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Death in Venice (1912)

by Thomas Mann

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,825981,844 (3.71)1 / 274
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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    Königsallee by Hans Pleschinski (JuliaMaria)
    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 274 mentions

English (82)  Italian (5)  French (3)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (2)  Hebrew (1)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (98)
Showing 1-5 of 82 (next | show all)
The short novel, Death In Venice, is a magnificent work of literature. Clocking in at about 3 hours, the audio version helped me appreciate its quality.

Simon Callow is the narrator of this particular release. His narration has been strongly criticized by a reviewer at Amazon (Enobarbus) as follows: Callow reads at a brusque, unrelenting pace and in such a monochrome register that Mann's rich poetry is reduced to functional prose.... Most of the time, Callow rattles along, deaf to the implications of what he's reading, like someone hurrying to a much more congenial engagement and mildly irritated that he must first plough through so many words. .. for the most part, listening to this reading is rather like hearing a Beethoven symphony delivered at an insensitive gallop, as if the producer is under orders to economize on recording time. I find this criticism apt.

While several internet sites offer audio excerpts of this particular release, the audio excerpts are limited to the introduction by a different reader; thus there's no way to preview Callow's narration. However, readers can easily enough find other audio versions, should they seek to listen to this work of literature ( )
2 vote danielx | Jun 19, 2022 |
My first foray into the work of Thomas Mann has been Death in Venice and other stories (Vintage Classics). I have been meaning to investigate since enjoying Colm Toíbín’s wonderful The Magician recently; this book of short stories seemed an accessible entry point and the translation from the original German by David Luke has been much lauded. Mann manages to paint lavish pictures with his extraordinary descriptive powers when not a lot may be happening in the tale he is telling. From the first short story, Little Herr Friedman to the almost novella length title story, the power of truly masterful writing is always evident. The growing obsession of Gustav von Aschenbach for the beautiful Polish boy, staying in the same hotel with his family, is disturbing in its ever-increasing intensity. I think I need a break before I dive into another Mann trap. ( )
  davidroche | Apr 28, 2022 |
Is it a masterpiece or pretentious intellectual rambling? The answer to this question ultimately comes down to whether one can recognize the meaning that the writer tries to convey, especially with books like these which tend to lose itself in references and literary hints. For me the child-obsession in this book didn't work, actually it got on my nerves pretty quickly. The protagonist is truely an annoying, posing fellow (perhaps made so on purpose by Mann) and this makes the sTory of his death completely irrelevant to me. Mann gets to show his talent as a writer, by describing some scenery in extraordinary detail, but the plot and characters didn't interest me at all. This makes the book a well-written piece of intellectual bodybuilding to me. ( )
  Boreque | Feb 7, 2022 |
Another classic book I felt I should read... Well, I read it. And you can get the same emotional impact by reading the Wikipedia article. ( )
  doryfish | Jan 29, 2022 |
An interesting book rife with metaphors, this is a more cerebral read - meaning that there is not much dialogue or action. Much of the book explores von Aschenbach's thought processes and internal emotional struggles. Von Aschenbach is a successful writer who lives an ascetic lifestyle in Munich. He is a widower and his life is highly structured - a fact that he believes is essential to his success as a writer. But one day he has an epiphany and takes trip. He ends up in Venice where he finds himself attracted to a young boy, Tadzio. His attraction is an inspiration to his writing which begs the question does artistic creation flow from disciplined organization or passionate emotions? This is one of the main themes that intrigued me. The book is steeped in irony and perhaps the sublime irony is that while he never actually acts on his impulses they cause him to stay even when there is an outbreak of contagion (denied by many residents of the city even as the death toll mounts). Von Aschenbach eventually succumbs to the disease. While he finds inspiration watching Tadzio, he is too proper to act on his impulses and they go unfulfilled. A very deep book with lots of symbolism. ( )
  Al-G | Jan 1, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 82 (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 (231 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
Hoffmann, FelixIllustratorsecondary 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
Vanriet, JanIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wolf, RuthTranslatorsecondary 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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