The Magic Mountain

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by Klara Schubenz

The Magic Mountain (Der Zauberberg) was first published in 1924 , yet Thomas Mann (1875–1955) already began his work on the novel in 1913 . It is the crucial period of World War I that interrupts his work process repeatedly and that leaves traces––not only in the author’s changing political point of view but also in the text itself. Without doubt this very historic constellation lends the novel its “incomparable intellectual vibrancy” and makes it “a chief exhibit in any investigation of German mentalité in the first quarter of the twentieth century.” [1]

Besides inscribing itself into the text in terms of historical background, the time that passes during the novel’s creation process also turns into its very subject; in the end, the text is a narration about the passage of time itself. Thus, The Magic Mountain constitutes a “time novel”[2] in a double sense:

It [The Magic Mountain] is a time-novel [German “Zeitroman”] in two different meanings: first in the historical sense as it attempts to compose the internal picture of an epoch, namely the European prewar-time; second because the pure time itself is its very content, which the novel not only treats as the experience of its protagonist, but also in and through itself.[3]

Mann developed his first ideas for the novel in 1912 when he visited his wife, Katia in Davos, Switzerland; being diagnosed as tubercular, she was sent to a sojourn at a high-altitude sanatorium, the most widely recommended treatment for pulmonary tuberculosis during that time.[4] Mann, therefore, was able to receive a ‘realistic’, first-hand insight into the sanatorium world, and used these impressions and the letters of his wife as models for what was later to become the ‘Berghof’-sanatorium in his novel. Initially planned as the humoristic counterpart to his earlier novella Death in Venice (published in 1912), The Magic Mountain shares its theme of fascination with death and the triumph of chaos over a life devoted to order.[5] Since it was originally conceived as a satirical play, namely a comic or grotesque sequel to that tragic novella, the novel’s tone includes a more humoristic element (at least in the beginning, for the “short story” became “slightly extended” over the years).[6] Like the protagonist of Death in Venice, Hans Castorp, a 23-year-old almost-engineer from Hamburg, goes on a journey: in this case, his purpose is to visit his cousin Joachim Ziemßen in the Swiss sanatorium ‘Berghof.' His intended stay of three weeks, however, turns into a period of seven years, in which he lives among the other patients in the hermetic sphere of the sanatorium with its well-ordered daily routine. After years of non-events, of mere conversations between his two seemingly diametrically opposed pedagogical teachers Ludovico Settembrini and Leo Naphta, after years of observing the theatrical stage of the “Berghof” and its changing international 'comedians,' ultimately our “perfectly ordinary, if engaging young man” (xi) returns from his mountain, briefly before the world is lost to him completely (584): surprisingly, it is in the tumult of the beginning war, “in the rain, in the dusk [where] he disappears from sight” (706).

The ‘satirical’ tone of narration reveals itself particularly in the way the sanatorium-universe is described. Curiously enough, many people seem to become sick during their time at the sanatorium instead of getting better. Moreover, Dr. Behrens alias “Rhadamanthus” (as Settembrini calls him, 59) and his colleague Dr. Krokowski, who rule this house of sick and dying people appear as “judges of the dead,” (61) even in their outer appearance: the former with his protruded watery, bloodshot blue eyes and his purple cheeks (44) and the latter black and pale, broad-shouldered and visible under his two-pronged beard yellowish teeth (188). Diagnosing Hans and almost every other visitor immediately as “totally anemic” (45) they seem to seduce patients into abandoning the healthy and ordinary ‘flatlands’ in order to enter their ‘Underworld’ on top of the mountain, where disease is proudly regarded as a ‘talent’ (171). Yet, exceeding the limits of mere satire, Thomas Mann himself calls his work a novel about the general seductive forces of dissolution and death, which also corresponds to the allusion in the title.[7] It might be read both as a reference to the “Walpurgisnacht” in Goethe’s Faust I with its morbid and sexual excesses (cf. chapter “Walpurgis Night”: “But bear in mind, the mountain’s mad with spells tonight [...]," 319)[8] and as a “discreet nod”[9] to Nietzsche’s idea of destructive Dionysian forces building the roots of the “Olympian magic mountain” in The Birth of Tragedy.[10]

The Magic Mountain – A ‘modernist’ novel?

