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"Most Dubious": Myth, the Occult, and Politics in the "Zauberberg"

John S. King
Monatshefte
Vol. 88, No. 2 (Summer, 1996), pp. 217-236
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30153522
Page Count: 20
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"Most Dubious": Myth, the Occult, and Politics in the "Zauberberg"
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Abstract

While scholars have written about the significance of the chapters "Der große Stumpfsinn," "Fülle des Wohllauts," "Die große Gereiztheit," and "Donnerschlag" as reflections of Germany's history at the beginning of the century, they have not devoted the same attention to "Fragwürdigstes," even though it falls in the middle of these chapters at the end of Thomas Mann's novel. The essay argues that an understanding of this chapter is essential to an understanding of the novel's conclusion. In "Fragwürdigstes," Mann establishes the connections among myth, the occult, and politics in the volatile Germany of the inter-war years. Understanding Mann's own relationships to the writings of Alfred Rosenberg and to seances he attended in 1922-23 helps elucidate these connections-connections which in turn are key to understanding why Hans Castorp's devotion to romantic music inevitably leads him to the catastrophe of 1914. "Fragwürdigstes" thus forms an integrated unit with the other four chapters which is both an analysis of the past and a warning about the future.

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