He then worked for the south German Fire Insurance Company for a short period. Mann's career as a writer started in the magazine Simplicissimus. Mann's first book, Der kleine Herr Friedmann , came out in While at university, Mann became immersed in the writings of the philosophers Arthur Schopenhauer and Friedrich Nietzsche as well as in the music of composer Richard Wagner.
In Buddenbrooks, Mann's early masterpiece, he used the technique of the leitmotif , which he adapted from Wagner. Mann had started the book in as a small story about one member of the family. However, the "protracted finger practice with no ulterior advantages" enlarged into a saga of a wealthy Hanseatic family, which declines from strength to decadence.
After Buddenbrooks , Mann concentrated on short novels or novellas. He married in Katja Pringsheim, the daughter of a wealthy Munich family; they had a total six children over the ensuing years. Der Tod in Venedig , Death in Venice , Mann's famous multilayered novella, was inspired by a young, sailor-suited boy, Wladyslaw Moes, to son of Baron Moes, whom the author saw in Venice in Later in life Wladyslaw remembered "the old man", who had been watching him, and noticed after reading the story in Polish translation, how accurately Mann had described his linen suit and his favorite jacket.
Other characters have also their counterparts in real life. However, Tadzio in the book is 14, but Wladyslaw was actually ten and a half. In the story an author, Gustav von Aschenbach, fells hopelessly in love with a young teenager, Tadzio, redicovers his creativity, and begins to write again. Obsessed with the boy, he stays in Venice during a cholera epidemic, and also dies of cholera on the beach, watching Tadzio playing on the sand. Tadzio character is said to be based on the composer Gustav Mahler, who died in Mann changed Aschenbach's occupation from musician to writer. During the early days of the Weimar Republic he expressed his scorn for the concept of democracy, but in Von Deutscher Republik , as a semi-official spokesman for parliamentary democracy, he called the German intellectuals to support the new state.
After ten years of work Mann completed his second major work, Der Zauberberg , The Magic Mountain , a novel about ideas and of lost humanism. It depicted again a fight between liberal and conservative values, enlightened civilized world and nonrational beliefs. Hans Castorp, the protagonist, goes to the elegant tuberculosis sanatorium in Davos, to visit his cousin. Castorp is not really ill, but he stays for a period of seven years, and undergoes an advanced education on the Magic Mountain, primarily through speaking and listening.
Two men struggle for his soul, Settembrini, an Italian humanist, and Naptha see: Georg Lukacs , a radical reactionary, who speaks of blind and irrational faith. Naptha cries out a prophecy that came true in Germany only a decade after publication of the book: "No!
What our age needs, what it demands, what it will create for itself, is - terror. Settembrini fires into the air, Naphta kills himself in a rage. Another weird character is Mynheer Peeperkorn, who arrives at the Mountain in the company of the beautiful Claudia Chauchat. Castorp falls in love with her at first sight. Claudia returns to Peeperkorn, and Castorp yearns her deeply. The vitalistic Peeperkorn, who confronts his own impotence, also kills himself.
Castorp leaves the sanatorium to join the army at the outbreak of the war. Mann tells the reader that while the young man's chances of survival are not good, the question must be left open. The story about the conflict between personal freedom and political tyranny was based on Genesis The first volume recounts the early history of Jacob, and introduces then Joseph, the central character.
He is sold to the Egypt, where he refuses Potiphar's advances and gains her enmity. Joseph develops into a wise man and the savior of his people. During the writing process of Joseph and his Brothers the political control in Germany was seized by the Nazis. On Hitler's accession to power, Mann moved to Switzerland, where he edited the literary journal Mass und Wert.
He settled finally in the United States in , working among others at the University of Princeton.
