Sunday, February 12, 2012

Top 10 literary frenemies

Lars Iyer is a lecturer in philosophy at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. He is the author of two books on Blanchot (Blanchot's Communism: Art, Philosophy, Politics and Blanchot's Vigilance: Phenomenology, Literature, Ethics) and the novels Spurious, which was 3:AM Magazine's Book of the Year in 2011, and Dogma.

One entry on his top ten list of literary frenemies, as told to the Guardian:
Thomas Mann's Lodovico Settembrini and Leo Naphta

Set in a sanatorium in Davos, in the decade leading up to the first world war, The Magic Mountain features a microcosm of the pre-war European intelligentsia, including the frenemies Lodovico Settembrini and Leo Naphta, the former embodying the positive, hopeful ideal of the Enlightenment, and the latter, the more chaotic, order-threatening aspects of fascism, anarchism and communism. The two men debate furiously, and end up fighting an improbable duel, foreshadowing the coming clash of ideologies that would tear the continent apart.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Magic Mountain also appears on Edmund Morris's five best list of novels on time and memory, Brian Dillon's list of the five best books on hypochondria, Arthur Phillipss' list of five novels about life during the collapse of the Hapsburg Empire, and John Mullan's lists of ten of the best visits to the cinema in literature and ten of the best depictions of the Alps.

--Marshal Zeringue