Friday, December 11, 2020

On not finishing "Der Zauberberg", by Thomas Mann

When I was a Comparative Literature graduate student at Penn, I took a seminar on Thomas Mann with Horst Daemmrich. After reading "Tonio Kröger" and "Tod in Venedig", I had an idea for a paper, so I met with him to discuss it. On hearing my idea, he asked me if I was reading "Der Zauberberg", the next text on the syllabus. I said I was – and surprisingly, he said I should put it aside and concentrate on "Doktor Faustus", which would be perfect for developing my ideas. It was indeed perfect for my paper on "The Dance of Distance" – but thirty years on, I still have never finished "Der Zauberberg." (Andrew Shields, #111words, 11 December)

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