In Mann moved to Santa Monica, California. He lived in the U. Mann admired greatly Russian literature and wrote several essays about on Leo Tolstoy and his "undying realism. However, he disliked the later Tolstoy and considered him less noble than Goethe. Michael Henry Heim Translator. Published on the eve of World War I, a decade after Buddenbrooks had established Thomas Mann as a literary celebrity, Death in Venice tells the story of Gustav von Aschenbach, a successful but aging writer who follows his wanderlust to Venice in search of spiritual The world-famous masterpiece by Nobel laureate Thomas Mann -- here in a new translation by Michael Henry Heim.
Published on the eve of World War I, a decade after Buddenbrooks had established Thomas Mann as a literary celebrity, Death in Venice tells the story of Gustav von Aschenbach, a successful but aging writer who follows his wanderlust to Venice in search of spiritual fulfillment that instead leads to his erotic doom. In the decaying city, besieged by an unnamed epidemic, he becomes obsessed with an exquisite Polish boy, Tadzio. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages.
Published May 31st by Ecco first published More Details Original Title. Gustave von Aschenbach , Tadzio , Jashu. Venice Italy Italy. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Death in Venice , please sign up. Who knows a great historical fiction book about Venice? And would you recommend reading Death in Venice? Jessemy I think Mann wrote about the time he was living in, which would make it just straight fiction, not historical.
That is an asset in this case, because …more I think Mann wrote about the time he was living in, which would make it just straight fiction, not historical. That is an asset in this case, because when he mentions the people's dress and manners they seem authentic. I see your question is 10 months old. Did you read it? Hope so! See all 3 questions about Death in Venice…. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters.
Sort order. May 21, Stephen rated it liked it Shelves: novellas , , audiobook , classics-european , classics. Brilliant prose , expertly crafted, and an audacious, masterful blending of mythology, allusion and symbolism.
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In many ways, a work of considerable genius. Unfortunately, the story itself felt ho hum and left me cold and rather unenthused. Hopefully, at that point, one of me will hold sway. For now I just wished for a deeper connection to the characters and the tale. To clear his mind and get his creative juices flowing again, Gustav von Aschenbach takes a holiday and winds up amidst the beautiful decadence of Venice. This was Venice, the flattering and suspect beauty--this city, half fairy tale and half tourist trap, in whose insalubrious air the arts once rankly and voluptuously blossomed, where composers have been inspired to lulling tones of somniferous eroticism.
While there, von Aschensbach becomes infatuated with the striking, classical beauty of a teenage boy named Tadzio. Slowly, the writer begins to lose control of his emotional austerity as his long-bottled passions avalanche over him.
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Despite never acting on his impulse of having any contact with the youth whatsoever, von Aschenbach's infatuation descends into a destructive obsession that leaves him unhinged and adrift from his rationality. Meanwhile, a deadly cholera epidemic is stealthily spreading through the city, and von Aschenbach, though he can feel the onset of symptoms, is too enthralled to make his escape. Having not read either of these works, I'm sure there are some references that strolled right past me without me having a clue they were even in the room. Nevertheless, I don't think a familiarity with these texts is essential to enjoying this story, though it could certainly enhance it.
At its heart, this is a cautionary tale regarding the danger of extremes, and the need to maintain a sense of balance in the conduct of one's life. Mann shows us someone who has lived a carefully controlled, passion free life in the pursuit of moral, intellectual art. When we first encounter von Aschenbach, he is an emotional corpse existing in the extreme state of pure reason and utter sensual denial.
Mann shows us this not as an ideal, but as one end of the spectrum to be avoided. Excessively rigid morality exchanged for unrestrained passion…reason abandoned and moderation impossible, von Aschenbach's world deteriorates under the weight of his unchecked desires. It is his falling from one extreme to another, and his inability to achieve a balance, that leads eventually to his self-destruction.
My biggest problem with the above is that understood it without feeling it. I would spot an allusion that Mann was incorporating and think how impressive it was…but it never translated into an emotional connection to the story. Thus, I was kept at a distance from the story, and this left me feeling less enamored with the work as a whole, than its prodigious technical achievements might otherwise merit. Still, as I mention above, there is much to love about this work, and part of my tepid reaction to the story may be my unfamiliarity with some of the source texts that Mann draws upon for inspiration.
