Saturday, October 9, 2010

Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain: "Herr Albin", "Satana Makes Proposals That Touch Our Honor"

Herr Albin makes a show of shocking the women with suggestions of suicide during laying-in.

80: "[I]n effect it seemed to him that, though honour might possess certain advantages, yet shame had others, and not inferior: advantages, even, that were well-nigh boundless in their scope. He tried to put himself in Herr Albin's place and see how it must feel to be finally relieved of the burden of a respectable life and made free of the infinite realms of shame; and the young man shuddered at the wild wave of sweetness which swept over him at the thought and drove on his labouring heart to an even quicker pace."

At dinner, Frau Stohr claims to know how to prepare 28 different sauces for fish.

Settembrini and Castorp converse at the after-dinner reception. Castorp babbles about Frau Stohr's sauces and his first impression of Settembrini as an organ-grinder. Settembrini sizes up Castorp's physical, mental, and moral fragility, and urges him to leave right away (an action which Castorp had earlier suggested he might have to take to Ziemssen). Castorp rejects this out of hand -- and perhaps not coincidentally is trying at the same time to recall what Madame Chauchat reminds him of.

Insight from the night's dreams. The silent sister -- a thermometer without it's own numbered scale -- as a metaphor for time. Hans remembers what Madame Chauchat reminds him of (although we don't yet find out).

Hans ends up dreaming about kissing Madame Chauchat's hand. 92: "And at that there swept over him anew, from head to foot, the feeling of reckless sweetness he had felt for the first time when he tried to imagine himself free of the burden of a good name, and tasted the boundless joys of shame. This feeling he experienced anew in his dream, only a thousandfold stronger than in his waking hour."

This concludes ten chapters devoted to a single day.

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