Narrative Medicine Book Club: Magic Mountain, Week 6

Week 6: Castorp stays in bed for three weeks, “impounded by fate.” Time collapses — “it is always the same day – it just keeps repeating itself … [so] it is surely not correct to speak of ‘repetition.’ One should speak of monotony, of an abiding now, of eternalness.” This description reminded me of the eternal present tense of our recent months in quarantine. Castorp has fully become “one of them,” though as he is “only slightly ill” he is “considered inferior by local standards,” a fascinating clue to the logic of this place, and one Castorp abides by. He and his cousin go and have their X-rays done (the Clavdia obsession deepens!), and Castorp is unnerved both at seeing the “interior” of his cousin’s body and of his own hand, feeling in both cases that it is an encounter with the grave. One aspect surely of what this entire stay in the sanatorium has been? 

For next week: read to the section “Humaniora” in Chapter 5.

And join our zoom meeting next week, July 12th, at 11 am! Go to to register.