For now, an impressed 3. Highly recommended. View all 41 comments. May 15, Jim Fonseca rated it it was amazing Shelves: german-authors , nobel-prize , novella. A short review because there are 1, others! A well-established older German man visits Venice and falls in love with a year-old boy on the beach. He walked with extraordinary grace — the carriage of the body, the action of the knee, the way he set hi A short review because there are 1, others! He walked with extraordinary grace — the carriage of the body, the action of the knee, the way he set his foot down in its white shoe — it was all so light, it was at once dainty and proud, it wore an added charm in the childish shyness which made him twice turn his head as he crossed the room, made him give a quick glance and then drop his eyes.
He took his seat, with a smile and a murmured word in his soft and blurry tongue; and Aschenbach, sitting so that he could see him in profile, was astonished anew, yes, startled, at the godlike beauty of the human being. The lad had on a light sailor suit of blue and white striped cotton, with a red silk breast-knot and a simple white standing collar round the neck — a not very elegant effect — yet above this collar the head was poised like a flower, an incomparable loveliness.
It was the head of Eros, with the yellowish bloom of Parian marble, with fine serious brows, and dusky clustering ringlets standing out in soft plenteousness over temples and ears. But a plague is also stalking Venice. He considers leaving the city because of the 'miasma' but decides to stay because of the boy — a bad decision. Truly a classic — from I first read it many years ago. Mann was a German writer who won the Noble Prize.
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Top photo from c. View all 7 comments. Jul 25, Adam Dalva rated it really liked it. Odd novella about unrequited pederasty that, like so many novellas with their single themes and small casts, feels a bit overstretched. But there is reason this is still so widely read today curious how, unlike LOLITA, the subject of this book isn't as important as the theme when it comes to criticism : the writing. Mann's marvelous turns of phrase carry the day and his ruminations on the nature of creativity stand in wonderful counterpoint to Marcel's more spiritual realization near the end of Odd novella about unrequited pederasty that, like so many novellas with their single themes and small casts, feels a bit overstretched.
Mann's marvelous turns of phrase carry the day and his ruminations on the nature of creativity stand in wonderful counterpoint to Marcel's more spiritual realization near the end of LOST TIME. Consider: "Nothing gladdens a writer more than a thought that can be come pure feeling and a feeling that can become pure thought. But it also favors the wrongful, the extreme, the absurd, and the forbidden.
Here, Mann achieves something extraordinary: he unlocks the close correspondence between creativity and obsession, between the propriety of making art and the tremendous improprieties that can be side-effect of leaving yourself open to the making of art. Tight in on Aschenbach as we are, morality barely enters into the novella. Instead, in an autobiographical turn by Mann, we see the that repression and beauty often work in counterpoint. As the book accelerates toward its extremely foreshadowed ending, we get an especially good scene, as Aschenbach, who derides men who attempt to be younger than they are at the beginning of the book, dyes his hair and gets slathered in make-up in an attempt to please Tadzio.
It's a gorgeous moment of pathos, the clown at midnight soon after a night sequence with a clown , and it will stick with me.
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Death In Venice is humorless, but you know that going in with Mann. This translation seemed good to me - I have the earlier one as well and when I compared them it wasn't particularly close. View all 4 comments. Apr 10, Kalliope rated it it was amazing Shelves: classics , germany. Male human Beauty but it transcends the particular. Contemplating Beauty brings Happiness. Perfect Harmony is Divine. Beauty is the Path. How to find the Path, how to reach the final goal?
And in seeking, we Desire. Is Art the Artifice that creates the Divine? All are required. Talent has to be wedded to Dignity.
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Only then is it Moral. But also Freedom is needed. Freedom from the thinking mind. Freedom in open and infinite spaces. Simplicity and the Sea. But there is Time, and Chronos easily brings decay. Or Destiny strikes.
