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Death in Venice: And Seven Other Stories
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Death in Venice: And Seven Other Stories

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  1,991 ratings  ·  121 reviews
In addition to Death in Venice, this volume includes "Mario and the Magician," "Disorder and Early Sorrow," "A Man and His Dog," "Felix Krull," "The Blood of the Walsungs," "Tristan," and "Tonio Kröger."

These stories, as direct as Thomas Mann's novels are complex, are perfect illustrations of their author's belief that "a story must tell itself." Varying in theme, in style...more
ebook, 416 pages
Published November 3rd 2010 by Vintage (first published 1930)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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karen

european men, stay put. seriously, nothing good ever happens to you when you leave whatever small european town you are from and venture into the wider world. whether it is gide and tunisia, conrad and the congo, robbe-grillet with wherever that was, various graham greenes; statistically, there will be temptations which you are not equipped to resist and you will either succumb or drive yourself to humiliation and despair with the wanting to succumb. and i totally get it - different surroundings...more
Ian Paganus de Fish
Elements in a Composition

"Death in Venice" was published in 1912, when Thomas Mann was 37. The protagonist is in his mid-50’s.

Both Mann and his wife, Katia, acknowledged that virtually all of the elements of the plot were modelled on their trip to Venice in 1911. However, I don’t see any value in trying to analyse the novella as an exploration of Mann’s own homoeroticism.

Mann had to choose, prioritise, sublimate and arrange his inspiration as "elements in a composition".

I’d prefer to approach...more
Jason Koivu
"Read this," you said, handing me Death in Venice, "you'll enjoy it!"

"What's it about," I asked.

"It's a story whose entire premise is based on a perverted old man lusting ghoulishly after the youth of a handsome, young boy," you said.

"Fuck off," I shouted.

I don't usually go in for the old-man-desires-the-youthful-essence-of-a-boy genre, but Death in Venice spoke to me. Maybe it's vanity and the fear of losing the beauty and natural exuberance of youth, or the sadness felt at the passing and irr...more
Ted
Don't know if I've read all these stories or not, so the rating is primarily for Death in Venice. I remember (not very well) reading it years ago, and just now scanned it again.

That scanning was enough to convince me it fulfilled all my criteria for a 5-star read. But now I must still go back and read it more carefully. Not because I might change my mind, but because I know I'll enjoy it even more.

Am currently reading Buddenbrooks, and it's fun to see this great short story that Mann wrote many...more
Jessica
Holy hell, Death in Venice is fucking amazing. If, like me, you somehow just never got around to reading it, pull yourself together and do something about that now.
Paquita Maria Sanchez
Finishing fantastic books should be like beating levels in Zelda...wait, WAIT! Here me out...

All I mean to say is that, as a reward for reading something as near-perfect as Death in Venice, Goodreads should unlock an extra star, so that we may properly rate such rare gems of literature...sort of like extra hearts in Zelda, no?
Fine, fine, never mind.

You indulge in the illusion that your life is habitually steady, simple, concentrated, and contemplative, that you belong entirely to yourself-and t...more
Nathanimal
Golly. I can't believe how much I hated the title novella here. Surprising, I know. Usually, if it's a classic, having stood the test of time, I can find SOMETHING to enjoy about it... and eventually I guess I did find something, but CRAP! it was hard to find, because, through most of the book, I was thoroughly distracted with plans for building a time machine so I could go back and kick Mr. Mann in the nuts (BTW while I'm there I'd like to kick Freud in the nuts too). Mann constantly confuses b...more
Adam
It took me a long time to get to Mann, but I feel in good company with him. Lots influence of Poe and Conrad and clearly in company with Dineson, who he obviously influenced, an operatic tone, ironic, comic, erudite, and seemingly a strange mix of a 19th century feel with more modern concerns and anxieties. Paul Bowles and Bruno Shultz, who are two of my favorite writers, also claim Mann as an influence, and I can see parallels in their work. “Death in Venice” is a masterpiece of symbolism and f...more
Chris
This review isn't going to make sense. I should just say that right now.

I have never read Mann before. Of course one keeps hearing about "Death in Venice" and then one feels guilty about not reading it and so on. Finally, in terms of this year's late resolution of doing something about my TBR pile and book buying addiction (though I didn't buy this. My friend put it on a pile of books he was giving away) and because of a buddy read (thanks Jeanette) I read it.

It is poetry, really truly. You jus...more
Yair Bezalel
It can be a joy to be wrong sometimes. Going into this collection I didn't have much to go on regarding Thomas Mann. I'd heard some biographical details and titles of works, but nothing more. I'd heard his name mentioned in the same breaths and sentences as Kafka, Goethe, Hesse, in German literature particularly, and in the same vein along some of the writers of the highest echelons of the world generally, but I, for lack of a better term, never got around to him. I expected him to be the runt o...more
Esteban del Mal
Not a fan of writers who write about writers.
Nick Klagge
[Note that I only read "Death in Venice" out of a different collection of short literature, not any of the other stories in this particular volume. But this was the translation I read.:]

I had been feeling for quite a while that I would like to read something by Thomas Mann, but for some reason never got around to it until now. The urge inexplicably became irresistible this weekend, so although I'd like to read "The Magic Mountain" or "Buddenbrooks", I read "Death in Venice" because Elise had it...more
Taka
Had to put it down--

After reading the first three "short" stories - "Death in Venice," "Tonio Kroger," and "Mario and the Magician" - I simply could not slog through Mann's turgid, discursive, and sometimes anachronistic prose that did way more telling then showing without any success at all (some authors, most prominently Nabokov, Chabon, and Marquez, can do a lot more telling than showing successfully).

