Narrative Medicine Book Club: Magic Mountain, Week 11

Week 11: I may need someone to explain this week’s pages to me! Castorp and his cousin listen, in two different scenes, to discourse between Settembrini and his new housemate, Naphta, who, we learn late in these pages, is (gasp!) a Jesuit. The two men speak at length of lofty concepts, arguing about freedom, humanism, dualism, Man and Nature, communism, capitalism, the polarity of God. I admit my attention flagged in these pages, and then I had to laugh when Castorp says: “I was paying attention, but none of it was clear. Instead, the more they talked the more confused I got.” Looking forward to the historians and philosophers among you explaining all of this to me! Meanwhile, time on the mountain continues, and Castorp’s enthusiasm for learning everything never flags…

For next week: read to section “Operationes Spirituales” in Chapter 6