For Salvation the only thing we have to defend us is Art. And as the sun and its light drag us to the Senses they can also intoxicate us. And yet, Art — Writing -- cannot reproduce sensuous Beauty, but they will praise it. How to avoid the lurking Danger? They are too close to Emotions. Mirrors of Love. This is Eros, the Divine.
The Senses are the Forbidden Fruit. Overripe strawberries, already dragging us, with them, into irreversible decay. The Abyss. View all 47 comments. If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review. What I remember most from those texts was the extreme difficulty of understanding some p If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review. What I remember most from those texts was the extreme difficulty of understanding some passages. Another trait of his writing is his ability to write long and encapsulated sentences without losing meaning.
View all 12 comments. Gustave Aschenbach or von Aschenbach, as the German writer has now been honored, at home, all is his fame , fortune , prestige Still in the early 20th Century, things aren't perfect, the weather is bad , the winds make him sick, the dirty canals, odious smells, and decaying buildings, are unsettling, not content, he decides to return to the nearby mainland His desires aren't successful, on the way, losing his precious luggage, he must go back, it will be uncomfortable, but he has no choice The beauty of this child, infatuates the tired , discouraged man, the despondency is lifted , a new life surfaces.
Every day Gustave, visits the beach, lies down on his flimsy chair, soaks up the Sun and watches the boy cavorting with other children, swimming in the shallow waters, skipping, dancing, playing, the writer likes the view, but is careful not to be observed, he has two pretty sisters, mother and a governess to deal with.
And the weeks slowly pass by, the contented tourist is happy just to be alive, no worries, only happiness permeates , sitting on the hot sand, the re- energized author , begins to follow the Polish family, around Venice, not being conspicuous, sneaking , hiding, walking in back alleys, never having the bravery to talk to Tadzio A quiet rumors is whispered , foreign newspapers say that a plague has arrived in the ocean city, malignant cholera, especially in the German periodicals, people from Germany and Austria , suddenly disappear from the premises, not believing the local authorities , denials An unusual novella from the great Thomas Mann, he got the idea, talking with his wife, in this very city, in , the story was published, a year after while vacationing in The Grand Hotel des Bains, on the Venetian island of Lido, in the fabled, Adriatic Sea..
View all 6 comments. As long as we breathe, we live. We do not possess the power to embrace death at will. So, we live. And for living, we cling to a purpose. The purpose may be clear or clouded, animate or inanimate, expressed or hidden, stable or fickle but we have it nonetheless. Even the person accused of leading a purposeless life is surviving on the shredded purpose of vagrancy. Nothing is a bigger curse for a writer than to have hit a plateau from where all the previous works appear a distant dream and the present air leaves nothing for the fertile imagination to latch on.
In search of this elusive purpose, after declaring many destinations unfit for ideation, he halts at Venice at a quaint hotel and opens the window of his room to the sea, inviting both its calmness and ferocity to wash his rusted mind panes with inspiring waves. And the sea obliges, in the form of the ethereal Tadzio, who happens to be a guest of the same hotel as Gustav. The stunning beauty of this young Polish boy of golden skin, flowing locks, delicately-crafted ribs and carefree demeanour, first catches Gustav unawares and then, slowly like a persisting rain, fogs his mind panes with sensual dew.
From the day he sets his eyes on Tadzio, he gets transported to a new world where he increasingly finds just the two of them, talking about art and beauty, exchanging life wisdoms and sinking in the loving companionship of each other. But does this throbbing one-sided passion render a purpose to the debilitating parchment of his life or relegate it further to insurmountable lows? Hold the hand of Mann to find out. And yes, he has a lot to say in this compact work. He also nudges us to consider the propriety of actions taken under the influence of relationships which, in the safety net of sanguinity, can deluge the delicate fabric of morality.
