Kyrghyz Eyes

Susan Messer writes about The Magic Mountain:

One of the unforgettable details of the
novel was the obsession of Hans Castorp (the main character) with the
elusive Clavdia Chauchat, who Mann describes repeatedly as having Kyrgyz
eyes. This is, indeed, one of her defining features. "Kyrgyz eyes" were
also a feature of an earlier breathless obsession in Castorp's life–a
young boy who had many years before loaned young Hans a pencil on the
school playground. So Mann echoes these eyes and these obsessions (even the pencil) throughout the novel.

I also wondered exactly what Mann meant by Kyrgyz eyes (Kirgisenaugen). Messer provides us with this photo of actual Kyrgyznauts, or whatever one calls people from Kyrghyzstan:

Kyrghiz eyes
Cute and wholesome. But I prefer this version, courtesy of St. Petersburg-based photographer Daniil Kontorovich aka Tertius Alio:


If you ask me, she's got Kyrghyz-everything.

4 thoughts on “Kyrghyz Eyes

  1. The nipple! Andrew, the nipple!! Oh, I’m getting heart palpitations just writing the word.

    Going to report you to the Hayes Commission now.


  2. Hey, Andrew. I agree that your photo does capture more accurately the erotic allure of Clavdia Chaucat than does mine. Actually, the sunny-peasant look of the people in my photo doesn’t fit the Mann mood at all. It’s almost embarrassingly off-tone. Still, yours is perhaps a bit too exposed for the Mann era and sensibility? Somewhere in between we might find the true Clavdia? thanks for reading my entry and referring to it here. I’m always glad for more Magic Mountain encounters.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s