Although at first glance, The Magic Mountain may not seem as avant-garde as other modernist novels––as for instance Joyce’s Ulysses with its revolutionary new stream-of-consciousness technique––it does belong to what we tentatively and vaguely call ‘literary modernism’ in the first two decades of the twentieth century in Europe.
The term ‘modernism’ generally attempts to label either an artistic device that, due to the crisis of perception, no longer engages in mimetic representation or it denotes a certain thematic engagement with typical ‘modernist’ topics. In both variations it corresponds to the traumatic scientific discoveries around 1900 which led to a deep uncertainty of the subject: If God is dead (Friedrich Nietzsche), if neither time nor space remain as absolute dimensions (Albert Einstein), if the subject is at the mercy of his or her own abysmal unconsciousness (Sigmund Freud) and if techniques of industrial modernization such as gradual acceleration and dissection control the daily life, then art becomes a battlefield where this very ‘metaphysical homelessness’ (as Georg Lukács formulates it in his Theory of the Novel, published in 1916) and the foundations of modern subjectivity can be both reflected and transcended.
The style of narration in The Magic Mountain does indeed evoke the impression of nineteenth century novels, with its omniscient narrator, its linear plot and its precise descriptions (which will, as I will later suggest, proved not to be entirely correct). On the level of the ‘histoire,’ however––which signifies in Gerard Genette’s concept of narratology the level of the content (what is narrated, instead of the ‘discourse’ level: how it is narrated)––it presents several main modernist-topics. First of all, the leitmotif of disease, death and weariness of life reveals a clear affinity to ‘décadence‘-literature. Like the protagonists of the two novels crucial for this epoch, namely À rebours (Joris-Karl Huysmans, 1884) and Il piacere (Gabriel D‘Annunzio, 1889), Hans Castorp represents the last descendant of an ‘endangered’ family; he too is disposed to sickness, dislikes work and shows a ‘slight’ tendency to escape from the productive working life. Instead of retreating into the aesthetic sphere of art, Hans Castorp prefers the hermetic sphere of the Berghof-residence. The story of Hans Castorp’s family––so to speak a novella inside the novel (cf. chapter 2)––is further reminiscent of Buddenbrooks (1901), Thomas Mann’s first famous work about the decay of a family (and one of the reasons for his receipt of the Nobel Prize in 1929). Considering the fact that Mann was temporarily fascinated with Oswald Spengler’s ideas about the decay of modern society (The Decline of the West, first published in 1918), one could certainly also interpret the international ‘dramatis personae’ of the Berghof as a metaphor for the whole of society, if not Europe in its entirety.

Furthermore, the novel can evidently be placed in the intellectual context of psychoanalysis: Dr. Krokowski “dissects the patients’ psyches” (9); Hans Castorp’s dreams are of major importance (cf. chapter “Hippe” and “Snow”) and the opposition of Eros and Tanatos as leading forces in life culminates in the “full, heightened, dazzling nakedness of the splendid limbs of a sick, infected organism” (319): namely Clawdia Chauchat.

The themes of analysis and dissection also manifest themselves in the topic of pictures and photography: in order to exchange souvenirs of each other (as in the case of Hans and Clawdia) or as a form of passport or membership card, the ‘inhabitants’ of the Berghof carry little copies of their pulmonary X-rays in their wallets (238). Just like cinema X-ray provides new possibilities of ‘seeing’ the world. During a visit at the cinema Hans is very fascinated by these “phantoms, whose deeds had been reduced to a million photographs brought into focus for the briefest of moments so that, as often as one liked, they could then be given back to the element of time as a series of blinking flashes.” (311) With the aid of modern technology it suddenly becomes possible to fragment actions into their elements (cinema), or to penetrate matter in order to make something visible that could not be seen before (X-ray). This is also described in the chapter “My God, I See It!”. It seems noteworthy that the description of this procedure at the same time implicates a certain “whiff of spookiness” (216); Hans cannot tell if he was in a photographer’s studio, an inventor’s workshop, or a sorcerer’s laboratory (211). The “exorcism” begins with angry humming, a vibrating floor and a little red light staring at them, “silent and threatening,” while “before it sat Director Behrens astride his footstool––thighs spread wide, fists propped against them, snub nose close to the screen that gave him a view into the organic interior of another human being.” (214) Thus, the technological triumph of modern times appears to be dialectically interwoven with its own opposite: an almost medieval superstition and a sensation of piety cross Hans’ mind as he sees his own skeleton––in other words: “his own grave.” (215) In this sense, the “Mountain” therefore also becomes “Magic,” and Hans truly “like Odysseus in the realm of shades” (56); only when the erupting war breaks the “enchantment” Hans is finally (in a doubtful sense) “released” (702).[11]

