Thomas Mann's The magic mountain (Modern Critical Interpretations). Read more · Feehan, Christine - Magic Sisters 03 - Rocky Mountain Miracle · Read more. The Magic Mountain (German: Der Zauberberg) is a novel by Thomas Mann, first published in November It is widely considered to be one of the most. The Magic Mountain (German: Der Zauberberg) is a novel by Thomas Mann, first published in .. Create a book · Download as PDF · Printable version.
|Language:||English, Spanish, French|
|Genre:||Science & Research|
|ePub File Size:||30.62 MB|
|PDF File Size:||17.57 MB|
|Distribution:||Free* [*Regsitration Required]|
The Magic Mountain Thomas. Mann THE H H * H t MAGIC MOUNTAIN t With a postscript by the author on The Making of the novel Translated from the. “All the characters in Thomas Mann's masterpiece come considerably closer to speaking English in John E. Woods's version Woods captures perfectly the. MANN'S MAGIC MOUNTAIN Notes including • Life and Background of the Author • Introduction to the Novel • List of Characters • Critical Commentaries.
The subject of his contribution, it will be remembered, amounts to an attempt to conquer disease and death by denying its essence. His intricate monologue on the unity of life and death is the clearest manifestation of his monism yet. Mann merely mentions Castorp's simplicity to emphasize his faculty of meeting the countless influences to which he is exposed and to resist the many temptations to commit himself permanently to any view or cause. The book was Thomas Mann's first success and was hailed as a masterpiece. The blinding fury of the snowstorm, the vivid presence of Clavdia's greenish eyes touched off by the reflection of blank ice, the effects of a glass of wine--all these combine to drive him on. Little does Hans know that from now on his life is going to be increasingly influenced by her presence.
He is the soul of honour-but what is honour, is what I want to know, when body and soul act together? Is it possible that you have not been able to forget a certain refreshing perfume, a tendency to giggle, a swelling bosom, all waiting for you at Frau Stohr's table?
But his suspicion that his reason, at least, cannot combat his instincts forces him to avoid the confrontation and to remain inactive on the mountain. Even when the war that was finally to destroy Austria is declared, he deceives himself into remaining at Davos: It is unlikely that his incitements influ- enced history. We have seen that Hollingdale finds Settembrini to be reacting to that for which Naphta speaks, "the real world of passion and error.
What world has re- mained? The apparent one perhaps? But no! With the true world we have also abolished the apparent one. The son of a Jewish ritual butcher, he not only converts to Catholicism, but joins the Society of Jesus.
A great dialectician, he argues elegantly and acutely in favor of mysticism and illiteracy p. He advocates the suppres- sion of "the rebellion of the flesh," declares himself an enemy of all "worldly things" p. Yet Settembrini is correct in calling him a "voluptuary" p. His suit is "quiet but modern" p.
The luxury of his apartment astonishes the cousins: He takes an elegant tea, and we find him having wine and cake at a cafe where Settembrini is only drinking sugar water p. Not only his habits but his very views are inconsistent and paradoxical. He is a "reactionary revolutionist" p. Like Settem- brini, he has an answer for every question Hans Castorp is ever likely to ask, and is more than eager to give it.
And, also like Settembrini, he is ill. What brought his illness about and thus prevented Naphta from ful- filling the great expectations he once generated? Despite his happiness in the Jesuit school where he was educated p. His spirit and his body were restless, incapable of tran- quility, a state which seemed to him "a complete atrophy of the per- sonality. Nevertheless, he zealously defends that route: Men consciously and voluntarily descended into disease and madness, in search of knowledge which, acquired by fanaticism, would lead back to health Yet his admiration for illness is as hollow as Settembrini's contempt for it.
Hans knows that Naphta will never be healthy again: It's plain why you never became a priest, joli jesuite a la petite tache humide!
Like Settembrini, Naphta can accept neither the world nor himself. His "moist spot," his illness, allows him to withdraw from both and to maintain an ambiguous alliance to a spirit which delights in sen- suality while indulging a body with emasculated desires. Naphta's express hatred of the physical, but his tacit, if stunted, de- light in it, his fundamental ambiguity, recalls the following passage from The Genealogy of Morals: An ascetic life is a self-contradiction: All this is in the highest degree paradoxical: But, like Set- tembrini, his commitment is incomplete.
He admires disease and dis- owns life, but remains on the mountain to preserve his health and to postpone his death. He uses reason to demonstrate reason's inade- quacy, and hates to lose an argument. He admires works of art for being ugly and deformed, and praises self-flagellation while sipping tea on his silk sofa.
Neither Naphta nor Settembrini has a hold on reality. Structurally, their views are identical.
