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"Getting Used to Not Getting Used to It": Nietzsche in The Magic Mountain

From: Philosophy and Literature
Volume 5, Number 1, Spring 1981
pp. 73-90 | 10.1353/phl.1981.0027

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The view presented here is deeply indebted to Walter Kaufmann, who, over the span of thirty years, created a picture of Nietzsche which, unlike those it has replaced, can be found accurately and without embarrassment reflected in Mann's novel. To thank him for his picture, this essay was to make to him a gift of its reflection. It is now dedicated to his memory.

1. R. A. Nicholls, "Nietzsche in the Early Works of Thomas Mann," University of California Publications in Modern Philology 45 (1955): 6.

2. A recent discussion of Mann's play on the number seven in The Magic Mountain can be found in Theodore Ziolkowski, Dimensions of the Modern Novel (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1969), pp. 83-84; and also Charles Neider, "The Artist as Bourgeois," in The Stature of Thomas Mann, ed. Charles Neider (New York: New Dimensions, 1947), referred to in Ziolkowski, n. 27.

3. Betrachtungen Eines Unpolitischen (Berlin: S. Fischer Verlag, 1922), p. 491.

4. A very sophisticated exposition of this approach can be found in Walter Weiss, Thomas Manns Kunst der sprachlichen und thematischen Integration, Hefte zur Zeitschrift Wirkendes Wort, 13 (Düsseldorf: Schwann, 1964).

5. See Hermann J. Weigand, The Magic Mountain: A Study of Thomas Mann's Novel Der Zauberberg (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1965), pp. 119ff.; and Ziolkowski, p. 71.

6. See Joseph Gerard Brennan, Three Philosophical Novelists (New York: Macmillan, 1964), p. 125.

7. See Ziolkowski, p. 73; and R. J. Hollingdale, Thomas Mann: A Critical Study (Lewisburg, Pa.: Bucknell University Press, 1971), pp. 37-39. Though Hollingdale argues for Nietzsche's influence on The Magic Mountain, he seems to accept without reservation this dualistic interpretation of the novel.

8. Page references in the text are to The Magic Mountain, trans. H. T. Lowe-Porter (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1939). When it becomes necessary to refer to the original text, Der Zauberberg, two vols. (Stockholm: Berman-Fischer Verlag, 1943), the page reference will be preceded by the specification of the volume in question.

9. Erich Heller, "Conversation on The Magic Mountain," in Thomas Mann: A Collection of Critical Essays, ed. Henry Hatfield (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1964), pp. 90-91.

10. Alan D. Latta, "Symbolic Structure: Toward an Understanding of the Structure of Thomas Mann's Zauberberg," Germanic Review 50 (1975): 39-40. Latta's essay represents a major attempt to provide a more complicated model for the interrelations of the main characters of this novel.

11. See Henry Hatfield, From The Magic Mountain: Mann's Later Masterpieces (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1979), pp. 48-49.

12. Hollingdale, p. 31.

13. Hatfield, p. 54. Hatfield also thinks that, with the exception of Behrens and Peeperkorn, "most of these have a basic 'set' or tendency of character."

14. Beyond Good and Evil, sec. 2, quoted from Basic Writings of Nietzsche, ed. and trans. Walter Kaufmann (New York: Random House, 1968), p. 200.

15. The Gay Science, sec. 210, trans. Walter Kaufmann (New York: Vintage, 1974), p. 208.

16. See Hatfield, p. 47, who, however, sees Settembrini's political inconsistency as his major error.

17. Beyond Good and Evil, sec. 44, p. 244.

18. Hollingdale, p. 29.

19. Ibid.

20. Hollingdale, pp. 30ff.

21. The Gay Science, sec. 11, p. 84.

22. Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Book I, sec. 4, quoted from The Portable Nietzsche, translated and edited by Walter Kaufmann (New York: Viking, 1954), p. 146.

23. Hollingdale, p. 34.

24. The Birth of Tragedy, sec. 8: quoted from Basic Writings of Nietzsche, p. 61.

25. The Twilight of the Idols, "How the 'True World' Finally Became a Fable," quoted from The Portable Nietzsche, p. 486.

26. On The Genealogy of Morals, III, 11; quoted from Basic Writings of Nietzsche, pp. 553-54.

27. Beyond Good and Evil, sec. 230, pp. 351-52.

28. This tendency to consider that the main characters stand for distinct, independent approaches to life has been encouraged by Mann himself. See "The Making of The Magic Mountain," a translation of "Einführung in den Zauberberg. Für Studenten der Universität Princeton," reprinted in the Knopf edition, p. 726 (I, p. xxi).

29. See Latta, p...

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