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Death in Venice

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3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  15,081 ratings  ·  745 reviews
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 b
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Paperback, 160 pages
Published May 31st 2005 by Harper Perennial (first published 1912)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Stephen
canalVenezia_Osvaldov3
Brilliant prose, expertly crafted, and an audacious, masterful blending of mythology, allusion and symbolism. In many ways, a work of considerable genius.

Unfortunately, the story itself felt ho hum and left me cold and rather unenthused. Given this considerable dichotomy, between the me that was significantly impressed by Mann's obvious talent, and the more emotional, "enjoyment-centric" me left wanting more by a narrative that seemed dry and lifeless, I’ve resolved to revisit this work in a fe
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Kalliope
THE KRITIOS BOY





This is Beauty.

Male human Beauty but it transcends the particular.

Contemplating Beauty brings Happiness.

We seek this Happiness, this complete Harmony with one’s Life.

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?

Goodness, Virtue, Health, Order, Perfection, Restraint, Discipline. All are required.

Talent has to be wedded to Dignity. Only then is it Moral.

But also
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Traveller
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.

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Well! 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
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·Karen·

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Lovis Corinth: Self Portrait as Howling Bacchant, 1905, Insel Hombroich

There is a haunted dread in the eyes of this bacchant. That howl - more distress than joy. Mania, frenzy, delirium; a Dionysian letting go.

This is the mental picture that furnished my mind as I read of Gustav von Aschenbach. Aschenbach is the eminent artist of disciplined control, he has based his whole career on fame, he has achieved recognition through hard graft, a hundred little inspirations that have accrued, that have
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Cheryl Kennedy
Thomas Mann's prize winning novella is a classic because it continues to reveal itself to readers decades after its publication. This is the tale it told me. After a storied career championing reason and reserve, a German writer in his sixth decade leaves the familiar for a trip to the mysterious island of Venice. Along the way he meets three men who physically resemble each other and are confrontational toward him. These everyday occurances are foreboding of what is ahead.

Something unexplainabl
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Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: 3.5* of five

The Book Report: I feel a complete fool providing a plot precis for this canonical work. Gustav von Ascherbach, literary lion in his sixties, wanders about his home town of Munich while struggling with a recalcitrant new story. His chance encounter with a weirdo, though no words are exchanged between them, ignites in Herr von Ascherbach the need to get out of town, to get himself to the delicious fleshpots of the South. An abortive stay in Illyria (now Bosnia or Montenegro or
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Seemita
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.

So it doesn’t come as a surprise that even Gustav Aschenbach, notwithstanding the fame and dignity safely held in his bag of accolades
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Kim

I find this a difficult work to review. On the one hand, I’m awed by the complexity of the narrative, its haunting imagery, the richness of the symbolism and the layers of meaning which Mann was able to give such a short work. On the other hand, a plot involving an older man becoming obsessed with and stalking a beautiful young boy is designed to make 21st century readers feel uncomfortable. Or at least, it’s designed to make me feel uncomfortable. I have difficulty seeing the Ancient Greek prac
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Edward
Introduction

--Little Herr Friedemann
--The Joker
--The Road to the Churchyard
--Gladius Dei
--Tristan
--Tonio Kröger
--Death in Venice
Shahr Baran
یکی از تاثیر گذار ترین کتابهایی بود که من تا حالا خوندم ..توماس مان عموما به نوشتن شجره نامه ویا زندگی نامه شهرت داره ..مانند کتاب های زندگی نامه یوسف یا یعقوب ویا خاندان بودنبرک ها که به نام زوال یک خاندان هم چاپ شده اما این رمان کوتاه مدرن نشانگر نبوغ او در عرصه رمان های سبک جدید است ..پیشنهاد میکنم این رمان رو بنام مرگ در ونیز حتما بخونید ..
Bram
I bet someone could write a masterpiece by taking this book’s premise and elongating it into a fuller exploration of the child-adult love taboo. Oh, really? Oh.

This book really does read like a Lolita written 40 years prior with Lo’s gender switched and a premature ending just before things get really interesting (if you know what I mean). Death in Venice is equally engrossing and sports a protagonist, Aschenbach, who’s as well developed, far more relatable, and nearly as interesting as our dear
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Paul
It felt rather odd reading this novella whilst the furore about Jimmy Saville has been going on. This famous/infamous novella is about a writer in his 50s who falls in love with a 14 year old boy who is staying in his hotel whilst he is on holiday in Venice. The story is highly descriptive and internal (Gustav von Aschenbach, the writer, is not a talkative chap, he doesn't even speak to his beloved, Tadzio).
Mann himself wrote that he wanted to portray the passion as confusion and degradation and
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Vanita
Despertei a vontade de ler este livro por causa de um filme com a Marion Cottilard que nada tinha que ver com a trama de Thomas Mann. Apenas foi referido por uma personagem e cativou-me. Bastou uma das incontáveis promoções da Fnac e, em menos de nada, já o tinha em mãos para devorar. É mínimo, com pouco mais de 100 páginas e com esta capa fabulosa. Mas, vamos ao que interessa, e a história?