Both see the world as a battlefield of opposing forces, and each allies himself with the force which leads away from what he considers as low, material, or animal. Settembrini calls that force "reason," while Naphta calls it "faith," but it leads away from the same thing.
Neither of them can accept his own sensuality, and each develops a metaphysics to convince himself that that sensuality is not part of his nature. Yet what they oppose is part of themselves and their vague understanding that to accept their view is to deny themselves results in their paradox and, indeed, in their illness, which excuses them from putting their view to the test. Despite their many differ- ences, the two dualistic pedagogues are fleeing the same enemy, and ultimately take the same direction: Settembrini idolizes the homo humanus p.
Such ideals lead away from a reality, and a task, which neither pedagogue is willing to acknowledge. Mann's pedagogues both want to believe that they are "more" or "higher" than they are. But one cannot escape what one is, and both end up, ill, on the mountain. Though this dualistic mold may not fit all the main characters of the novel, it is clear that none of them is simply a "representative" of a particular attitude toward life.
Behrens's materialism, for example, which gives way to scho- lastic vocabulary when pressed p. Peeperkorn believes that "feeling. But he is tinged with fear.
Hans notices that something "very like panic" flickers up in his eyes p. His love of feeling is not straight- forward, but reactive: But to be afraid of denying one's feelings is to be afraid of these feelings, and this fear of oneself leads ultimately to what is not much more than a rather sordid case of alcoholism, indulged in on every fifth day among the grotesque patients of the Berghof. Nietzsche's Socrates, who espouses rationality out of a fear of his own instincts, is the paradigmatic reactive character of whom Mann's heroes are variations.
Consider, for example, Hans's "ex- perimentalism," his willingness to try on new ways and new ideas. This attitude, expressed by the slogan "placet experiri" pp. This is the limit of my 'truthfulness'; for there courage has lost its right. To experi- ment is here to want to produce and accept only what is likely to lead to fruitful new ideas, some of which may even undermine what led to their acceptance in the first place.
This is just the experimentalism which leads Hans Castorp to the intellectual, emotional, and moral ad- ventures he pursues on the mountain. In this he may well belong to "these philosophers of the future [who] may have a right. I, pp. Similarly, the pleasure he derives from visiting, against all rules, the terminally ill "was rooted in a tradition diametrically opposed to the one Herr Settembrini, as pedagogue, rep- resented-yet seemed to him, young Hans Castorp, not unworthy of having applied to it the placet experiri" p.
Even his participation in the seance in which Joachim appears is motivated by this "'placet experiri' planted in Hans Castorp's mind by one who would surely and resoundingly have reprobated any experimentation [Versuche; II, p. What is the source of Hans Castorp's experimentalism? Why is he always involved in dubious mental adventures?
Though the narrator often reminds us that Hans is in no way "remarkable," he also tells us that many things make him "interesting," one of them his aversion to strain: This then, perhaps, is why we may not call him mediocre: Hans's awareness that there is no over- arching reason for which to live, which is ultimately the cause for the interest his pedagogues show in him p.
Unlike his companions, he refuses to make up such a reason, and this both de- pends on, and encourages, his experimentalism. Not having made up his mind, he has little to lose. Not thinking that anything is bound to be true, he does not believe that anything is certain to be false. His nature is indeed in this respect "exposed," and Settembrini is right to call him "Life's problem-child" ein Sorgenkind des Lebens; I, p. But, unlike the others, he lets his illness take its course while he learns about himself in order to understand what prompted it in the first place.
And, alone among his companions, he finds out: I have a quarrel after all, not with Clawdia, not with you, Mynheer Peeperkorn, but with my lot in general, my destiny" p. He alone realizes that one can only react to the illness by "getting used to not getting used to it" pp. He alone refuses to follow a path dictated either by tradition or by duty, and realizes that, quite strictly, and de- spite Settembrini's claims to the contrary p.
A quarrel with one's destiny needs to be explained, and if one cannot question one's destiny, one will find that explanation within oneself.
Unable to accept his lot, but also unable to turn his back to it, Naphta accounts for his weakness by his materiality, which he turns into a pun- ishment to which all human beings are subject. Yet in turning against himself he manages, by a peculiar inversion, to remain at peace with himself, since he now has an explanation for his suffering, and "the meaninglessness of suffering, not suffering itself' is what is intolera- ble.
He winds his own phlegmatic way around and between theirs, never quite ac- cepting but never quite rejecting what they have to offer him. He often enough speaks in the manner of his friends, but always there is a slight difference. You have to take humanity as it is-but even so I find it mag- nificent" p. What he finds magnificent is not, of course, the very vulgarity of Frau Stohr, the madness of Lawyer Paravant, or the stupid bravado of Herr Albin, but the mechanism which produces such spec- imens as solutions to the quarrel with one's destiny with which he him- self is confronted.