Besides those traces of modernism on the level of content, one also can find enough justification in Mann’s aesthetic form to include the novel in the modernist movement. For it is the comments of the winking narrator that carry the themes of analysis and reflection to the level of the ‘discourse’ (in other words: the level of the aesthetic composition), too. Although told with the distinct voice of an omniscient narrator, the narrative is ‘internally’ focalized through its protagonist, Hans Castorp. Thus the logical (and by far not novel) effect is, that the reader floats between an empathy with Hans on the one hand and a critical distance to him––caused by the ironic comments of the narrator––on the other hand. From the very first sentence of the novel, the narrator introduces his ‘hero’ as rather random and ordinary, “an unwritten page” (35); this does not hinder him, however, to become engaged with exactly Hans’ story for over 700 pages; only to bid farewell to this “life’s faithful problem child” in the end again ironically, namely in stating:

[...] we do not deny that in the course of telling it [Hans’ story], we have taken a certain pedagogic liking to you, might be tempted gently to dab the corner of an eye with one fingertip at the thought that we shall neither see you nor hear from you in the future (706).

Moreover, this passage exhibits irony towards the protagonist as well as towards a specific literary genre:[12] in naming the “pedagogic liking” the text quotes the German ‘Bildungsroman’ and shows hints of both analogy and parody.[13] The education of Hans Castorp through Settembrini, the representative of enlightenment (helping humankind reach moral perfection, cf. 152),[14] gets dangerously undermined by the influence of his opponent Naphta, this Jew-turned-Jesuit-turned-Marxist advocate of totalitarianism and defender of terrorism.[15] The narrator’s playfulness regarding Hans Castorp’s experimentation (Settembrini calls it the ‘placet experiri’ of his pupil, 351) and increasing reflection on topics such as biology, astrology, love and life in general refuses a distinct position when it comes to the terms of judging this development. Although Hans learns a lot, it ultimately remains highly doubtful whether Hans has learned enough and whether he turns into a ‘productive’ member of society or not, considering the fact that he leaves the sanatorium only to join the war. One of the last glimpses the reader catches of Hans shows him “[...] stepping on the hand of a fallen comrade––stepping on it with his hobnailed boots, pressing it deep into the soggy, branch-strewn earth” (705). Just as the positions of the two antagonists gradually become more ambiguous, the position of the narrator does, too.[16] For irony in general––marked by a deliberate contrast between apparent and intended meaning––always expresses two sides, which therefore constantly create a ‘doubled’ meaning. Like the intermingling voices of Naphta and Settembrini on the level of the ‘histoire,’ the narrator thus mirrors the modern concept of ‘multi-vocalism’ on the level of the ‘discourse’ as well. The play with voices and the quotation of literary traditions reflect a typical modernist concern insofar as they raise the following questions: 1. How to produce something new at the perceived endpoint or decline of culture? 2. How to take up a position if all positions become insecure? and 3. How to represent any kind of wholeness or totality if all that remains are only “broken images”, in the words of T. S. Eliot’s poem The Waste Land.[17]

Finally, the reflection of divergent positions, sensations and experiences also appears in the novel’s discourse on time. Given the “disjunction between internal and external time”[18] which corresponds to the problem of subjectivity and hence its possibility of translation, the narration as a ‘playground’ for time-experiments gains importance. Marcel Proust attempts to recapture a lost past via the technique of voluntary and involuntary memory in order to recreate a totality in remembering and writing it. James Joyce uses the narrative strategy of stream of consciousness to approach the subjective reality of perception during a single day. Similarly, in his novel Thomas Mann explicitly raises the question: How do we narrate time?

Enchanted Timelessness

The first allusion to the “problematic and uniquely double nature” of the “mysterious element” of time is already mentioned in the foreword of the novel (xi). In its original German, the word “Vorsatz” also means some kind of ‘resolution,’ ‘intention,’ or narrative ‘purpose’. From the beginning, the novel therefore alludes to its two temporal levels––the discourse time (“temps du récit”) and story time (“temps de l’histoire”)[19] ––while examining their relationship to each other. In the chapter “A Stroll by the Shore” discourse time later will be defined as ‘musical-real time’ and story time as ‘imaginary time’:

Narrative, however, has two kinds of time: first, its own real time, which like musical time defines its movement and presentation; and second, the time of its content, which has a perspective quality that can vary widely, from a story in which the narrative’s imaginary time is almost, or indeed totally coincident with its musical time, to one in which it stretches out over light-years (531).