He also presses us to weigh the artistic liberties in the light of societal approvals and take a stand. For the striking questions and delicately coherent wordplay, I was about to give this work a rating of four. But Mann snatched the solitary star from my hand by playing this masterstroke: A dream where Gustav has donned the garb of Socrates and Tadzio, of Phaedo and the former is giving his life lessons to the young warrior of tomorrow. But do you believe, my dear Phaedo, that the one who reaches the intellectual through the senses can ever achieve wisdom and human dignity?
Or do you believe and I am leaving this to you that it is a lovely but dangerous road that leads nowhere? Because you have to realize that we artists cannot take the path of beauty without Eros joining us and becoming our leader; we may be heroes in our own way, but we are still like women, because passion is what elevates us, and our desire is love—that is our lust and our disgrace.
Do you see that poets can be neither sage nor dignified? We do not like final knowledge, because knowledge, Phaedo, has no dignity or severity: it knows, understands, forgives, without attitude; it is sympathetic to the abyss, it is the abyss. But he is legendary when he can turn a non-artist, artist. And I know Gustav, in the end, did both jobs well. View all 42 comments. The work presents a great writer suffering writer's block who visits Venice and is liberated, uplifted, and then increasingly obsessed, by the sight of a stunningly beautiful youth. Though he never speaks to the boy, much less touches him, the writer finds himself drawn deep into ruinous inward passion; meanwhile, Venice, and fin Though he never speaks to the boy, much less touches him, the writer finds himself drawn deep into ruinous inward passion; meanwhile, Venice, and finally, the writer himself, succumb to a cholera plague.
The main character is Gustav von Aschenbach, a famous author in his early fifties who has recently been ennobled in honor of his artistic achievement thus acquiring the aristocratic "von" in his name. He is a man dedicated to his art, disciplined and ascetic to the point of severity, who was widowed at a young age. As the story opens, he is strolling outside a cemetery and sees a coarse-looking red-haired foreigner who stares back at him belligerently. Aschenbach walks away, embarrassed but curiously stimulated. He has a vision of a primordial swamp-wilderness, fertile, exotic and full of lurking danger.
Soon afterwards, he resolves to take a holiday. View 2 comments. Nov 20, Darwin8u rated it it was amazing Shelves: aere-perennius , fiction , european , But solitude also produces perverseness, the disproportionate, the absurd, and the forbidden. I've been intimidated by Mann. He's a mountain. I own a bunch of his works, in various translations, but keep finding reasons to walk another road, skip ahead, fall behind.
For me he has sat waiting like a distant leviathan or like death. So, finding myself in a position where I really felt I could delay no longer, I started with his shorter work - Death in Venice. First, the introduction by Michael Cunningham is a fantastic introduction of the difficulties associated with translation.
All fiction is a translation. All works differ, since they all are impacted by writer and reader. Both imperfect, both carrying their own history. Even the same work, read by the same reader at different times think King Lear will be interpreted anew, feel different to the reader at different stages and ages. So, it is with translations. Different translators are going to experience Mann's Death in Venice in different ways. Gustav von Aschenbach will appear the fool to some or an artist gripped by obscession and passion by others.
There is no exactly right answer. This book was probably a 4-star book for me, but I added the star because I really did like the Cunningham intro so extra-credit, why not? So, how was this translation? I don't know. I love the idea of Aschenbach's obscession overtaking him and ultimately perhaps? We all would be so lucky if our passions destroyed us, perhaps. View all 9 comments. Someone recently asked me which was the most melancholy book I had ever read. Of course there are many of them, and it is hard to make a choice, but the first one that instantly came to mind was Thomas Mann's sad story of suppressed emotion and life wasted to keep the appearances.
When comparing Mann to Brecht, one sees a line between the belief in a possible cultural achievement and the cynical loss of it, but maybe the line is not only detectable between generations of German authors. Maybe th Someone recently asked me which was the most melancholy book I had ever read. Maybe that line goes straight through the work of the last German novelist of the dying 19th century?
