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This report is taken from PN Review 254, Volume 46 Number 6, July - August 2020.

To the Source Gabriel Josipovici
The little town of Bad Ragaz is an hour’s train-ride East of Zurich. Like so many of the spa towns of central Europe, such as Bad Gastein, Marienbad and, the most famous of all, Baden-Baden, it owes its name and fame to its medicinal waters and its existence to nineteenth century engineering. For while the miraculous curative powers of the waters at the source of the Tamina river that gush out of the rock four and a half kilometres above the town were well known in the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance magus Paracelsus waxed lyrical about its medicinal properties, yet it was not till the technical means were found in the nineteenth century to pump the water down to the village from the source that the town was born, with its public baths and, of course, its Grand Hotel, to which, up to the First World War, flocked minor royalty, statesmen, and the barons of industry.

Today the Grand Hotel (called Grand Resort Bad Ragaz) is owned by a company, has swallowed up its nearest rival, covered its imposing entrance in marble and gold, and caters mainly to oil sheikhs and Russian oligarchs. There are two indoor and one outdoor swimming pools and a great many uniformed and heavily made up young women who bustle about looking officious. The pool into which the healing waters flow and in which one is advised not to stay for more than half an hour at a time brought to my mind that wonderful painting of ...


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