Hans can deceive himself, for example, as readily as any other character in the novel pp. He looks at the back of Clawdia's neck during Krokowski's lecture pp. He gobbles his food down with the same immense appetite which so shocked him in the other patients upon his arrival p. He does sneak into Clawdia's room after hours to engage in what may well ap- pear to a third party as a sordid little affair. He plays solitaire with the abandon which Lawyer Paravant exhibits in trying to square the circle pp.
As the novel progresses, the distance between the reader and Hans Castorp constantly increases. After Clawdia's second departure from the Berghof, for example, his behavior comes to be described almost completely from a third-person point of view, and he is hardly quoted any longer. Accordingly, his state of mind during the last part of his stay and, in particular, the motives of his departure from the Berghof remain a matter for guessing on our part.
Add to Cart Add to Cart.
About The Magic Mountain 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 was already exhibiting the first symptoms of its own terminal irrationality. Also in Vintage International. See All. Also by Thomas Mann. Product Details. Inspired by Your Browsing History. Related Articles. Looking for More Great Reads? Download our Spring Fiction Sampler Now. Download Hi Res.
LitFlash The eBooks you want at the lowest prices. Read it Forward Read it first. Pass it on! Stay in Touch Sign up. This, needless to add, is extremely important in a bildungsroman.
This static quality is most obvious in Settembrini, whom Hans calls "a mere representative without name. His intricate monologue on the unity of life and death is the clearest manifestation of his monism yet. There is no new or even different angle to his arguments, and if anything at all strikes Castorp or the reader as different, it is his growing haughtiness. Our "delicate child of life," on the other hand, is susceptible to the diverse influences and assaults upon him.
Joachim, Settembrini, Clavdia, and Naphta are not only outside forces acting on him; they are also components of his own personality, pulling him in several directions and thereby enabling him to learn. He is Castor and a bit of Pollux, the twin stars of Gemini, as his name suggests. If nothing proves that Mann consciously derived Castorp's name this way, the twin-star image is nevertheless highly appropriate.
Hans continuously undergoes changes, and he always moves. His new, defiant reaction has never been so evident as when Settembrini condemns the perversely lavish concept of time of "those Parthians and Scythians" Slavs.
To convince Hans of his view, Settembrini divulges his membership in an organization propagating the self-perfection of man on the basis of "objective" data. He continues that the organization has asked him to compile a volume on the therapeutical values of world literature to be printed in an encyclopedia entitled The Sociology of Suffering.
He even invites Hans to join, but Hans declines. And, indeed, how can the fanatical Settembrini, risking anything as long as his cause is advanced, be so dedicated to "international" organizations and "world" literature? How can he refuse to acknowledge the reality of disease when his own disease keeps him from traveling to a professional meeting?
Mann picks sociology as his target here, pointing to its unfortunately widespread mania of treating social phenomena as though they obeyed the laws of the natural sciences. The mere title of Settembrini's encyclopedia is symptomatic of the cast of mind which confuses quantity with quality. In short, Castorp is infuriated, and he means to let his teacher know. He points up the grave inconsistencies in Settembrini's philosophy-which would not be so bad if Settembrini did not always pride himself on his "rational" and "intellectual" powers.
Above all, Hans begins to supply his own correctives to Settembrini's thoughts, which he has accepted or at least listened to without contradicting so far. The upshot is that Hans is undergoing a decisive phase in his education. It is important to remember, though, that our hero's refusal to go on swallowing his educator's suggestions hook, line, and sinker is not merely the result of his rapidly growing infatuation with Clavdia Chauchat: His conviction that all these arrogant claims advanced by Settembrini are false is real and justified.
It is for the first explicit indication we have that Castorp has come to see his road as leading somewhere between these extreme positions he encounters.
Very much the same static quality marks Behrens' behavior. His leading role on the magic mountain is becoming more apparent now, thus justifying everything that Settembrini has observed and that Castorp has surmised about him. Especially Behrens' sensuality is disclosed, both through his hobby, oil painting, and his addiction to the body, which has nothing to do with medical concerns. Interestingly enough, it is again Castorp who begins to react differently.
His desire for Clavdia Chauchat makes it extremely hard for him to bear the mere thought that Behrens should have enjoyed her nearness to this degree while he painted her. Waiting in line to have his X-ray taken, he meets her as she comes swirling into Behrens' waiting room, and the thought that the doctor should be able to look into her, as well as at her, sets Hans wild. Taking advantage of an accidental encounter with the doctor, Castorp invites himself to Behrens' house because he wants to see the painting.
Castorp tells his host that he Hans should have become a doctor because he loves the human body. Asking Behrens to tell him something about the functions of the skin and the glands, he eagerly listens to the doctor explaining the intricate processes to him during which physical or psychological stimuli arouse certain external changes.
