Wednesday, November 23, 2011

MM Part 7: Mijnheer Peeperkorn ( continued )

This chapter announces a “quite memorable excursion” ( including Naphta + Settembrini ) to the Fluela waterfall near Davos. This excursion coincides with Peeperkorn “departing”. The narrator is very mysterious about the way Peeperkorn departs. He doesn’t die like Ziemmsen, that at least is sure.

The narrator is also worried about time speeding past. The hour hand turns at speed of seconds, a time experience of opium or hash-addicts. The narrator fears the censor…

Hermetic pedagogy ? in what sense? Obscure? Esoteric?

HC does not see Peeperkorn as a rival and maybe this annoys Clawdia.

HC visits P in his room. It is a luxury room adjoining Clavdia’s room. P is very ill. He has malaria and takes Quinine drinks as a cure.

Clawdia is present in the room (to make sure HC will not divulge their tryst to Peeperkorn?)

See Peeperkorn imagery

regal head
lance-nailed captain’s hand
dancing heathen priest

Fingers forming the ring of perfection and the three “finger lance” pointing upwards.
Peeperkorn gives a dissertation on poison, he knows all about it and seems to be fascinated by it’s killing properties.

HC introduces everybody to everybody, well aware of the differences between his many pedagogues and friens. It is an expression of his “life – affirming” nature, everything is worth listening too.

Important enough to notice is that for both Naphta and Settembrini, as for all pedagogues , women are a disruptive and distracting element. A silent primal hostility unites both men against “La Clawdia”

Peeperkorn walking reminds HC of the steps of a senile old man rather than a king. Peeperkorn the wounded king, the fisher king ? Did Mann see Wagner’s Parsifal ?

It is rather comical to picture Naphta and Settembrini overwhelmed by the presence and personality of Peeperkorn. HC is not taking sides.

Settembrini accuses Hans of worshipping Peeperkorn’s “personality” as an idol. You are venerating a mask, you are in danger of idol – worship. You see something mystical where there is only mystification…You should be ashamed of yourself …

Mundus vult decipi…Petronius: “Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur” "The world wants to be deceived, so let it be deceived."

See also Marcus Varro: “there are many truths, which it is useless for the vulgar to know; and many falsities which it is fit the people should not suppose are falsities”. 

Settembrini is still jealous: “ … your weakness for things Asian is well known…I cannot treat you to such wonders”

And showing his Latin temperament

“your businesslike composure borders on the grotesque”

Settembroni accuses HC of unmanliness in his acceptance of Peeperkorn, his rival for Beatrice
Funny because Settembrini is aware that he has to be silent about the themes of jealousy and acceptance of rivals. He too did not show any “manly” bravery.

Interesting is how the “presence” of Peeperkorn puts in the shadow all rational; intellectual arguments. Whatever S and N discuss about, people await the stuttering reaction of Peeperkorn. Here is a “presence”, people will flock to, against all intellectual presentiments and ego’s. Is this the secret of the initial populist success of Hitler, Il Duce and Stalin. 

Again a long argument between N and S is developed. Is anybody, characters and readers alike still following these discussions?

Peeperkorn interrupts the discussions and commands his companions to notice the “taste” and the “smell” of the crisp mountain air. They do. Then he spots the regal eagle. Peeperkorn for a moment is the Zeus, the god of the sky, lord of Mount Olympus. Is his raised sharp fingernail, lightning ready to strike?

The chapter finishes with two anecdotes.

1° Clawdia approaches Hans mimicking his first approach of Hippe.” Do you have a poststamp. They have a long and deep “lovers” discussion. Despite her attitude, she gives the impression to be in need of a friend. There are hints at the impotence of Peeperkorn and he is illness. Is Clawdia approaching Hans, a sign of the end of Peeperkorn. 
This discussion is ended with a kiss on the lips. A Russian kiss.

Clawdia does not accept the claim that HC staid on the mountain for her. She will not be responsible for his waste of time. We agree, it is Hans folly.

Clawdia speaks with premonition: “Germans will one day be the enemy of humankind, because they are so repulsively egoistic”. The Magic Mountain was written in 1924.

2° The second scene takes place in Peeperkorn’s room where the old Man wants to know the true feeling and relation between Hans and Clawdia. HC is afraid, clumsily confesses. Wine is spilled like blood, there are even some words about a duel, but in the end P and HC close a bond of brotherhood. Peeperkorn has assigned HC as his successor?