Death in Venice

Death in Venice

by Thomas Mann
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Overview

Death in Venice by Thomas Mann

This critical edition of Mann's 1912 modernist novella reprints the widely praised translation by David Luke. Accompanying this text, five critical essays examine the work from five contemporary critical perspectives:
Psychoanalytic Criticism, by Rodney Symington
Reader-Response Criticism, by Lilian Furst
Cultural Criticism, by John Burt Foster, jr.
Gender Criticism, by Robert Tobin
New History, by Russell Berman

A succinct introduction to the history, principles, and practice of each critical approach precedes each essay. Readers may also benefit from extensive bibliographies following the essays and a glossary of critical and theoretical terms.

The editor's introduction to the book discusses biographical and historical contexts for both Mann and his text. Her survey of critical responses to it starts in 1912 and ends in 1998.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9788087830116
Publisher: David Rehak
Publication date: 06/24/2013
Pages: 92
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.19(d)

About the Author

German essayist, cultural critic, and novelist, Thomas Mann was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1929. Among his most famous works are Buddenbrooks, published when he was just twenty-six, The Magic Mountain, and Doctor Faustus.

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Death in Venice 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
carlosmock More than 1 year ago
Death in Venice by Thomas Mann Plot: Gustav von Aschenbach is a famous author in his early fifties who has recently been ennobled and thus acquired the aristocratic "von" to 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, while strolling outside a cemetery, he sees a coarse-looking red-haired man who stares back at him belligerently. Aschenbach walks away, embarrassed but curiously stimulated. Soon afterwards, he resolves to take a holiday. He decides on Venice, reserving a suite in the Grand Hôtel des Bains on the Lido island. Aschenbach checks into his hotel, where at dinner he sees an aristocratic Polish family at a nearby table. Among them is an adolescent boy in a sailor suit; Aschenbach, startled, realizes that the boy is beautiful. Soon afterward, after spying the boy and his family at a beach, Aschenbach overhears the lad's name, Tadzio, and conceives what he tells himself is an abstract, artistic interest. Soon the hot, humid weather begins to affect Aschenbach's health, and he decides to leave early and move to a more salubrious location. On the morning of his planned departure, he sees Tadzio again, and a powerful feeling of regret sweeps over him. When he reaches the railway station and discovers his trunk has been misdirected, he pretends to be angry, but is really overjoyed, for he did not want to abandon Tadzio; he decides to remain in Venice and wait for his lost luggage. He happily returns to the hotel, and as his admiration for Tadzio continues to grow, Aschenbach wishes to leave Venice dissipate. Over the next days and weeks, Aschenbach's interest in the beautiful boy develops into an obsession, comparing his situation to Socrates wooing Phaedrus on desire and virtue. Aschenbach watches Tadzio constantly, and secretly follows him around Venice. One evening, the boy directs a charming smile at him, looking, Aschenbach thinks: like Narcissus smiling at his own reflection. Disconcerted, he rushes outside, and in the empty garden whispers aloud, "I love you!" Aschenbach next takes a trip into the city of Venice, where he sees a few discreetly worded notices from the Health Department warning of an unspecified contagion and advising people to avoid eating shellfish. He smells an unfamiliar strong odor everywhere, and later realizes it is disinfectant. However, the authorities adamantly deny that the contagion is serious and the tourists continue to wander round the city, oblivious. Next, Aschenbach rallies his self-respect and decides to discover the reason for the health notices posted in the city. After being repeatedly assured that the sirocco is the only health risk, he finds a British travel agent who reluctantly admits that there is a serious cholera epidemic in Venice. Aschenbach decides to warn Tadzio's mother of the danger; however, he decides not to, knowing that if he does, Tadzio will leave the hotel and to his own amazement, Aschenbach realizes that he would not be able to go on living without Tadzio. One night, a dream filled with orgiastic Dionysian imagery reveals to him the sexual nature of his feelings for Tadzio. Afterwards, he begins staring at the boy so openly and following him so persistently that Aschenbach feels the boy's guardians finally notice, and take to warning Tadzio whenever he approaches too near the strange, solitary man. But Aschenbach's f
Mrjonz97405 More than 1 year ago