These narratological reflections are settled in the context of the general question: “Can one narrate time – time as such, in and of itself?” (531) In order to answer it and to describe Mann’s understanding of time and narration, we must investigate the treatment of time in connection to space, as well as Hans Castorp’s perception of it.

Hans Castorp goes on his journey as a well-behaved yet mediocre young man; in spite of his dislike of work, he has properly pursued the aims of the ‘flatlands’ thus far. Certain recurring habits structure his life, such as his usual, “highly civilized morning routine” (36) consisting of using lavender soap and drinking porter with his breakfast. Far from being unimportant, these details serve as a background for Hans’ slow but continuous adjustment to the world of the Berghof, whose seemingly strong rules of routine paradoxically conceal its deep disorder. One does neither wear hats, nor is it forbidden to slam doors, “here” in the Berghof-sanatorium.

The narrator virtually creates a sensation of local and temporal ‘presence’ in his relation to both the narrated story and the reader, namely in pretending inconspicuously to be present in the world “up here,” too (362). Furthermore, his style of narration often literally imitates a feeling of stage and staging, for instance when he says: “let us lower the lights in our little theater for a change of scene” (590). Yet, this does not only illustrate the narrator’s independent status in terms of being the ‘director’ of his story; it also shows the story’s own power of presence, for it virtually allures the narrator as well as the reader to follow inside its frame. It is therefore not surprising that our easy-going and drowsy young friend also adapts so well to this strange and ambiguous sphere.

The ‘institution’ Berghof shapes the lives of its patients in a very rigorous way with its strict schedule of daily and weekly events, such as rest cures, temperature measuring, and lectures. In its additional organization of rooms, such as the seating arrangements in the dining-hall, it structures life both in a temporal and local sense.[20] Inside this hermetic and (towards the rest of the world) sharply delimited structure, however, converse tendencies take place. It is the destruction of social borders that occurs during the climax of Dionysian trends, namely the bacchanalian carousal with Mynheer Peeperkorn. The institution––understood as order and organization––therefore apparently creates its own antithesis, or, shapes the lives of its inhabitants precisely in these two senses: On the one hand it forces its rules and its order of time schedule on the patients; on the other hand it seduces them to abandon rules of the ‘Flatland-society’ (not wearing hats, slamming doors, amorous adventures).

The visit of James Tienappel, Hans Castorp’s uncle shows this two-sided and almost ambivalent power of the Berghof. In order to convince Hans to return to the Flatlands, he visits the sanatorium, and, thereby, somehow goes astray himself. More precisely, the unique spirit of the place seduces him not only to relinquish his original intention, but to adapt positively to its way of life. By participating in the daily routine, he falls under the spell of the sanatorium. It is as though certain external actions like the meal ceremonies or the unfamiliar lounging in the comfortable chair arms would almost automatically trigger corresponding internal movements, such as foolishly falling in love (in James’ case, it is Frau Redisch, just as Hans falls in love with Frau Chauchat and Joachim with Marusja) or the involuntarily oblivion of one’s initial purposes. Thus, a funny repetition emerges. Hans’ responses to his visitor alarmingly resemble those of Joachim to Hans earlier in the novel; it is now Hans, instead of Joachim, who casually mentions how the bobsled run was used by the ‘Schatzalp’ sanatorium to bring bodies down (422) and who instructs the newcomer in the traditional art of wrapping oneself in camel-hair blankets (427).

On the Magic Mountain time therefore seems to pass in a cyclic rather than linear way. Dreamy repetitions already seem to occur before, as for instance in the similarity between Madame Chauchat and Hans’ schoolmate Hippe, relationships which both culminate in the same crucial scene of borrowing a pencil… Repetitions disturb the normal order of time and hence lead us back again to the theme of disorder: The life-shaping influence of the sanatorium extends to the experience of time or, briefly, to its disappearance. Because the meteorological order of nature dissolves from the very beginning, such as the snow in August, Hans cannot distinguish the seasons anymore: “On the third day, however, it was as if nature had taken a tumble––everything was turned upside down.” (91) Units of time fade; and as Joachim informs his cousin, it is a different sense of time that comes into play instead: “You wouldn’t believe how fast and loose they play with people’s time around here. Three weeks are the same as a day to them.” (7) After his initial surprise, Hans Castorp gradually becomes captured by this attitude and, in the end, loses his sense of time completely. As he had not even brought a calendar along for his “little excursion” (199), he is indeed an easy victim of this state of timelessness. His inclination toward absent-mindedness worsens little by little until, finally, he does not carry his pocket watch anymore (699) and really forgets his own age (533).

