THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN by Thomas Mann

THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN

KIRKUS REVIEW

A new translation of Mann's great 1924 novel, long acclaimed as a masterly synthesis of the intellectual history of early 20th-century Europe and for its prescient scrutiny of elements in the German national character that had, and would again, find expression in the calamitous form of the world war.

Helen T. Lowe-Porter's original (1927) English version rendered with exemplary elegance the sonorous gravity of Mann's prose. This new one from Woods, twice the winner of PEN's Translation Prize, brilliantly showcases the tartness of the sophisticated characters' argumentative exchanges, but so emphasizes the amused judgmental irony of the novel's ever-present omniscient narrator that excessive attention is inadvertently focused on Mann's least attractive quality as a writer: his jocose, avuncular condescension.

For all that, it's important to have a contemporary updating of a classic novel, and for its clarity and syntactical vigor alone, Woods' new translation may be considered an impressive success.

Pub Date: Aug. 10th, 1995
ISBN: 0-679-44183-2
Page count: 700pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1995




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