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The Magic Mountain (Woods translation)

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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.

Awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. The story of...

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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.

Awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. The story of a simple minded young man in the years before the Grear War.

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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

From the Hardcover edition.

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.
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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: 217,898
  • Lexile: 1350L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.15 (w) x 7.98 (h) x 1.28 (d)

Meet the Author

The Modern Library has played a significant role in American cultural life for the better part of a century. The series was founded in 1917 by the publishers Boni and Liveright and eight years later acquired by Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer. It provided the foundation for their next publishing venture, Random House. The Modern Library has been a staple of the American book trade, providing readers with affordable hardbound editions of important works of literature and thought. For the Modern Library's seventy-fifth anniversary, Random House redesigned the series, restoring as its emblem the running torch-bearer created by Lucian Bernhard in 1925 and refurbishing jackets, bindings, and type, as well as inaugurating a new program of selecting titles. The Modern Library continues to provide the world's best books, at the best prices.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 16 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2007

    A Timeless Myth Made Timely

    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.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2012

    Difficult but rewarding

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2004

    Great book but wrong translater

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 15, 2010

    The Magic Mountain's Death Watch

    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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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2001

    Absolute timeless masterpiece

    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!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2000

    Decay

    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.

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