Author: Paul Thomas Mann
Dates: 6 June 1875 – 12 August 1955
Title of Book: The Magic Mountain
At this point the route, which has been so far over trunk-lines, gets cut up. There are stops and formalities. At Rorschach, in Swiss territory, you take the train again, but only as far as Landquart, a small Alpine station, where you have to change. Here, after a long and windy wait in a spot devoid of charm, you mount a narrow-gauge train; and as the small but powerful engine gets under way, there begins the thrilling part of the journey, a steep and steady climb that seems never to come to an end. For the station of Landquart lies at a relatively low altitude, but no the wild and rocky route pushes grimly onward into the Alps themselves.
Hans Castorp – such was the young man’s name – sat alone in his little grey-upholstered compartment, with his alligator-skin hand-bag, a present from his uncle and guardian, Consul Tienappel – let us get the introductions over with at once – his travelling-rug, and his winter overcoat swinging on its hook. The window was down, the afternoon grew cool, and he, a tender product of the sheltered life, had turned up the collar of his fashionably cut, silk-lined summer overcoat. Near him on the seat lay a paper-bound volume entitled Ocean Steamships; earlier in the journey he had studied it off and on, but now it lay neglected, and the breath of the panting engine, streaming in, defiled its cover with particles of soot.
Brief Biography: Mann was a writer and social critic. He novels were highly symbolic and ironic epics noted for their insight into the psychology of the artist and intellectual. Mann was the 1929 Nobel laureate.