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Title: "Der Zauberberg" and the pleasures of immersive reading
Author: Watroba, Karolina
ISNI:       0000 0004 8503 2780
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2019
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This is the first study of "Der Zauberberg" written from the perspective of its non-academic readers. It will be of interest to scholars of Thomas Mann, transnational German studies, comparative literature, and reception studies. Starting from the observation that literary scholarship almost never engages with the experience of non-academic readers, I argue that this is a serious limitation, since our very rationale for studying books is that they belong to human culture and matter to their readers. This is a particularly pressing problem for the study of "Der Zauberberg" because the novel portrays Hans Castorp's gradual immersion in culture: in other words, it thematizes the very process of reading, reception, and the value and relevance of culture. In this study, I discuss hundreds of records of reading experiences - preserved in parentheses and asides and between the lines of traditional academic studies, on Internet fora and blogs, in reviews, essays and memoirs, marketing brochures from Davos and advertizing copy used to sell the novel, Mann's fan mail and his replies to it, and in books and films, whether popular, famous or half-forgotten. The reading records that I have brought together span the century since the novel's publication, as well as numerous languages and several continents, and testify to an energetic confrontation with "Der Zauberberg" outside the ivory tower of academia. Using the common metaphor of immersion in a book, I discuss different examples of how and why non-academic readers have engaged with the novel and what it has meant to them, and what academic readers have missed by not attending to this wealth of untapped material. Through case studies of different responses to "Der Zauberberg", I ask what it means to interact with culture, and argue that this is precisely what the novel is all about.
Supervisor: Morgan, Ben Sponsor: Clarendon Fund
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Comparative Literature ; German literature ; The Magic Mountain ; Der Zauberberg ; Reception ; Thomas Mann