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Death in Venice (1912)

by Thomas Mann

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,590901,783 (3.71)1 / 249
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. "It is a story of the voluptuousness of doom," Mann wrote. "But the problem I had especially in mind was that of the artist's dignity."… (more)
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    JuliaMaria: Königsallee, ein biografischer Roman über Karl Heuser und Thomas Mann. Karl Heuser soll Vorbild für die Josephsfigur gewesen sein, gleichzeitig aber auch eine der großen Lieben Thomas Manns. Wie in der autobiografischen Erzählung von Thomas Mann "Tod in Venedig" geht es um die homoerotische Beziehung zwischen einem älteren Mann und einem schönen Knaben.… (more)
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» See also 249 mentions

English (75)  Italian (5)  French (3)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (2)  Hebrew (1)  Danish (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (90)
Showing 1-5 of 75 (next | show all)
Death in Venice is clearly the work of a master. I enjoyed the depth of writing and the use of imagery. Mann investigates the battle between the mind and the body. It is a rare work written by an author with a special and sensitive skill that has taken him to an incomparable level. ( )
  HeiderBroisler | Mar 8, 2021 |
For all the potential intrigue of this novel, I found it slightly underwhelming. The protagonist - an author past his prime - indulges his own whims and obsessions even with the claim at the outset of the story of being an industrious artisan of extreme discipline. I’m not sure if the theory of the mid-life crisis was an identified theme pre-WWI, but Thomas Mann has clearly tapped into the essence of the middle-aged man who reaches his peak achievement in life (in Gusdtav’s case, he has gained literary fame and has built a stable life for himself) and then throws everything away for want of knowing what to do with himself. Going on a summer jaunt to Venice is not really our traveller’s crime here, but I can’t see his obsession with the Polish boy, Tadzio, as anything other than a kind of sick mania. Gustav is a widower, so his emotional latching on to the sickly youth is clearly at odds with his “normative” lifestyle and his stalking behaviour is an engagement that flirts very directly with danger. At the climax of the novel, which I view as his discovery of the truth about the cholera epidemic, does nothing to halt his rash behaviour. It is only with his death - once again staring out at the boy who has come to rule his life - that the reader is brought to any sort of ending, even though it does not seem to fit the building of the narrative. Is Mann a critic of Gustav? Or does he prefer the romanticism of dying with one’s life’s goals unattained, but steeped in passion? It is an odd ending to a strange story, and seems to bring the reader back to the centre of the narrative, as we are kept perpetually waiting for Tadzio’s true reaction to his stalker’s affections. ( )
  JaimieRiella | Feb 25, 2021 |
My second book from Thomas Mann and another amazing story written in one of the best german I have read in a long time. It feels that this was written at an even higher and more complex level than Buddenbrocks. Short and wonderful. A must read. ( )
  gullevek | Dec 15, 2020 |
Bonita prosa, mucha simbologia, en especial relativa a mitologia griega, he dicho que la prosa es muy bonita?

Parece que tiene todo lo que me gustaria en un libro pero por otro lado me daba la sensacion de que lo estaba intentando demasiado sin tener realmente un gran transfondo. No importa realmente lo que la mayoria de los personajes piensan, supongo que solo queria hablar de una cosa en concreto hacerlo de forma bella y simbolica.
Yo creo que es un exito en este sentido y entiendo que a mucha gente le encante este libro, pero no consiguio conectar conmigo. ( )
  trusmis | Nov 28, 2020 |
Quite hard to read, almost all passages I have to re-read in order to grasp the meaning and sometimes I am not sure I understood. Nevertheless, the descriptions of Gustav Aschenbach's feelings towards Tadzio and his struggles are exquisite and well worth a read. ( )
  siok | Nov 22, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 75 (next | show all)
This man in the gate of the cemetery is almost the Motiv of the story. By him, Aschenbach is infected with a desire to travel. He examines himself minutely, in a way almost painful in its frankness, and one sees the whole soul of this author of fifty-three. And it seems, the artist has absorbed the man, and yet the man is there, like an exhausted organism on which a parasite has fed itself strong. Then begins a kind of Holbein Totentanz. The story is quite natural in appearance, and yet there is the gruesome sense of symbolism throughout...

It is as an artist rather than as a story-teller that Germany worships Thomas Mann. And yet it seems to me, this craving for form is the outcome, not of artistic conscience, but of a certain attitude to life... Thomas Mann seems to me the last sick sufferer from the complaint of Flaubert. The latter stood away from life as from a leprosy.
added by SnootyBaronet | editThe Bookman, D. H. Lawrence
 

» Add other authors (81 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mann, ThomasAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Burke, KennethTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Callow, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Castellani, EmilioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cunningham, MichaelIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
De Angelis, EnricoEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heim, Michael HenryTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hom, HansTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lowe-Porter, H. T.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Olsen, Kjell Erik KilliIllustr.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Olsen, Kjell Erik Killi illustr.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Solar, Juan José delTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ulsen, Henk vanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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On a spring afternoon in 19--, a year that for months flowered threateningly over our continent, Gustav Aschenbach--or von Aschenbach, as he had been known officially since his fiftieth birthday--set off alone from his dwelling in Prinzregentenstrasse in Munich on a rather long walk. [Norton Critical Edition]
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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. "It is a story of the voluptuousness of doom," Mann wrote. "But the problem I had especially in mind was that of the artist's dignity."

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