In looking at the really, really good translation of this work, I was struck (on page 3 of the three page sampling) that they, the translators, I presume, transiliterated "PrinzeregenzenstraBe" using the "B" instead of "ss"....sloppy, guys, sloppy. Made me not want to spend the $1 on a different translation. Had hoped to see something new, and, yes, I did!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Death in Venice is somewhat less disturbing than its subject matter might have you believe. Aging writer Gustav Von Auschenbach vacations at a beachfront resort in Venice, admiring the idyllic life but more and more becoming fascinated with the beautiful young son of fellow vacationers. Similar territory is traversed by Gabriel Garcia Marquez in the recent Memories of My Melancholy Whores, in which an aging writer finds himself fascinated with an underage virginal girl. Mann got there almost a century earlier, of course. Both books bear more similarities than differences -- the relationships are unconsummated and mostly in the imagination and desire of the protagonist, who is likely a thinly-veiled alter-ego of the author (Mann battled homosexual urges throughout his life, and the setting and characters of Death in Venice were inspired by a vacation taken by Mann and his wife). In both cases, it could be argued that the fascination is with the youthful verve and vitality of the subject rather than a purely sexual urge. Both stories are very slow-paced, relying on characters and exposition to drive the narrative. As a story, I found Death in Venice merely passable -- but as a work of literary art it is undeniably noteworthy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think this book is magnificent. It is very well written, the plot escalates in an astounding manner, and well Mann is just sincerely a genius. Despite the fact that this is a pedophiliac/homoerotic work, it truly talks about true love. Well atleast true love on behalf of the writer, because young Tadzio is oblivious to what Auschenbach truly feels, or even to his existence. I truly recommend this book, you will not want to put it down, once you start reading. TRULY AN AMAZING READ!!!
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Old style prose with a good story of unreqited lust
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Guest More than 1 year ago
For those legions of readers who consider Thomas Mann's DEATH IN VENICE one of the pinnacles of 20th Century literature, welcome to the feast! Michael Henry Heim has restudied and again translated this brief but poignant novella with an English version more in tune with Mann's novella and certainly, finally free from all the societal homophobic restrictions that have shrouded previous translations. This is the tale of a writer - Gustav von Aschenbach - in his fifties who feels the need for exotic travels to break his writer's block, and after many aborted attempts to find the right place, comes to Venice and not only falls under its spell but also finds his sublimated desires for pure beauty as focused on young men awakened in his encounter with the young Polish boy Tadzio. This story has been translated into other languages, transformed into film by Luchino Visconti and made into the last opera of Sir Benjamin Britten. But though the simple story has captivated our minds for many years, it has never been presented in so eloquent a fashion as in this Heim translation. To wit: 'On a personal level, too, art is life intensified: it delights more deeply, consumes more rapidly; it engraves the traces of imaginary and intellectual adventure on the countenance of its servant and in the long run, for all the monastic calm of his external existence, leads to self-indulgence, over refinement, lethargy, and a restless curiosity that a lifetime of wild passions and pleasures could scarcely engender.' When he first encounters Tadzio '...he was infused with a paternal affection, the attraction that one who begets beauty by means of self-sacrifice [a writer] feels for one who is inherently beautiful.' And '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 sun-drenched objects, nay, only with the aid of the corporeal can it ascend to more lofty considerations.' Once von Aschenbach accepts the fact that he is in love with the idea of Tadzio he sets about to quash rumors of the threat that cholera is invading Venice to keep his Polish lad from leaving the city (and von Aschenbach) with his family. 'Thus the addled traveler could no longer think or care about anything but pursuing unrelentingly the object that had so inflamed him, dreaming of him in his absence, and, as is the lover's wont, speaking tender words to his mere shadow. Loneliness, the foreign environment, and the joy of a belated and profound exhilaration prompted him, persuaded him to indulge without shame or remorse in the most distasteful behavior, as when returning from Venice [to the Lido] late one evening he had paused at the beautiful boy's door on the second floor of the hotel and pressed his forehead against the hinge in drunken rapture, unable to tear himself away even at the risk of being discovered and caught.' Has Heim 'changed' Mann's story in to a more titillating one? No, indeed not! But he has rescued it from the mere Apollonian/Dionysian rhetoric with which other translations have cloaked the sensual aspects of the story. Here von Aschenbach becomes a fully three-dimensional character, one whose life up to the entry into Venice is understood and appreciated as a writer of brilliance, and one whose epiphany of the Eros submerged in this intellectual psyche blossoms in the most credible, tender way that far from being transformed into a 'pedophile', he is instead in that wondrous plane where awakened emotions of love and longing dwell. Michael Cunningham has written a beautiful introduction to this new translation and, as we have come to expect from this contemporary gifted man of letters, his words are warm and befitting his admiration for this work by Thomas Mann. This is a book to be read and read again, and should you have other versions of DEATH IN
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was my first encounter with Thomas Mann and his haunted protagonists who all seem to possess delicate blue viens as an integral part of their appearance. The stories that were especially memorable were 'Tobias Kruger' and of course 'Death in Venice', although all of the stories included in the collection were very readable. I felt that this edition was a good introduction to Thomas Mann, and my only critism was the front cover which solicited second looks from many fellow travellers on the subway.