Sunday, January 30, 2011

Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain: "Research" and "The Dance of Death"

The onset of winter -- all thoughts on Christmas even six seeks out (a freeness with time that Hans has not quite accustomed himself to yet) -- Hans gains temperature, perhaps because of the exertions of his reading -- how little serious reading is done at the sanatorium, and how time is frittered away -- late nights, reading about the mysteries of life and matter -- an interest in the body which has a barely sublimated sexual context.

I am increasingly left with the impression that Hans is not as dull a lad as the narrator had made out in the beginning.

Christmas season -- Hans proposes to break the embargo on talking about and seeing death and dying -- the idea is met with hostility at dinner -- Hans proceeds with his project, pulling Joachim in his train -- first paying respects to the deceased gentleman rider (who Hans had heard coughing his first day) -- from there Hans makes it his mission to visit the dying -- his motives were not strictly charitable; for he also meant to fight for taking a serious and dignified attitude toward suffering, death,and the pursuit of the cure, much against the prevailing atmosphere -- Popoff's seizure at dinner , and the alarmingly rapid (for Hans) return to normal routine after it -- Leila Gerngross -- Fritz Rotbein, the businessman -- the silly Frau Zimmermann ("Overfilled") -- Settembrini's objection -- Tous-les-deux's son Lauro, who made a show of defying death -- Anton Karlowitz Ferge, the Russo-German insurance man who went through pleura-shock and three-colored fainting; a great storyteller --Frau Mallinckrodt, the spurned adulteress, who like the other women saw Hans' visits through the lens of courtship -- Karen Karstedt, an impecunious girl under Behrens' care who stayed in cheap lodgings in the village -- Hans and Joachim take Karen out for excursions to see the winter sports and the movie theater -- Frau Stoehr insinuates, with some justice, that Hans' attentions to Karen are a sublimation of his desires for Frau Chauchat --In February, Hans and Joachim take Karen, who is near her end, to see the graveyard

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