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Death in Venice

3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  21,424 Ratings  ·  1,049 Reviews
Celebrated novella of a middle-aged German writer's tormented passion for a Polish youth met on holiday in Venice, and its tragic consequences. Powerful evocation of the mysterious forces of death and disintegration in the midst of existence, and the isolation of the artist in 20th-century life. This edition provides an excellent new translation and extensive commentary on ...more
Paperback, 74 pages
Published August 10th 1995 by Dover Publications Inc. (first published 1912)
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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…moreI 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!(less)

Community Reviews

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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
Apr 10, 2013 Kalliope rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, germany

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
Henry Avila
Gustave Aschenbach, or von Aschenbach, as the German writer, has now been honored, at home, all is his , fame , fortune , prestige...yet he is alone, his wife has died, their only child a daughter, married, living far away, the man is feeling his 50 plus years, restless , unsure...unhappy, he must leave Munich and get...a warmer, climate south, would do, Italy, and the glorious city of Venice, above the sea, blue lagoons, sandy beaches, in a beautiful hotel, and the bright, shining Sun, spraying ...more
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
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.


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
Aug 20, 2016 Kasia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mesmerizing. Perfection.
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. ( is turning your own
Nov 17, 2016 Miriam rated it really liked it
How did I not know that Mann lived in California for a decade?

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
Jon(athan) Nakapalau
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. While on vacation aging writer Gustav von Aschenbach beholds the beauty of Tadzio, a teenage boy vacationing with his family. After this one look he is enthralled - and cursed - to follow that path which will lead to his destruction.
Jul 22, 2013 Kim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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
Richard Derus
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
Jason Koivu
May 11, 2015 Jason Koivu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Oh so tragic and rather melodramatic...or maybe I'm just remembering the 1971 Luchino Visconti movie version?

A man longing to regain the vitality and vigor of youth, goes on holiday and turns ghoulish at the sight of a young Adonis.

Death in Venice walks the line of appreciation and pedophilia. Having no problem with homosexuality, but not being down with the man-boy love thing, I cringed more than once. "Don't cross the invisible line!" I may have shouted in my head more than once while reading
Oct 17, 2012 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: european-novels
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
J.G. Keely
Jun 03, 2007 J.G. Keely rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 14, 2015 Vanita rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 02, 2009 Bram rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
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
Shahr Baran
Oct 20, 2014 Shahr Baran rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ..
فهد الفهد
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
3.5 για την ακριβεια. Δεν ξερω, δεν ενθουσιαστηκα! Ωραιες περιγραφες, αλλα μου ελειπε κατι.
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
"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
Shaikha Alkhaldi
Nov 12, 2015 Shaikha Alkhaldi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2017
القراءة الثانية بترجمة دار ورد الرائعة جعلتني ارفع التقييم، على عكس الترجمة السابقة لدار أزمنة.
تدور الرواية حول آشنباخ ذلك الرجل الخمسيني صاحب النبالة، الذي يعشق رمز الجمال الفتى ذو الرابع عشر من عمره، وبهذا يشعر آشنباخ انه عثر على ضالته بين الإنسان والمدينة.
وفجأة يتحول رمز الجمال إلى رمز الموت بسبب وباء الكوليرا.

رواية عاطفية بسيطة وقصيرة.
كتبها توماس مان بإحتراف خياااالي.
Mar 14, 2012 Seth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Riku Sayuj
Mar 11, 2012 Riku Sayuj rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nobel-winners, lit

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
Celeste Corrêa
Morte em Veneza (1912) de Thomas Mann

O estilo minucioso e detalhado de Thomas Mann numa obra aquém do brilho de outras que escreveu.

Dois seres doentes: a cidade de Veneza que agoniza e Aschenbach que morre. Os impulsos amorosos e eróticos de um homem, sintomas da decadência e da desintegração, resultam em consequências extremas.
Senti uma piedade infinita pelo dramatismo da paixão e morte de Aschenbach.
Se tivesse que resumir Morte em Veneza em três palavras, diria que é um livro sobre a sublimaçã
Emanuel rated it it was amazing
Oct 01, 2015
Nov 19, 2012 Rowena rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, german-lit
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
Harry Kane
May 21, 2012 Harry Kane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 14, 2015 Haman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-novel
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
Sep 10, 2014 Speranza rated it it was amazing
So dense, so lush... exquisite.
Mann was a genius.
And to all those moral apostles pointing their finger at him through the bars of their cages of social normality - please don't judge. Judging art is like judging humanity, because art is the only form left for the soul to express itself in a world full of restrictions and prejudice, otherwise known as morality. And what a sick wor(l)d it is.
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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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“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.” 83 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.” 61 likes
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