Climbing The Magic Mountain

the magic mountain
Caspar David Friedrich

Reading works in translation is like seeing your love five years after you’ve gotten over her. It’s still nice to see her, you still know her soul, but it’s not the same. All I can say is thank god I can read Shakespeare in the original.

I’m reading The Magic Mountain  by Thomas Mann. It’s great, it’s so stoic, so phlegmatic, so German. It makes me want to go to Greece and live in the mountains. I will meet people and I will say “Yia Sas” and they will be impressed with my politeness and invite me into their small huts. I will convey to them by hand signal that I am traveling to Germany, that I am an American and that I am very grateful that they have offered me a warm fire and a traditional stifado (lamb stew).

And in the pearlescent morning I will head north to the hyperborean climes and do the same thing again in Serbia on my way to Belgrade, and onwards. And my beard will be long and my eyes will be fierce and gray and grateful. People will feel my good nature and take me up on my offer to help them in their daily chores in exchange for food.

By the time I reach Germany I’ll be reading Faust in the German. I hope.

By Daniel Ryan Adler

Daniel Adler writes fiction and nonfiction and is finishing his MFA at University of South Carolina.


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