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DOI 10.12887/34-2021-4-136-11

Ireneusz ZIEMIŃSKI, Hans Castorp in the Trenches

Cena brutto: 7,00 PLN za szt.

The article explores the motivations behind the decision of Hans Castorp, the protagonist of The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann, to join the army and go to the front as a volunteer. Among the main reasons for Castrop’s resolve were neither military ideals (such as heroism, courage or honor), nor a nationalist outlook or the euphoria about the war sweeping over Europe in 1914. As a matter of fact, Castorp was a moderate pacifist committed to the ideals of humanism rather than to nationalist traditions. He went to war due to his inertia, having yielded to the course of events. By his decision, he by no means wished to accomplish lofty ideals; rather, he wanted to experience a new adventure: he was guided by a motivation similar to the one behind his seven-year-long stay at the sanatorium for patients suffering from tuberculosis. However, the realities of war turned out horrifying. Instead of embarking on an adventure, Castorp became witness to mass slaughter, his own life constantly in danger. Therefore, the question whether “Love one day shall mount,” which Mann poses at the end of his novel, must be answered in the negative: war is by no means creation; rather, it is destruction.

Keywords: Thomas Mann, Hans Castorp, war, nationalism, literature

Contact: Zakład Filozofii Współczesnej, Instytut Filozofii i Kognitywistyki, Wydział Humanistyczny, Uniwersytet Szczeciński, ul. Krakowska 71/79, 71-017 Szczecin, Poland
E-mail: Ireneusz.Zieminski@univ.szczecin.pl
ORCID: 0000-0003-4686-8625

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  1. ISSN 0860-8024
  2. e-ISSN 2720-5355
  3. The Republic of Poland Ministry of Science and Higher Education Value: 100.00
  4. Quarterly “Ethos” is indexed by the following databases: EBSCO, CEEOL, Index Copernicus (ICV 2017: 55.26), Philosopher’s Index, ERIH Plus.
  5. DOI Prefix 10.12887