MANN, Thomas. Der Zauberberg [The Magic Mountain].

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MANN, Thomas. Der Zauberberg [The Magic Mountain]. London: Martin Secker, 1927.

8vo., 2 vols; original green publisher's boards ruled in blind, lettered in gilt to upper board and backstrips; housed in both the printed dust jackets (ruled in black, black and orange lettering); and the original slipcase with printed paper label to spine; pp. [x], xi, [iii], 3-434; [viii], 437-900, [ii]; very bright copies, spine tips touched by sun, the jackets priced 18/ to the backstrips, also very good, aside from some browning and chipping at head; a couple of light stains to the folds; slipcase rubbed, worn and at some point expertly reinforced.
First UK edition of Mann's masterpiece, translated by H. T. Lowe-Porter. One of the greatest novels of the 20th century, it was the principal work for which Mann was awarded the Nobel Prize.
The Magic Mountain was first published in German in 1924, although Mann had begun writing early drafts of the manuscript over ten years earlier in 1912, while his wife was recuperating from a respiratory disease in the Swiss alps. Interrupted by the outbreak of the First World War, Mann went through many iterations of the book, which initially took the form of a pro-German exposition, but later changed to reflect the conflict of political ideas between him and his brother Heinrich. In the central plot, the protagonist Hans Castorp pays a visit to his cousin who is residing in a sanatorium in Davos. The work centres around themes of mortality, health, sexuality and questions about life in general. Strongly inspired by the works of Freidrich Nietzsche, Mann stated in The Atlantic in January 1953 that "what [Hans] came to understand is that one must go through the deep experience of sickness and death to arrive at a higher sanity and health...".
The translator Helen Tracy Lowe-Porter (1876-1963) played a pivotal role in bringing Mann's works to the English-speaking audience. Granted the sole rights to translate Mann's works into English by Alfred A. Knopf, she was responsible for translating nearly all of his works, and these translations significantly contributed to the success of Mann's oeuvre, which culminated in his receipt of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1929. Of her translation of Der Zauberberg (The Magic Mountain), she later wrote:
"[T]he violet has to be cast into the crucible, the organic work of art to be remoulded in another tongue.... [S]ince in the creative act word and thought are indivisible, the task was seen to be one before which artists shrink and logical minds recoil."
A fantastic copy of the first English edition, seldom found in such condition.