The Magic Mountain

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With this dizzyingly rich novel of ideas, Thomas Mann rose to the front ranks of the great modern novelists, winning the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1929. "The Magic Mountain" takes place in an exclusive tuberculosis sanatorium in the Swiss Alps-a community devoted to sickness that serves as a fictional microcosm for Europe in the days before the First World War. To this hermetic and otherworldly realm comes Hans Castorp, an "ordinary young man" who arrives for a short visit and ends up staying for seven years, during which he succumbs both to the lure of eros and to the intoxication of ideas. Acclaimed translator John E. Woods has given us the definitive English version of Mann's masterpiece. A monumental work of erudition and irony, sexual tension and intellectual ferment, "The Magic Mountain" is an enduring classic. (Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)

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  • Hardback | 853 pages
  • 134.62 x 208.28 x 45.72mm | 793.78g
  • Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • New York, NYUnited States
  • English
  • 1400044219
  • 9781400044214
  • 255,962

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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

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Flap copy

Mann began working on The Magic Mountain in 1912, following a few weeks' visit to a sanatorium in Switzerland. Twelve years later the novel that had begun as a short story appeared in two long volumes. The war that had postponed the book's completion had "incalculably enriched its content." Now it was a massive meditation on "the inner significance of an epoch, the pre-war period of European history." It was an immense international success from the time of its publication. The Magic Mountain is the story of an unassuming, undistinguished young engineer named Hans Castorp who sits on the balcony of a sanatorium, wrapped in his camel's hair blanket, thermometer in his mouth, naively but earnestly pondering the meaning of life, time, and his love for the beautiful Frau Chauchat. Among the other characters on this Germanic ship of fools are the malapropian Frau Stohr; Hofrat Behrens, the head doctor, and his hearty but sick-looking sidekick, Dr. Krokowski; Ludovico Settembrini, the enlightened humanist; Han's noble cousin Joachim Ziemssen; and Hermine Kleefeld, who, with her whistling pneumothorax, is the pride of the Half-Lung Club. In this community organization completely in reference to disease, Hans Castrop achieves a kind of transcendence unimaginable in the world of the "flatlands" below him.

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About Thomas Mann

Thomas Mann was born in 1875 in Germany. He was only twenty-five when his first novel, "Buddenbrooks," was published. In 1924 "The Magic Mountain" was published, and, five years later, Mann was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Following the rise of the Nazis to power, he left Germany for good in 1933 to live in Switzerland and then in California, where he wrote "Doctor Faustus" (first published in the United States in 1948). Thomas Mann died in 1955.

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