Ora bem, todos sabemos que isto da beleza é altamente subjectivo. Mas, quantos de nós não ficaram já - tal
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J.G. Keely
A good book to be taught in tandem with Lolita, methinks. A literary achievement with the psychology of Tolstoy and a Greek commitment to The Story; and that is not the only thing about this book that is 'Greek'. A treatise on Death, Life, Sex, Desire, and Fear, Death in Venice is both enticing and terrifying, and for the self-same reason.

Here is the face of wretched animal man, teeth bared, cloudy desperation mocking his vision. Mann's succinct and powerful images are always reversed: the raw
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Fahad
الموت في البندقية

توماس مان من الروائيين الذين كنت أتهيبهم، ربما لأن رواياته ضخمة في أغلبها، لهذا وجدت هذا المدخل الصغير له، هذه الرواية القصيرة والتي كتبها متأثراً بزيارة قام بها مع زوجته إلى البندقية، هناك لاحظ المؤلف وأولع بصبي بطريقة غريبة، أيقظت في داخله حس الفنان ورغبته في قنص هذه اللحظة وتحويلها إلى رواية، هكذا يبتدع روائياً مشهوراً باسم (جوستاف آشنباخ)، يتوقف هذا الكاتب في لحظة لم يخطط لها وتحت مرأى رجل رحال عن روتينه الكتابي اليومي، ويقرر السفر، هكذا يزور البندقية، ليفتتن هناك بصبي بولن
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Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
I address in this review those of you here at goodreads who are young and beautiful. Please pay attention to what I have to say.

When you go to the beach, in you bikini or swimming trunks, what do you do? You preen, you display your half-naked body around, hoping to catch the attention of equally-young and good looking vacationers like you. I bet you never pay attention to the old men or women who may throw you a glance or two. That is a big mistake.

Here is a semi-autobiographical novel. The prin
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Seth
I have reread Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice several decades after reading it in the original German in college, having in the interim enjoyed the film version directed by Luchino Visconti. My main impression of the relatively recent translation by Michael Henry Heim (2004) is that it preserves the author’s long-winded and intricate sentence structure. Unpacking Mann’s sentences is one of the challenges of reading his books. Stylistically, therefore, the translation is quite authentic.

As I read
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Rowena
I would probably give this book a 3.5 star rating. The language it was written in was quite beautiful and philosophical, and I liked how Mann interspersed mythology into his story. The protagonist, Gustav von Aschenbach, was quite a fascinating character who becomes obsessed with a 14 year old Polish boy who he deems as beautiful and resembling a Greek god. This book was quite reminiscent of Lolita at times, though von Aschenbach was nowhere near as heinous as Humbert
Fewlas
Gustav Aschenbach è un anziano scrittore di successo che ha dedicato la sua vita alle fatiche della scrittura, sacrificando così diletti e piaceri. Si reca a Venezia per un soggiorno estivo e, nell’hotel dove alloggia, la sua attenzione viene catturata da una nobile famiglia polacca, in particolare dall’adolescente Tadzio. Dapprima Aschenbach sembra solo ammirarne l’efeba bellezza che incarna i principi estetici classicheggianti che hanno sempre ispirato la sua opera. Con il passare dei giorni, ...more
Samadrita
"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 in the long run, for all the monastic calm of his external existence, leads to self-indulgence, overrefinement, lethargy, and a restless curiosity that a lifetime of wild passions and pleasures could scarcely engender."

Read this if you appreciate long, wordy passages (like the one above) so exquisitely
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Haman
این میل سفر بود. همین و بس؛ ولی به راستی همچون عارضهی ناگهانی دست داده تا حد دگرگونی عاطفی و پریشانی حواس بالا گرفته بود. خیالش از هنگام کار هنوز نیاسوده، از اعجازها و عجایب هراسانگیز و متنوع جهان نمونههایی در نظر میآورد: منظرهای را میدید، منطقهای باتلاقی، منطقهای استوایی زیر آسمانی پوشیده از ابر و مه، نمناک، انبوه و دهشت انگیز. دنیای وحشی کهنه با جزیرهها، باطلاقها و دماغههای پر از گل و لای... .» ...more
Harry Kane
This is a novella detailing the decline and death of aged respectable author, who has subjugated his entire adult life to his formidable intellect.