Behrens winds up his lecture stating that both life and death are but two forms of oxidation. This exaggerated delight in particularly the skin and glands is symptomatic of a pathological condition which craves the body, especially the sick body.
This is what Behrens and Castorp have in common. In the latter, this desire is so strong that it drives him to rave about it to Clavdia, which gives him some sort of surrogate satisfaction. Eventually Castorp responds to Behrens as he does to Settembrini. Just as he now contradicts his Italian mentor, he also uncovers Behrens' vices. He takes the initiative: He has convinced himself of Behrens' carnality, so he pries at the doctor to hear more about the science of the body.
In terms of the educational process Hans is undergoing, this scene is significant because it shows his growing self-awareness. The particular stretch of road he is traveling now leads him straight to his downfall, but it is only by crossing through darkness that he can emerge wiser.
There can be no cure without the danger of death, no purification without fire, and no mercy without previous sin. This is Mann speaking, the great admirer and expert on medieval philosophy. Behrens presides during Walpurgis Night, pouring punch and conducting diabolic games in reddish semidarkness. According to legend, witches met the devil during Walpurgis Night April May 1 for a night of revelry on the Brocken Mountain.
Mann took much of this scene from Goethe's Faust. The symbolism of Behrens' drooping posture dominating the magic mountain revelry is obvious. Mann resorts to an old literary tradition, namely that of seeing the world of clowns and jesters as the only real one. Castorp experiences this night as he might experience a dream. Dreams, too, have stood for windows into a higher reality throughout literature--not only here but in other Mann stories Death in Venice.
Thus Mann uses two specific means here of stressing the scene's character of revelation. That disease is the catalyst of any comprehension of reality goes without special mention; it is one of the major themes of the novel. The Walpurgis Night scene is central not only because it contains the climax of Castorp's irrationality but also because it elevates the novel's main leitmotif of the borrowed pencil from the world of vague reminiscences into that of the very real party game conducted by Behrens for his guests.
Castorp experiences the entire evening "like a dream," but he wants to participate in the pig-drawing contest, so he approaches Clavdia Chauchat for a pencil. Confronted with her, he turns pale, realizing the parallel between this situation and the others he has lived through in dreams and, in reality, during his school days. Clavdia lends him the pencil, using the very words Pribislav Hippe once used when he lent Hans a pencil for a drawing lesson at school.
Essential questions are posed: Is Castorp experiencing the same thing over and over again, though under slightly different circumstances and in varying degrees of consciousness? Has he known Clavdia before, and if so, in this world or in another? Where do dreams end and where does reality begin--if, indeed, they may be pitted against each other as though they were mutually exclusive? Psychologically speaking, this scene is a masterpiece, as is also proven by Mann's insistence on having his hero address Clavdia in French.
The reason is that he, like all of us, finds it easier to express something delicate or embarrassing in a language whose subtle nuances he cannot tell apart and for which he is therefore not responsible. The author picked French simply because at that time, French was the important language of international communication; in this connection, we remember that Castorp practiced it with Tous-les-Deux, the Mexican lady, long ago.
The thin mountain air merely brings out his disease, which in sensitive people like him becomes a yardstick of his growing self-awareness and, thus, his education. This is what Castorp means when he confides to his cousin that "down below," all the intriguing discussions with Settembrini, for instance, would not have meant anything to him.
Now one must consider some of the indications that Hans' condition has grown worse. First, Hans' fever curve has steadily gone up, typically enough and most conspicuously, whenever he either dreams of Clavdia or when he sees her.
In fact, Hans has reached the point where he wants to be sick and triumphantly writes home that his rising temperature necessitates his prolonged stay at the sanatorium. If so far he has been largely unaware of the perils endangering him, he is now defending himself against Settembrini's warnings--in spite of the fact that he understands the Italian's concerns.
Nothing does he dread more than the removal of the protective veil of his clouded senses, which affords him the destructive nearness of Clavdia Chauchat. As a result, Hans not only foregoes his own judgment but also begins to let himself go. Neglecting his posture at the table where much of life at the Berghof goes on and slamming doors behind him, he takes on the contempt of form and composure so characteristic of Clavdia.
Illustrating moral deterioration through the dissolution of form, Mann makes the point that content and form are but two aspects of one and the same thing. This issue, already dealt with on an intellectual level in the discussion between Castorp and Behrens, is of course only a variation on the underlying theme of the dualistic view of life which Castorp seeks to overcome. The quickly changing weather, which is employed throughout the novel as an indication of the different values governing the Berghof world, upsets our hero less and less.
His response to the surface heat of an Indian summer concealing the coming winter frost sheds light on his diseased condition--one of "mingled frost and fire. Now Hans is sick enough to accept the suspension of the natural sequence of time as "normal.