This loss of the regular sense of time which the narrator calls the “magic during a vacation” (536) prompts the question: How fast or slow does time during such a time-out, and therefore outside of ‘normal’ time, pass? And does the “magic word”: “hermetic” (as it is discussed in the chapter “A Good Soldier”) also apply to the vacation-world of the magic mountain by representing in this sense a place outside of time, much like the old canning jars in Hans’ home which stored their contents without any effects of the years (cf. 501)? Representing a ‘slightly’ different kind of being ‘outside-of-the-normal-time,’ the example of a group of miners buried by a cave-in shows that humans lack an internal organ for time, and thus are “totally incapable of even approximate reliability when estimating elapsed time” (533). Due to the absence of this very organ, Hans gets confused with those “states of consciousness that define ‘still’ and ‘again’” (534). It is the eternal monotony of time’s rhythm in the sanatorium, “of the diverting, standard segmentation of the normal day, which was always the same” (359), that creates a sensation not even of mere repetition but of a regular standstill of time. The spatial placement of persons in the Berghof sanatorium emphasizes and reveals this effect all the more: wrapped into their camel-hair blankets, the patients lie almost freezing like veritable ‘mummies’ (cf. 145) in their chairs; motionless, eternal, always on the same balcony, while nothing ever happens.

Is it therefore some kind of mythical presence, an eternal “Now” which unifies past and future; or is it––to come back to our starting point––actually no time at all that becomes the subject of the novel.  The reflecting narrator wonders in the chapter “A Stroll by the Shore”:

We walk and walk – how long has it been now? How far? It does not matter. And at every step, nothing changes – ‘there’ is ‘here,’ monotony of space. Where uniformity reigns, movement from point to point is no longer movement; and where movement is no longer movement, there is no time. (537)

Following this passage, the narrator further builds a connection to a medieval understanding of time, resembling that of Augustine.[21] Upon asking the crucial question, “What, then, is time?” in Book XI of the Confessiones, Augustine discovers that “things future and things past” as well as past and future tenses do not exist, for existence only occurs in the present. According to Augustine, it might be correct, however, to say that there was a “present-regarding-the-past” and a “present-regarding-the-future;” based on this understanding past as memory and future as expectation can be included into the present.[22] The novel certainly offers diverging models and definitions of time. Whereas the passage quoted above refers to an understanding of time that only becomes noticeable when “movement” occurs and therefore also corresponds to the apocalyptical vision of the war as a cutting “turning point,” Augustine might have bequeathed Mann his concept of time. In the novel, it might be seen mirrored in the drafted interpretation of an eternal Now-time, which exhibits time as a static presence. In this reading the Augustinian concept would become slightly perverted, however: the presence is not only (even geographically) detached from every kind of future and past and therefore remains as the only existing tense, it is also defined by its complete lack of memory and expectations.

By all means, the novel attempts to narrate a psychological image of elapsing time, namely in aligning and paralleling the discourse time to the story time. Much like Hans perceives time in the beginning of his stay to be so much ‘longer’ than at the end, the narration of the novel also claims more discourse time towards the beginning, as Hans Castorp’s first year spans from the first till the sixth of the novel’s seven chapters. During the process of narrating the story, the novel’s earlier question “Can one narrate time” shifts into a musing about the philosophical nature of time in general. This question, however, is answered by The Magic Mountain only in displaying pure time for the sake of time––it offers not a clear philosophical term or definition, but treats the topic of time in the pure poetic showing of its passage.