The repressed unconscious material emerges in three symbolical orgiastic manifestations: 1) paranoia of ginger men and feeling that they keep popping up everywhere; 2) hysterical disgust at an aged man he sees, who tries to fraternize greasily with strapping young lads; 3) the aged author’s increasingly disturbing fascination with beautiful 14 year o
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Riku Sayuj

This small tragicomic satire by Mann has probably done more to edge homosexuality into the common culture than any other single work of art. The remark of Mann’s old enemy Alfred Kerr, that the story “made pederasty acceptable to the cultivated middle classes”, was meant to be sarcastic but has proved quite prophetic.

Here, Dionysian acceptance of Life triumphs over the rationalistic dogmatism of Apollo. The world decided to become agnostic about sex as the dogmatic insistence that heterosexualit
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AC
Another 'classic' that I never read that vacation time has got me reading on the 'cheat' -- or make that 'reading' on the cheat (audible). I find Mann, frankly, repulsive -- and his style so full of pompous neuroticism that I can't really stomach him. I have a dual-lingual edition of this novella, and I should try to read it in German someday... clearly, he is formidible... but he represents a world and a set of complexes, and has a prose style (if this translation is any judge) - that is at onc ...more
Blair
I did this a bit of a disservice by reading the first two stories in October last year, and then not picking it up again until January - my intention was to spread the stories out over a couple of months, in the hope that this would make me savour and appreciate them more, but... it didn't really work out. Though a couple of characters grated, and the repetition of themes dulled their impact slightly by the end, I loved these stories, with 'Little Herr Friedemann', 'The Joker', and 'Death in Ven ...more
Nelson Zagalo
Adoro Thomas Mann, mas esta obra, que vinha sobejamente bem recomendada, apesar de muito interessante, não me tocou.

“Morte em Veneza” (1912) é um pequeno conto escrito por Mann, exactamente a meio caminho entre o seu primeiro livro “Buddenbrooks” (1901) e a sua obra-prima “Montanha Mágica” (1924). Deste modo podemos encontrar uma escrita notável, mas ainda assim longe do que nos viria a oferecer mais tarde.

Mann parece ter querido fazer desta história um momento de pausa e reflexão sobre o seu tr
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Connie
Gustav von Aschenbach is a middle-aged, successful writer who has lived a very controlled, cerebral life. He feels that a break from his scheduled life might help his writing, and travels to Venice. He sees a beautiful Polish boy named Tadzio at his hotel, and compares him to a classical Greek god. Although he never touches or speaks to Tadzio, Aschenbach becomes totally infatuated with the beautiful boy, watching him play on the beach and eventually following him through the streets of Venice. ...more
Carmo Santos

Thomas Mann não é um autor fácil, tem uma escrita elaborada e requintada com reflexões profundas e complexas que se espraiam ao longo de parágrafos extensos e capítulos enormes. As descrições dos ambientes são rigorosas e muito sensoriais. Quase se sentem os cheiros e os ruídos, nos passeios a pé ou de gôndola através da cidade.
É uma leitura que exige concentração - algo difícil nestes dias de calor abrasador - e por vezes terminava uma frase, sem já saber como ela tinha começado. Foram tantas
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Fahad Alqurain
هل يمكن للجمال أن يقتلنا أو بشكل أصح هل يكتمل الجمال حين نرحل عن هذه الدنيا ؟
في هذه الرواية ستجد الجواب

ممتعة وعميقة وخفيفة
Marvin
What a beautiful yet sad novella! it is a ode to beauty and the end of life, the loss of beauty and the confusion over what is beautiful. It is a story about yearning for something one can no longer obtain. It is a tale about narcissism and a tragic one at that. I'm glad I read this now. I do not believe the young version of me would have got it.
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19405
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Thomas Mann was a German novelist, short story writer, social critic, philanthropist, essayist, and 1929 Nobel Prize laureate, known for his series of highly symbolic and ironic epic novels and novellas, noted for their insight into the psychology of the artist and the intel
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More about Thomas Mann...
The Magic Mountain Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family Death in Venice and Other Tales Doctor Faustus Death in Venice and Seven Other Stories

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“Nothing is stranger or more ticklish than a relationship between people who know each other only by sight, who meet and observe each other daily - no hourly - and are nevertheless compelled to keep up the pose of an indifferent stranger, neither greeting nor addressing each other, whether out of etiquette or their own whim.” 47 likes
“The observations and encounters of a solitary, taciturn man are vaguer and at the same times more intense than those of a sociable man; his thoughts are deeper, odder and never without a touch of sadness. Images and perceptions that could be dismissed with a glance, a laugh, an exchange of opinions, occupy him unduly, become more intense in the silence, become significant, become an experience, an adventure, an emotion. Solitude produces originality, bold and astonishing beauty, poetry. But solitude also produces perverseness, the disproportionate, the absurd and the forbidden.” 29 likes
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