The scene in which Castorp and his cousin look at each other's skeletons in front of the X-ray screen also points to our hero's mounting confusion and awareness of his disease.
Looking at his bones, he is startled by the memory of an old aunt of his who had the strange talent of seeing people who were about to die as skeletons. Hans' growing self-awareness leads him to take up serious reading, which is the prerequisite for any new insights.
He concentrates on books dealing with the origin and composition of life, which is described as neither exclusively matter nor spirit but as something resulting from an interaction between the two. The more Castorp reads about the human body, the more he appreciates life.
He realizes that his old notions about death as an independent force are wrong; they would keep him from enjoying life to the fullest. Nevertheless, he still clings to the idea of death and disease as something noble and so sends flowers and messages of hope to patients about to die. Yet Hans' well-meaning consolations lead to offenses and unintended cruelties in several instances, proving Settembrini right in urging him "to let the dead bury their dead.
Yet our hero, "life's delicate child," also travels another path toward self-realization and self-awareness, which is the reason why in his reading he dwells on pathology. Nothing is really "simple" about him, and just as the several characters shaping his mind may be interpreted to be something akin to the different aspects of his the average man's consciousness, Castorp's own actions and reactions often seem to belong to different patterns of behavior.
Indeed, the monolithical Castorp, cast out of one mold and consistent within himself, does not exist. He cannot exist because he is man depicted in the agonies of his lifelong battle toward self-realization. Hans' avid reading of books on pathology only seems to contradict his other reading. Castorp, the representative of us all, is fighting within himself, as when he says to Clavdia that "There are two paths to life: The other leads through death--that is the spiritual way.
In terms of the reading Castorp does, this means that his delving into problems of pathology corresponds to that part within him which emphasizes disease as something positive.
In his sick state, our hero's principle is pure feeling, which he readily admits. And since there is nothing like disease to provide undiluted feeling, he craves disease as a form of lust.
The cause and symptom of his disease is Clavdia Chauchat, and what he experiences when he sees her is an intense and undecided battle between pain and lust. As a direct result of all his abstract reading, Castorp falls asleep and lapses into a rather sensual dream of Clavdia's embrace and lingering kiss. As the undisputed painter of human psychology that he is, Mann admirably succeeds here in depicting man's different levels of consciousness as one large reservoir.
The treatment of human experience as essentially one reservoir, of which the various dreams and visions are but the most paramount expression, is closely tied up with the treatment of time. And time, as we have seen in connection with the carnival scene already, figures prominently in this chapter. At the beginning of Chapter 5, the narrator reveals that the description of Castorp's life at the Berghof will not take up nearly as much time as it has so far.
This does not contradict what was said above, for it means that, unlike Chapter 1, which dealt solely with the newcomer's experiences during his first day, all subsequent chapters are not commensurate with the span of time they describe.
This is consistent with Castorp's often-expressed belief that time passes quickest whenever a change of place is involved, and that after a while longer, periods can easily be condensed into relatively little space because they are not experienced as the same long periods any more. The novel, let us not forget, attempts to convey the sense of time as Castorp experiences it.
The discussion of time now moves in the direction of what the author symbolically calls "soup everlasting. The soup they always get for lunch is the only reality for them because it comes regularly and divides up this uncertain something called "day.
Since this "eternal now" is increasingly hard for them to bear, they try to counteract it by various hobbies: Settembrini sticks to his reading and writing, Joachim has taken to studying Russian to survive, and Castorp reads copiously or keeps track of the days by arranging dates with Clavdia.
Then, during the night of the carnival, Castorp's enchantment widens his experience of time to include magic touches of fulfillment. They are fleeting touches, to be sure, which do not bring the fulfillment of his longing as such. Fulfillment would be the end of all longing and would hardly justify Castorp's further adventures toward self-awareness and his own way of life.
Yet, stammering his confessions of love to Clavdia, he raves that sitting with her is like a dream. The present and eternity have ceased to be two opposite aspects of time. From now on, Hans Castorp experiences them as one long, vague mystery. Left with nothing but Clavdia's farewell present and the framed X-ray portrait of her upper body, he slowly moves away from her and further up the path toward self-awareness.
Now the path will lead steeply upward and Castorp will reach its high point during the snow adventure. Settembrini, of course, is unable to see that it is not only in spite of, but because of, his involvement with Clavdia that Hans resumes his search for knowledge and insight. Settembrini's understanding of Castorp's education does not go beyond the cynical inquiry of how Hans enjoyed the "pomegranate" of sensuality, suggesting that one who has tasted of the fruit of perdition is irretrievably lost.
More than ever, Settembrini now appears as the moralist and rationalist par excellence, one who dismisses disease as mere illusion, the result of a lack of reason. In this context, it is interesting to note that Settembrini never actually meets Clavdia, the embodiment of what he battles against. Just how obstinate Settembrini is becomes clear when he, convinced of his hopeless condition, says that he will move into the town of Davos to complete his work for the encyclopedia.