  1. Hans Rudolf Vaget: “The Making of ‘The Magic Mountain’.” Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain. A Casebook. Ed. Hans Rudolf Vaget. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008, p. 15.
  2. Thomas Mann: The Magic Mountain. Trans. John E. Woods. New York: Vintage, 1996, p. 532. All subsequent references to this work will be cited parenthetically by page number in the text.
  3. Thomas Mann. “Introduction to the Magic Mountain,” held at Princeton University. Gesammelte Werke. Vol. 11. Frankfurt am Main: Fischer, 1960, p. 611-612.
  4. Cf. Hans Rudolf Vaget: “The Making of The Magic Mountain”, p 16.
  5. Cf. Hans Wyslingg, "Der Zauberberg." Thomas-Mann-Handbuch. Ed. Helmut Koopmann. Stuttgart: Kröner, 1990, p. 397.
  6. See also Ellis Shookman: “The Magic Mountain – A ‘Humoristic Counterpart’ to ‘Death in Venice’”. Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain. A Casebook. Ed. Hans Rudolf Vaget. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008, p. 220.
  7. Cf. Hans Rudolf Vaget: “The Making of The Magic Mountain”. Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain. A Casebook. Ed. Hans Rudolf Vaget. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008, p. 19.
  8. In this episode of the drama Mephisto persuades Faust to follow him to a mountain in the Harz where the devil holds court with the witches; the scene revolves mainly around physical seduction and Dionysian intoxication, whereas in the meantime Gretchen goes mad and kills her child.
  9. H. R. Vaget calls it like this: “The Making of The Magic Mountain”. Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain. A Casebook. Ed. Hans Rudolf Vaget. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008, p. 18.
  10. Cf. Friedrich Nietzsche. The Birth of Tragedy. Trans. Walter Kaufmann. New York: Vintage, 1967, p. 42: "Now it is as if the Olympian magic mountain had opened before us and revealed its roots to us.”
  11. This magical tone could also be related to the seance the patients have towards the end of the novel, as the try to summon back dead spirits in the middle of a modern institution; cf. the chapter “Highly Questionable."
  12. “That ‘The Magic Mountain’ parodies a host of literary genres and conventions is finely obvious.”, is already stated by Harold Boom in his introduction to: Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1986, p. 1.
  13. Notice also the description of Hans Castorp as “a tourist thirsty for knowledge” (565), which corresponds to the German “Bildungsreise."
  14. When first entering Hans Castorp’s room Settembrini literally and metaphorically “makes light”: “All of a sudden the room was dazzlingly bright – because the visitor’s first gesture upon opening the door had been to switch on the ceiling lamp, and in a flash the room was overflowing with a sudden clarity that was reflected off the white of the ceiling and furniture." p. 189.
  15. Cf. H. R. Vaget. “The Making of The Magic Mountain”. Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain. A Casebook. Ed. Hans Rudolf Vaget. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008, p. 23.
  16. Cf. p. 459: “Ah, principles and viewpoints were constantly at loggerheads, there was no lack of inner contradictions, making it all extraordinarily difficult for a civilian to exercise responsibility, not merely to decide between opposites, but also to keep them apart as neat, separate specimens [...].”
  17. T. S. Eliot. “The Waste Land [1922]”, verse 22. The Waste Land and other Writings. New York: The Modern Library, 2002, p. 39.
  18. Pericles Lewis. The Cambridge Introduction to Modernism. Cambridge University Press, 2007, p. 161.
  19. Cf. Dorrit Cohn. “Telling Timelessness in ‘Der Zauberberg.'" Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain. A Casebook. Ed. Hans Rudolf Vaget. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008, p. 202.
  20. The idea of the institution which shapes life and narration is generally influenced by Rüdiger Campe, cf. “Das Bild und die Folter, Robert Musils ‘Törleß’ und die Form des Romans." Weiterlesen. Literatur und Wissen. Festschrift für Marianne Schuller. Ed. Ulrike Bergermann, Elisabeth Strowick. Bielefeld: transcript Verlag, 2007, p. 122, 124.
  21. Augustine’s work Confessiones was written already around 400 AD, due to its great impact on the theory of time, it may serve as an example for the 'skeptical’ argument, nevertheless.
  22. Augustine’s initial question was the problem of measurement of time; for what can be measured is only what, in some way, exists. According to the skeptical argument, however, time had no being since the future is not yet, the past no longer, and the present does not remain. Augustine therefore tried to find counter-arguments. Cf. Augustine: The Confessions. Trans. Philip Burton. New York, Toronto: Everyman’s Library, 2001, p. 275 (chapter 20:26). See further: Paul Ricoeur. Time and Narrative. Trans. Kathleen McLaughlin and David Pellauer. Chicago, London: The University of Chicago Press, 1984, p. 5-12.

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