Thomas Mann may be building sentences of old-fashioned eloquence, but his characters wither and die of suffocation in a world that can't carry the ideas of the European 19th century anymore without also acknowledging the deep evil and the inherent flaws that grow out of that society: the restrictions on personal, individual happiness that the intolerance of a predominantly Christian society puts on anyone who desires outside a church-approved wedlock, the exclusion of anyone from power and fame who doesn't play the game of the white man's burden with dignity and conviction.
Thomas Mann lived and wrote on the thin line between belief in European culture and his lifelong struggle with his own role and position within that culture. He lived long enough to suffer from the complete breakdown of his native country. Death in Venice, telling the story of "forbidden" desire and of the quite literal breaking of hearts to abide by the standards of thought of the collective, could be seen as the dying of the spirit of excellence facing a reality that doesn't fit the idea. And it is dying and dying. Forever dying like the overcrowded, dirty, real Venice choking on its own popularity as a symbol of European grandeur.
We are still stifling our dreams to conform with the bullying crowd of petty mediocrity. We are still longing for beauty without being able to let go of ideas that put us in the position of being ashamed of what we are, rather than questioning the shame itself as a tool of Christian control.
We are still loving Thomas Mann for the death he describes in all of his works - from Buddenbrooks to Doktor Faustus. Death in Venice is bittersweet, and as good as Mann can get! View all 8 comments. Feb 27, Traveller rated it really liked it Shelves: books-by-men , books , banned-books. Since the piece is well known as being a landmark work of fiction regarding male homosexuality, I am not going to focus on that in my review, or on its other element that has been flogged to death as well, being the rather extreme youth age 14 of the love object.
What a conflicting piece of fiction. The novella seems fairly divisive amongst critics, but one thing that I think most of us can agree on, is that the novella is a discomfiting piece of writing. I suspect this was so for t Since the piece is well known as being a landmark work of fiction regarding male homosexuality, I am not going to focus on that in my review, or on its other element that has been flogged to death as well, being the rather extreme youth age 14 of the love object. I suspect this was so for the author as well as for his readers. For me this was not because of how the protagonist's obsession affected his love-object, but because of how this obsession affected the protagonist himself.
I found out later that it was so in many respects, and the love-object is based on a real person. Most uncomfortable of all, is that the 'real' Tadzio, was the year old Wladyslaw Moes. Achenbach, the protagonist, is a well-respected author, who, like Mann, tends to engage with political and intellectual issues in his work.
Like Achenbach, Mann visited Venice, where he made the acquaintance of a young boy whose beauty he apparently admired; with the difference that Mann was accompanied by his wife and brother, while Achenbach was alone. Okay, there are a few other differences as well - and one pretty large one, but that's a spoiler. We are wrong. The eyes and the face are the windows of the soul and these become more beautiful with the age and pain that life brings.
Because I have long known that beauty is only skin-deep, I like those sentiments a lot better than This was intoxication, and the aging artist welcomed it unquestioningly, indeed, avidly. His mind was in a whirl, his cultural convictions in ferment; his memory cast up ancient thoughts passed on to him in his youth though never yet animated by his own fire.
Was it not common knowledge that the sun diverts our attention from the intellectual to the sensual? It benumbs and bewitches both reason and memory such that the soul in its elation quite forgets its true nature and clings with rapt delight to the fairest of sundrenched objects, nay, only with the aid of the corporeal can it ascend to more lofty considerations. Cupid truly did as mathematicians do when they show concrete images of pure forms to incompetent pupils: he made the mental visible to us by using the shape and coloration of human youths and turned them into memory's tool by adorning them with all the luster of beauty and kindling pain and hope in us at the sight of them Some interesting thoughts there, though I disagree with the sentiments expressed in bold.
Were these the thoughts of the protagonist, or the author himself?
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From his notes, it would seem that these were actually Mann's own sentiments. They do seem a perfect rationalization for a man in Achenbach's position to make though, which makes them pretty fitting in their context, I must concede. Surely, it doesn't require too much contemplation to come to the conclusion that physical beauty does not equal spiritual beauty?
