The Magic Mountain (Woods translation)

The Magic Mountain (Woods translation)

3.9 16
by Thomas Mann
     
 

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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 1914 was already exhibiting the first symptoms of its own terminal irrationality. The Magic Mountain is a monumental work of erudition and irony, sexual tension and intellectual

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Overview

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 1914 was already exhibiting the first symptoms of its own terminal irrationality. The Magic Mountain is a monumental work of erudition and irony, sexual tension and intellectual ferment, a book that pulses with life in the midst of death.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“All the characters in Thomas Mann’s masterpiece come considerably closer to speaking English in John E. Woods’s version . . . Woods captures perfectly the irony and humor.” –New York Times Book Review

“[Woods’s translation] succeeds in capturing the beautiful cadence of [Mann’s] ironically elegant prose.” –Washington Post Book World

“[The Magic Mountain] is one of those works that changed the shape and possibilities of European literature. It is a masterwork, unlike any other. It is also, if we learn to read it on its own terms, a delight, comic and profound, a new form of language, a new way of seeing.” –from the new Introduction by A. S. Byatt

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
New translation of Mann's classic novel. (Nov.)
Library Journal
One of the most influential and celebrated German works of the 20th century has been newly rendered in English by Woods, twice winner of the PEN Translation Prize. First published in 1929, Mann's novel tells the story of Hans Castorp, a modern everyman who spends seven years in an Alpine sanatorium for tuberculosis patients, finally leaving to become a soldier in World War I. Isolated from the concerns of the everyday world, he is exposed to the wide range of ideas that shaped a world on the verge of explosion. Considering what was to follow, the most poignant moment comes when Naphta, a Jewish-born Jesuit, defends the use of terror and the taking of life for the sake of an all-encompassing idea. Woods's work reads more naturally than the original translation, which, while faithful to the German, was stiff and forbidding. A necessary addition to any fiction collection.-Michael T. O'Pecko, Towson State Univ., Md.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780679772873
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/28/1996
Series:
Vintage International Series
Edition description:
1 VINTAGE
Pages:
720
Sales rank:
106,749
Product dimensions:
5.19(w) x 7.99(h) x 1.22(d)
Lexile:
1350L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

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The Magic Mountain 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although not the easiest of reading it is a fine book with several themes, Time being one of them. However, I cannot recommend the Woods translation. The purpose of Woods' interpretation is a mystery to me. It's lost all the depth and richness in this slaughtered version. The best translation is by H.T. Lowe-Porter.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a dense read. Yet, it is rewarding. Like all great literature, one can relate it to events in his life. It is tragic, but uplifting at the same time. The author wanted the book to be read twice for full effect. I'm only going to climb this mountain once, but I don't regret the journey as the views from the top are beautiful.
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PBrant More than 1 year ago
The German author Thomas Mann had the luck, not of the Irish, but of the novice. His social novel "Buddenbrooks", his first one, became a world bestseller, and literally made his name. First published in 1901, the novel became his best-known work until "The Magic Mountain" appeared in 1924 (n the USA, 1927). Inbetween he published a number of stories and lesser novels, such as "Royal Highness." With "The Magic Mountain," though, Mann undertook a much more expansive and philosophical turn. His novel of the lives of tuberculosis patients in a Swiss alpine sanatorium involved a large cast of characters and a tragic tone. The tragedy not only lay in the patients' illness but in the misguided treatment of their diesease. For sending them to a high altitude sanatorium to be treated was more or less sealing their fate. The altitude debilitated them, and led to their death. The "cure" was fatal. However, the novel is not one of unrelieved gloom, but a portrait of member of pre-World War I society. Indeed, the story is somewhat derailed by some philosophical chapters, that have little to do with the plot. Nevertheless, the narrative is gripping and contains a great deal of moving events about the fates of the patients. All in all, "The Magic Mountain" leaves one touched by the sad fates of those afflicted by a disease that been the subject of many a 19th century novel: tuberculosis. In this novel they belong to a community of sufferers, who nevertheless face their desitny with a good deal of courage.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This 20th century masterpiece is usually billed as an intellectual microcosm of Europe on the brink of World War I. While true the real importance of this work, for me at least, is as a guide to individual spiritual growth. This is a book about myth, a myth thousands of years old that persistently keeps cropping up in the West it is a myth that wears many masks. It is the story of Osirus, Ulysses, Orestes, the Buddha, Jesus, Parzival, and, the unlikely hero of this work, Hans Castorp. It is also about you and me. It is about the journey of an individual soul and its struggle to realize itself, to become what it is destined to become. I,ve read this book four times already and continue to discover something I missed in the previous read. It has shown me that I'm living a myth, that I have gone, and am going, on Hans' path. Join him on his seven-year excursion in a posh Swiss sanitorium. I,ve studied the original German version in graduate school and read the H.T. Lowe-Porter translation. The current translation by John Woods deservedly supercedes Ms. Porter's efforts. Thomas Mann privately thought her translations of his works were never quite adequate enough. Read, you won't be sorry.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Magnum Opus of perhaps the greatest 20th century author. How an 'ordinary' German youth in pre-Great War Germany really 'expands his mind' in a TB sanitorium.Vivid eccentric characters,medicine,philosophy,politics,the weather,woman,friendship,read it.It's worth every page,and your own mind will be seriously enlarged when you're through!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Probably one of the most beautiful books ever written about order and decay where the protagonist is in a permanent conflict between the sympathy with death and the acceptance of life. However, Mann never got the Nobel Prize for The Magic Mountain. That was awarded for his first novel Buddenbrooks. It's a pity that the synopsis on this site gives away what happens to Castorp in the end.