The subject of his contribution, it will be remembered, amounts to an attempt to conquer disease and death by denying its essence.
If Settembrini represents the purely ethical approach to life, the equally intellectual Naphta, whom he introduces to the cousins, represents the purely esthetic one. Extremely intense and lost in their respective positions, these two adversaries charge the sanatorium atmosphere with sheer mental brilliance. There is one trait in Naphta that makes him radically different from Settembrini: As an intellectual, Naphta is doomed by his irrational mentality to fight his rationality.
This renders him a living paradox which he will be driven to solve eventually by committing suicide. Naphta exerts a greater influence on Hans Castorp than Settembrini because our hero, in a way the embodiment of both his educators, is sensitive enough to respond to this tension in the newcomer. It is that part of Naphta he cannot grasp which fascinates him most, thus proving Naphta's point that humanity always tends to be drawn to the irrational elements rather than those that lend themselves to rational analysis.
All the endless discussions between Settembrini and Naphta deal with the question of whether or not a monistic principle prevails in the cosmos as the Italian contends or whether spirit and matter are engaged in eternal conflict as two autonomous forces as the Spaniard claims. It is important to understand that estheticism is related, in Mann's view, with disease and, ultimately, death.
This is also a part of Schopenhauer's ultra-romantic philosophy in a nutshell: The discussions of Naphta and Settembrini cover a wide variety of subjects, beginning with politics and soon involving theology. Settembrini argues that natural law alone is the basis of democracy, whereupon Naphta replies that the concept of natural law is but a mutilation of divine law and that the so-called democratic ideal is merely the last attempt of the West to fend off the new order already building up in the East.
When the Spaniard learns that Settembrini is a Freemason, he does not hesitate to call this organization a surrogate for the church and claims its success is not the result of the principles of enlightenment it cherishes but of its mystical rituals.
Settembrini counters that he prefers Greco-Roman art with its balanced proportions to Gothic art with its emphasis on physical distortion in the interest of the spiritual. Settembrini defends rationality to an absurd point, claiming to have healed insane people merely by looking at them "rationally. The Spaniard retorts, however, that even the worst tortures of the Inquisition were committed to save souls, something that cannot be said of the butcherings of the French Jacobites, who were convinced that when they killed a man they killed all of him--body and soul--for good.
Naphta corners Settembrini by telling him that if he understood the essence of the Inquisition, he would know that rationalists of his Settembrini's kind instituted it.
More than ever before, Mann demonstrates his thorough familiarity with medieval philosophy and that of its forerunner, St. The heading "Of the City of God" is a direct translation of St.
Augustine's masterpiece, and "Deliverance by Evil" reflects his concept of felix culpa literally, "happy guilt" , whose essence is that deliverance can come only through sin and subsequent repentance. These ideas run through the entire novel, and although they are never wrapped in religious terminology, Mann justifies Castorp's disease as the prerequisite for his growing maturity.
When Settembrini carries on about the merits of the rationalistic work ethic of the "West," Naphta comes back at him by explaining the teachings of Bernard of Clairvaux, the twelfth-century theologian. His symbology of humanity's progress toward perfection, which was a progression toward pure contemplation, was "Western" too; this is of course the main point Naphta wants to make.
The trouble is that neither Settembrini nor Naphta really understands Clairvaux. For Settembrini, the dawn of humanity begins with the Renaissance at best really with the French Revolution. His mind is therefore incapable of comprehending the full meaning of a symbol: Negating any non-rational component within him, a symbol remains inaccessible to him. All he gets out of Clairvaux is a cheap distortion of the symbol of the "bed of repose," standing for communication with God.
Here we have an aspect of Settembrini which is too easily overlooked: He, too, has strong touches of sensuality about him, but he does not grant them room.
Like disease, he simply suppresses the urge for sex, and when its pressures become too strong, he transfers his reaction to the level of jokes. In this connection, the reader may recall some of his crude approaches to female patients at the very beginning, which caused Castorp to call him a windbag.
Denying humanity's sensual level of existence, he is bound to be a prude. Naphta, on the other hand, reacts in the other extreme. Although well-versed in theology, he, too, is a victim of his extreme--and therefore wrong--position. He cannot derive anything but voluptuousness from the spirit dwelling in the body.
Naphta's voluptuousness again becomes apparent when he questions Settembrini as to whether monism does not bore him. Humanity, according to Naphta whose name, incidentally, is also that of a flammable, volatile liquid does not long for liberty, but for terror.