One could muse that perhaps what Achenbach is rather saying, in what seems like a rationalization for his passion, that beauty can inspire love, the latter which is in itself beautiful. Methinks not - this could surely be but an infatuation of the senses. From the notes Mann made for the writing of the novella, it is clear that part of what he wanted to show, was that an artist an author like himself cannot be a dignified, purely rational creature, that he needs to be in touch with his passions and emotions, and that the act of creating art is inherently not a dispassionate activity.
Something else that Mann seems to be saying behind the scenes, is that love itself cannot be dignified, that love pushes an individual into undignified behavior. Mann being a fairly obviously repressed individual, one can read a certain parallel between the disease that infects Venice, with Achenbach's almost insane passion insanity features in Mann's notes. Mann seems to see these homosexual pederastic impulses that one surmises he felt himself, as at the same time degrading and ennobling.
Ennobling, so the reasoning seems to go, in the sense of that when a person degrades himself for love, it can be seen as a kind of sacrifice of dignity for a higher cause being, in this case, "love". But one can only follow such reasoning if you can agree that a passion that seems so distant, unrealistic and physical can be ennobling and can be described as "love".
To put the matter in a slightly different context - make a small leap in your mind and imagine that the love-object here is instead a year old woman. If the latter was the case, would the scenario in DIV still be creepy? Indeed, it would. What would make the scenario still creepy? It would still be a purely physical obsession characterized by stalkerish behaviour. So one ends up asking yourself how far selfishly and obsessively stalking someone can really be an expression of love?
In fact, I was sort of visualizing an ending in which Tadzio dies of Cholera, and Achenbach is racked with guilt, possibly even driven totally mad with guilt hide spoiler ] Of course, when the object of your obsession is only 14 years old, not making contact can probably be seen as the nobler action to take than to make contact; and sticking to stalking behaviour is probably preferable to some potential alternatives.
In spite of my criticism of Mann's ideas and of his patches of overwrought, overemotional purple prose, the latter suits the subject of the story well, and there are certainly a lot of thought-provoking ideas and well-executed imagery. Mann also displays keen insight into his characters. He portrays the aging, smitten homosexual well, and the dissolution of his personality via the intensity of his obsession is conveyed with pathos despite the relentless dissection under Mann's unnerving microscope.
One feels torn between pity for Achenbach while at the same time suppressing a shudder at the creepiness of his stalking behavior - but Mann manages to make him look pathetic more than anything else. Mann also remarks on Tadzio's narcissism with acute insight. According to The Real Tadzio: Thomas Mann's Death in Venice and the Boy Who Inspired It , the latter was indeed a pretty narcissistic person who enjoyed the attentions of older men, so Mann was pretty spot-on with his portrayals.
All-in-all, as with all good fiction, the novel leaves one with conflicted feelings. And, like all good fiction, it makes you roll around its various elements in your head, considering and re-considering; trying to find definite stances. The fact that the latter is so hard to do with this work of fiction, is a part of what makes it good fiction, whether one agrees with all of the specific ideas put forward by it or not. The latter claims to be the most natural and most US-friendly translation out there, but these two translations appeared fairly similar to me.
View all 36 comments. Aug 20, Kasia rated it it was amazing. How I'm I supposed to go back to normal life after having experienced glimpses of literary heaven? Thomas Mann, where have you been all my life? I'm confused, perplexed. What are those feelings? Heartbreak or hangover? I'm sorry y'all, but I'm unable to utter a coherent sentence here so I'm going back to read Death in Venice again.
And later I'm going to build a church and put this book in the center and worship it every day. See ya in seven years. View all 35 comments. Jan 10, Jon athan Nakapalau rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites , classics. In each heart there are unrequited desires; desires that hibernate for years only to awaken after the last days of summer have passed into the time when "To love that well which thou must leave ere long" is the only option.