Open Letter / by mrm

Dear Mr. Thomas Mann,

It is with a heart neither particularly heavy nor particularly light that I bid farewell to your hero, a Mr. Hans Castorp. He was a tranquil if somewhat hypochondriacal chap, unlucky in love and life in general, and overly fond of cigars.

I would, however, like to offer you my sincere gratitude for the following:

"You have never spent any time in theatrical circles, have you? So you do not know those thespian faces that can embody the features of a Julius Caesar, a Goethe, and a Beethoven all in one, but whose owners, the moment they open their mouths, prove to be the most miserable ninnies under the sun." (translated from the German by John E. Woods)

That certainly produced a chuckle.

Also, words cannot convey the depth of my indebtedness to you for having introduced me to that marvelous word and concept, philopena.

a custom, presumably of German origin, in which two persons share the kernels of a nut and determine that one shall receive a forfeit from the other at a later time upon the saying of a certain word or the performance of a certain action. (

I can think of but few things I like more.

With my warmest regards, etc.