Sunday, September 14, 2008

Hans Castorp Returns to Kathmandu

Two days' travel separated the youth... from his own world, from all that he thought of his duties, interests, cares and prospects; far more than he had dreamed it would when he sat in the carriage on the way to the station. Space rolling and revolving between him and his native heath, possessed and wielded the powers we generally ascribe to time.

From hour to hour it worked changes in him, like to those wrought by time, yet in a way even more striking.

Space, like time, engenders forgetfulness; but it does so by setting us free from our bodily surroundings and giving us back our primitive, unattached state. Yes, it can even, in the twinkling of an eye, make something like a vagabond of the pedant and Philistine.

Time, we say, is Lethe; but change of air is a similar draught, and, if it works less thoroughly, does so more quickly.

'The Magic Mountain'
Thomas Mann

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