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Vision Blurred: Mann’s The Magic Mountain

  • Konstantin Kolenda

Abstract

Thomas Mann wrote this novel at a time when Europe was in the throes of a deep crisis. The crisis was multiple: political, cultural, spiritual. The novel was conceived two years before the First World War began and was completed a dozen years later, appearing in 1924. The original idea was to write a light-hearted counterpart of Death in Venice, but what eventually resulted was a weighty tome dealing with the profound changes which not only Europe but the whole of Western civilisation was undergoing during these fateful years. The novel is a record of what was coming to an end, and projects a glance, an anxiously prophetic glance, into the future. One might describe that record by borrowing a term Mann used to describe the favoured activity of his hero, Hans Castorp: ‘stock-taking’. The author, along with his hero, takes stock of what was going on around Hans, as German, a European, a son of the West. The occasion for such an activity was not only propitious: to a person who saw signs of a convulsive, earth-shaking transformation, it was unavoidable.

Keywords

Western Civilisation Rheumatic Fever International Brotherhood Vision Blur Political Progress 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Konstantin Kolenda 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Konstantin Kolenda
    • 1
  1. 1.Rice UniversityUSA

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