Communism, of which early Christianity availed itself, may therefore get along very well with Catholicism, he argues, although the two are opposites in terms of their beliefs. His views, always preferring some form of error to compromise, are rooted in his conviction that death is an independent force. At Joachim's deathbed, he goes so far as to assert that virtue cannot be where there is reason, nor has religion anything to do with reason and morals because it has nothing to do with life.
What keeps drawing the two adversaries toward each other may also be expressed in terms of what they lack. Settembrini's deficiency is that he lacks an entire sphere of human existence--the intuitive or spiritual one; Naphta's flaw is that he lives only in this sphere.
By carrying their deficiencies to absurd extremes, each of these men forfeits his own standpoint which, up to a point, makes sense. Castorp is fascinated by their brilliance, but he has matured enough to realize the countless contradictions within each "system," much less between the "systems" and the men advocating them. He gradually arrives at a more harmonious view of the world.
When Joachim insists they did not come to Davos to get wiser, but healthier, Hans reminds him that these inconsistencies are only superficial ones and that they ought to be reconciled. What the Spaniard propagates is wrong only in that it is carried to self-defeating extremes.
Suffering and disease may indeed intensify experience beyond that which is accessible to the "healthy" and "normal.
This is why perfectly balanced or "normal" people tend to be average people; it is also the reason they do not come to grief as easily as do sensitive ones. They take, as does Joachim, the "direct" path to life. Naphta's failure does not consist in preaching these basically true aspects of life but in raising them to the position of exclusiveness.
There is little doubt, for instance, that the vast majority of people really need some kind of authority--more, certainly, than Settembrini thinks, who judges people by his own demand for freedom. Freedom, however, is no absolute good, nor is anything else if elevated to exclusiveness. Although Naphta is right in principle, he fails here because he winds up advocating outright terror. Similarly, the discrepancy between his justified reply to Settembrini--that it is naive to judge the Inquisition by a modern-day standpoint--and his reactionary defense of medieval practices in today's church is frightening.
It is both absurd and dangerous to propagate these practices in a time that has long since given up the theological prerequisites for them. To understand the Inquisition, we must understand its underlying belief that the soul's salvation presupposes the death of the guilty body. Thus, Mann takes sides neither with Settembrini nor with Naphta but remains eager to advocate the ideal of aloofness from all extremes.
As a result, his approach is essentially ironic. Irony keeps him from the danger of seeing somebody or something only from a certain angle and only at a given moment. Mann is a great believer in the elusive quality of reality, and he prefers to depict its myriad, scintillating moods rather than supply a system of neat little tags. Hereditary and environmental factors, which Mann emphasizes as most instrumental in forming man, enhance this irony.
Their discussion is resumed here at precisely the points where Naphta is about to drive home an idea to Settembrini or Castorp.
It immediately reduces Naphta to the level of a product of his heritage: The Spanish and the "Eastern" characteristics of Mann's ethnic "system" are accountable for Naphta's irrationality, cruelty, and sympathy with disease and death. We have seen that each of the novel's characters is described in terms of another one, and often in terms of its opposite.
One of these sets of characters is Hans Castorp and his cousin Joachim Ziemssen. Now, more than ever before, we can measure Castorp's growing self-awareness and confusion by the increasingly violent reactions of Joachim here. Joachim responds to his cousin's growing interest in botany, for instance, by telling him he understands him less than ever before.
If Castorp gets tired of the intellectual fireworks of his discussion partners, he nevertheless derives insights from them.
This is not true of Joachim: All he remembers of these discussions is Naphta's Jewish nose. Again Mann's irony forbids him to side with Castorp against his cousin. The purely intellectual approach to life is quickly shown to be inadequate and, using the farcical suicide later on, even as selfdestructive.
The situation between the cousins climaxes when Castorp explains to Joachim that the sudden, unusual change in weather is merely the outward sign of the unusual state of affairs on the magic mountain.
Joachim's impatience with Hans erupts because the latter has matured enough to accept this change. Once upon a time, the reader will recall, our hero was utterly confused by the unusual climate.
Joachim makes plans to leave, demanding that Behrens let him return to the army; because he is a military man to the core, he departs. Before Joachim leaves, however, he implores Hans to follow him while there is still time. He even calls Hans by his first name. Settembrini, too, will call him by his first name at the outbreak of the war.
Hans does get Behrens' permission to leave but then refuses to go. Irony plays an important role in Joachim's life. He, who has literally lived for the day he would be permitted to return to the world of law and order, is forced to give it up again because of his failing health; and, to make things worse, he has to return to the sanatorium just when the maneuvers, a symbol of strict obedience to authority, are about to begin.
Not only his serious attacks, but also his behavior--his overly reserved treatment of his girlfriend Marusja, for instance--indicate his death is near. Nothing can keep him, however, from formally applying for an extension of his leave. Never has he ceased to be a deeply committed man. Eerily and symbolically enough, the beard growing around his dying face gives him the added likeness of an honorable warrior. It is true that Joachim has been sick all along, but he contracted his deathblow while he was with his unit "down below.
