’s a lot like that.) Pair with Searles’ new translation of Mann’s selected stories.
In this dizzyingly rich novel of ideas, Mann uses a sanatorium in the Swiss Alps--a community devoted exclusively to sickness--as a microcosm for Europe, which in the years before 1914 was already exhibiting the first symptoms of its own terminal irrationality. The Magic Mountain is a monumental work of erudition and irony, sexual tension and intellectual ferment, a book that pulses with life in the midst of death.
About the Author
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“All the characters in Thomas Mann’s masterpiece come considerably closer to speaking English in John E. Woods’s version . . . Woods captures perfectly the irony and humor.” –New York Times Book Review
“[Woods’s translation] succeeds in capturing the beautiful cadence of [Mann’s] ironically elegant prose.” –Washington Post Book World
“[The Magic Mountain] is one of those works that changed the shape and possibilities of European literature. It is a masterwork, unlike any other. It is also, if we learn to read it on its own terms, a delight, comic and profound, a new form of language, a new way of seeing.” –from the new Introduction by A. S. Byatt