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Authors: Thomas Mann

The Magic Mountain

BOOK: The Magic Mountain
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Thomas Mann



Translated from the German by

A Division
of R
andom House
New York

March 1969
Copyright 1927 by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.
Copyright renewed 1955 by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.
Copyright 1952 by Thomas Mann
All rights reserved under International and Pan-American
Copyright Conventions. Published in the United States
by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New York,
and Random House, Inc., New York.
Distributed in Canada by Random House of
Canada Limited, Toronto. By arrangement with
Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.
Originally issued as
Der Zauberberg.
Copyright, 1924, by
S. Fischer Verlag, Berlin. The author’s note on “The
Making of
The Magic Mountain” f
irst appeared in
Atlantic Monthly,
January 1953.

Manufactured in the United States of America

Translator’s Note

The translator wishes to thank, in this place, a number of scholars, authorities in the various special fields entered by
The Magic Mountain
, without whose help the version in all humility here offered to English readers, lame as it is, must have been more lacking still. That they gave so generously is not to be interpreted otherwise than as a tribute to a work of genius. But with all their help, the great difficulty remained: the violet had to be cast into the crucible, the organic work of art to be remoulded in another tongue. Shelley’s figure is perhaps not entirely apt here. Yet, since in the creative act word and thought are indivisible, the task was seen to be one before which artists would shrink and logical minds recoil.
But of the author of
The Magic Mountain
it can be said in a special sense that he has looked into the seeds of Time. It was in dispensable that we should read his book; intolerable that English readers should be barred from a work whose spirit, whatever its vehicle, is universal. It seemed better that an English version should be done ill than not done at all.
H. T. L.-P.



Translator’s Note

Number 34 
In the Restaurant 

Of the Christening Basin, and of Grandfather in His Twofold Guise
At Tienappels’, and of Young Hans’s Moral State

Drawing the Veil
Banter. Viaticum. Interrupted Mirth
Mental Gymnastic
A Word Too Much
Of Course, A Female!
Herr Albin
Satana Makes Proposals That Touch Our Honour

Necessary Purchases
Excursus on the Sense of Time
He Practises His French
Politically Suspect
Doubts and Considerations
Table-TalkMounting Misgivings. Of the Two Grandfathers, and the Boat-ride in the Twilight
The Thermometer

Sudden Enlightenment
Whims of Mercurius
The Dance of Death

A New-Comer
Of the City of God, and Deliverance by Evil
Choler. And Worse
An Attack, and a Repulse
Operationes Spirituales
A Soldier, and Brave

By the Ocean of Time
Mynheer Peeperkorn
Vingt Et Un
Mynheer Peeperkorn (Continued)
Mynheer Peeperkorn (Conclusion)
The Great God Dumps
Fullness of Harmony
Highly Questionable
Hysterica Passio
The Thunderbolt
Author’s Note
About the Author


THE STORY of Hans Castorp, which we would here set forth, not on his own account, for in him the reader will make acquaintance with a simple-minded though pleasing young man, but for the sake of the story itself, which seems to us highly worth telling—though it must needs be borne in mind, in Hans Castorp’s behalf, that it is his story, and not every story happens to everybody—this story, we say, belongs to the long ago; is already, so to speak, covered with historic mould, and unquestionably to be presented in the tense best suited to a narrative out of the depth or the past.
That should be no drawback to a story, but rather the reverse. Since histories must be in the past, then the more past the better, it would seem, for them in their character as histories, and for him, the teller of them, rounding wizard of times gone by. With this story, moreover, it stands as it does to-day with human beings, not least among them writers of tales: it is far older than its years; its age may not be measured by length of days, nor the weight of time on its head reckoned by the rising or setting of suns. In a word, the degree of its antiquity has noways to do with the passage of time—in which statement the author intentionally touches upon the strange and questionable double nature of that riddling element.
But we would not wilfully obscure a plain matter. The exaggerated pastness of our narrative is due to its taking place before the epoch when a certain crisis shattered its way through life and consciousness and left a deep chasm behind. It takes place—or, rather, deliberately to avoid the present tense, it took place, and had taken place—in the long ago, in the old days, the days of the world before the Great War, in the beginning of which so much began that has scarcely yet left off beginning. Yes, it took place before that; yet not so long before. Is not the pastness of the past the profounder, the completer, the more legendary, the more immediately before the present it falls? More than that, our story has, of its own nature, something of the legend about it now and again.
We shall tell it at length, thoroughly, in detail—for when did a narrative seem too long or too short by reason of the actual time or space it took up? We do not fear being called meticulous, inclining as we do to the view that only the exhaustive can be truly interesting.
Not all in a minute, then, will the narrator be finished with the story of our Hans. The seven days of a week will not suffice, no, nor seven months either. Best not too soon make too plain how much mortal time must pass over his head while he sits spun round in his spell. Heaven forbid it should be seven years! And now we begin.


AN UNASSUMING young man was travelling, in midsummer, from his native city of Hamburg to Davos-Platz in the Canton of the Grisons, on a three weeks’ visit. From Hamburg to Davos is a long journey—too long, indeed, for so brief a stay. It crosses all sorts of country; goes up hill and down dale, descends from the plateau of Southern Germany to the shore of Lake Constance, over its bounding waves and on across marshes once thought to be bottomless.
At this point the route, which has been so far over trunk-lines, gets cut up. There are stops and formalities. At Rorschach, in Swiss territory, you take train again, but only as far as Landquart, a small Alpine station, where you have to change. Here, after a long and windy wait in a spot devoid of charm, you mount a narrow-gauge train; and as the small but very powerful engine gets under way, there begins the thrilling part of the journey, a steep and steady climb that seems never to come to an end. For the station of Landquart lies at a relatively low altitude, but now the wild and rocky route pushes grimly onward into the Alps themselves.
Hans Castorp—such was the young man’s name—sat alone in his little greyupholstered compartment, with his alligator-skin hand-bag, a present from his uncle and guardian, Consul Tienappel—let us get the introductions over with at once—his travelling-rug, and his winter overcoat swinging on its hook. The window was down, the afternoon grew cool, and he, a tender product of the sheltered life, had turned up the collar of his fashionably cut, silk-lined summer overcoat. Near him on the seat lay a paper-bound volume entitled
Ocean Steamships;
earlier in the journey he had studied it off and on, but now it lay neglected, and the breath of the panting engine, streaming in, defiled its cover with particles of soot.
Two days’ travel separated the youth—he was still too young to have thrust his roots down firmly into life—from his own world, from all that he thought of as his own duties, interests, cares and prospects; far more than he had dreamed it would when he sat in the carriage on the way to the station. Space, rolling and revolving between him and his native heath, possessed and wielded the powers we generally ascribe to time. From hour to hour it worked changes in him, like to those wrought by time, yet in a way even more striking. Space, like time, engenders forgetfulness; but it does so by setting us bodily free from our surroundings and giving us back our primitive, unattached state. Yes, it can even, in the twinkling of an eye, make something like a vagabond of the pedant and Philistine. Time, we say, is Lethe; but change of air is a similar draught, and, if it works less thoroughly, does so more quickly.
BOOK: The Magic Mountain
13.14Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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