Appropriately, he is buried in a soldier's grave pierced by roots-the roots which never permitted him to become exposed to any flights of fancy. He is responsible for his own death, but contentment and harmony on his deathbed are the reward for his moral life.
Joachim is, as our hero will explain to Clavdia, the prototype of the kind who travels the "regular, direct, and honest" path to life. There are other confrontations besides that between the cousins which exemplify the degree to which Hans Castorp has become part and parcel of the sanatorium world. Uncle Tienappel's arrival and his sudden departure serve no other purpose than to show the futility of his attempt to retrieve our renegade hero.
It also illustrates convincingly how James Tienappel, like every other sensitive newcomer, becomes inevitably embroiled in the lures of the magic mountain and would, if he stayed, be privileged and condemned to share his nephew's fate. In fact, this new ambassador of the flatlands goes through the same dizzying experiences Hans once went through.
And the heavy tongue, the feverish head, and the protruding veins all seem, in Behrens' opinion, to indicate that he is sick enough to stay "up here. The thematic leitmotif of the affinity between sensuality and an exaggerated concern for the body's origin and makeup is taken up again.
As one more parallel sensation which we remember from Hans' earlier days, Uncle Tienappel's sense of time becomes vague and his self-assurance begins to dwindle. Hans Castorp fully understands his uncle's reactions as those of initial adjustment-even though he is beyond them now.
New insights have slowly led him away from the deep sensuality of his days with Clavdia the fact that she is away has, of course, helped him , and his concept of time has lost its haunting vagueness because he has become used to it. Like "Walpurgis Night," the section entitled "Snow" warrants separate treatment. Both scenes are perfect battlefields for the forces of reason and sensuality in Castorp's life.
And, as in "Walpurgis Night," Settembrini's warnings the very words he shouted after Hans at the carnival and Clavdia Chauchat's enticements here in the form of the recurring mention of the pencil motif play a leading role in this battle. That these warnings and enticements are the product of Castorp's overwrought imagination merely heightens their vividness and increases their effect.
The present scene, with all its hallucinations and visions, superimposed upon each other, drawn together by leitmotifs, and whirling around in the emerging circular concept of time, reflects as a microcosm the scintillating macrocosm of the whole magic mountain world. Our hero's wanderings among the marvels of this world are condensed here in the hike away from the Berghof and his almost fatal entanglement with nature.
Fascinated by the phantasmagorical landscape of an unusually deep winter, Castorp decides to learn how to ski so that he can venture into higher altitudes. This climb exposes our hero to the danger of succumbing to the awesome power of undiluted nature. On several previous occasions, the climate has been called unusual, but here the aspects of extremity and incalculability prevail. Described as "blinding chaos" and "white dark," snow is the paramount symbol as sand will be in Chapter 7 of confusion, the harbinger of Castorp's sympathy with death.
This sub-theme of snow symbolizing death finds its most explicit expression in Castorp's musings about snowflakes as too symmetrical and therefore opposed to the principle of life. He has outgrown his teacher Settembrini's notion of life as something regular, consistent, and purely rational.
On the contrary, his studies of nature have shown him that these qualities are represented purest in inorganic nature. At the same time, he loves snow and enjoys it with an eminently defiant attitude. Hans is aware of his growing distance from the sanatorium, but he continues to climb and dismisses his own misgivings as "cowardice. He has never ceased to toy "with forces so great that to approach them nearly is destruction. The blinding fury of the snowstorm, the vivid presence of Clavdia's greenish eyes touched off by the reflection of blank ice, the effects of a glass of wine--all these combine to drive him on.
Having lost his bearings, he moves around in circles and loses his sense of time. This is Schopenhauer's philosophy about the inviting, soothing quality of death. Yet it is Schopenhauer about to be overcome by Goethe's life-asserting humanism in the ensuing vision. The vision Hans Castorp has while standing up against a cabin is the most comprehensive and profound of his many intrusions into the mysteries of life and death.
More lucidly than any other one, it affords him a glimpse into the dual nature of human existence and quickly leads him on toward his triumph--the transcendence of dualism. That it springs directly from his exhaustion is consistent with the idea, dominant throughout the novel, that disease and suffering are, in the last analysis, positive forces serving spiritual growth--provided that they are not granted independence apart from life.
Not white, gray, and black, but green, blue, and gold are the colors of the world of perfect harmony Hans sees. Glimpses of a luxuriant park where he watches the serene "children of the sun," mythical figures symbolizing the life-asserting forces, play among antique buildings and mingle in Castorp's mind with faint memories of happy holidays at the Mediterranean.