Thomas Mann & The Magic Mountain

The birth of the Magic Mountain

In his time, Thomas Mann wrote numerous novels and won the Nobel Prize for Literature. One of the more significant novels from his collection is "The Magic Mountain". A story set at the time of tuberculosis in Davos. Experienced from close at hand.

Dr. Karl Turban founded the first closed tuberculosis sanatorium at high altitude in Davos (1889). He implemented strict discipline for the patients, with a regulated daily routine. The basis for his recovery treatments was the open-air recuperation spa, which patients were required to attend daily on the large terraces of the sanitorium in all weathers, during both summer and winter. The treatments were a success and increased the popularity and renown of Davos as a spa town.

Hans Castorp, the leading character in Thomas Mann's novel "The Magic Mountain", is essentially completely healthy. He visits his cousin, who is being treated in a Davos sanitorium due to symptoms of tuberculosis. Castorp - fascinated by life in the sanitorium - defines the image of the sick guests anew. As he sees it, the illness enriches the people. In contrast, healthy people are merely shallow-minded. For Castorp, life in the sanitorium becomes the measure of all things...

World literature and the nobel prize

The novel "The Magic Mountain" became a piece of global literature. Thomas Mann gained the inspiration for the story from his own stay in Davos. His wife, Katia was suffering from tuberculosis and travelled to the recuperation spa at the woodland sanitorium Davos. This afforded Thomas Mann extensive first-hand information on life in the sanitorium. Five years after the novel was published, the author received the Nobel Prize for Literature in Sweden, rendering his entire works immortal. Just as Thomas Mann supposedly predicted in the speech at his 50th birthday party: "If I have one wish for the posthumous fame of my work, it is let it be said that it encaptures a zest for life, even though it was the product of death."

Hotel Schatzalp and Thomas-Mann-Way

On the Schatzalp, where readers of Thomas Mann's best-selling novel will find the magic mountain, the ambience, the attitude to life amidst pure art nouveau architecture, remains as it was almost 100 years ago. The architecture of the sanitorium remains unchanged. The terraces, where once the sanitorium patients recuperated from their tuberculosis, serve today as sunbathing spots for the hotel guests. To commemorate Thomas Mann, a path has been created in his name, running from the Waldhotel Davos onto the Schatzalp.

Waldhotel Davos

The Waldhotel Davos operated as a woodland sanitorium until 1957. Katia Mann was one of the first patients to receive treatment at the woodland sanitorium, which opened in 1911. She recuperated from catarrh on the apex of the lungs here. When her husband, Thomas Mann, visited here in spring 1912 he was inspired to write his famous novel "The Magic Mountain". Due to his impressions and based on letters that his wife had written to him from the sanitorium, he wrote his novel between 1913 and 1915 and, following a number of years break from its writing, completed the work in 1924.

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