On top of the clunky prose comes the boring story.

With the possible exception of "Mario and...more
Matthew Balliro
Whether you're going to call it a novella, a short story, or something in between, "Death in Venice" is simply an ensnaring work. It's nothing groundbreaking or experimental (from what I can tell; but I'm not an expert in pre-War short German fiction), but that doesn't mean it isn't fascinating. It's the story of an aging German writer's vacation to Venice and his reflections and encounters with beauty, youth, and illness when he's there. That's a much-simplified description of what's going on,...more
Jaki
Some very good stories, some stories way longer than I would have liked...

Recommended for people who enjoy short stories, this sort of old-fashioned writing (lots of minute description), stories about relationships (between siblings, between incestuous twins, between strangers, between stalker pedophile and the child he watches, between a person and himself, between performers and the audience, between a man and his dog, etc.)

Overall a pretty good read with some dull patches.
Mateo
Beautiful prose can be found in here...florid descriptions of such density I practically had an allergic attack to its bouquet. But I was left a bit unsatisfied at the end of each story. The tales seemed to have no closure, or perhaps more accurately, no climax. A bit like Catcher in the Rye: things happen and then, the End.
David
I think I'm fonder of the other Mann I've read, but I would never deny Mann's skill in writing. Some of these stories were a little more contemplative in approach than lived for me, perhaps more intellectualized than suited me at the moment. Still I enjoyed a number of these stories a great deal. After all, Mann is the man.
Jerry Auld
In the age (1911) before TV this style of writing was probably the only game in town, and it may be that this was the first time that a story had delved into madness and obsession in such a metaphorical way for the demise of a man who is yearning for the innocence of his youth, but today, and to me, it reads thick and overwritten, clunky at times and not at all delivering the bang for the work. Mann is subtle, but it would work better with a lighter touch on the exposition. Perhaps I was not the...more
TheGirlBytheSeaofCortez
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Palmyrah
'A level of literary quality,' says the blurb on the back cover of my Bantam Classics paperback edition, 'that Mann himself despaired of ever again matching.' Well, perhaps it's better in German.

I tried the first three stories; they all seemed to be about solitary young men of straitened means and aesthetic if depressive inclinations living rather uneventful lives in Bavaria. I managed to finish the first story; the second seemed to be a variation on the first, and I abandoned it when, on turni...more
Rosemarie Herbert
This review has been crossposted from my blog Review from Rose's Book Reviews Please head there for more in-depth reviews by me.

'Death in Venice' is an assigned text for one of my literature classes. It is a collection of short stories by Thomas Mann, including his possibly most famous - the same titled Death in Venice. Mann is the perfect example of a Modernist writer, and by no means are his works comfortable to read. But read on!

The title story, Death in Venice, is about Aschenbach, an aging...more
Shanna
http://2aughlikecrazy.wordpress.com/2...
I didn't know of Thomas Mann by name, but I have had his other book Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family on my list for a long time. I didn't know how much he struggled with his bisexuality, but after reading some of Death in Venice I'll not be taken by surprise again.

Death in Venice

I first became aware of the character Tadzio through Rufus Wainwright's song Grey Gardens. After that I always had the interest in finding out about the story behind it. I lea...more
Sheri-lee
It's always so very difficult to rate a collection of stories. I think I'll star them separately with brief comments on each story below.

'Death in Venice' (4)
Reads like the fascination of a train wreck -- the awfulness that you can't take your eyes away from.

'Tonio Kroger' (4)
Love not lived, life not lived. Art...expression and appreciation and how very different they can be. The last three paragraphs are fantastic.

'Mario and the Magician' (4)
Reminiscent of 'World of Wonders' by Robertson Davies...more
Tony
"For beauty ... make well! Only Beauty is at one and the same time divine and visible, and so it is indeed the sensuous lover's path ... it is the artist's path to the spirit, (from 'Death in Venice')." The pig had been released. The large wheel was exstinguished hiding behind it a partial view of the Church in Piazza San Marco. I felt the world close in on me, the pressing throng moving everywhere and nowhere all at once. An errant elbow landed between my shoulder blades. I collapsed -- pain pi...more
Eric
It's intellectually lazy to review a book and say, "No one writes like this anymore." Promulgating this false nostalgia is just puffery, a proclamation that one (save the speaker) appreciates the finer things that are no longer produced. But that sentence kept running through my mind while I read this collection of novellas (they are much more than short stories), so what was this feeling?

Thomas Mann's novellas start very slowly and as I read each of these, I would begin to think that finally I'...more
Robert Scafe
Great writer who sees art as the disciplined, rational pursuit of beauty gets a mysterious hankering to leave gloomy Munich and get some sun in Venice. There his detached approach to art is challenged by his growing infatuation with a beautiful Polish boy he sees around the hotel and on the beach. In a Freudian manner, this clenched fisted artist's repressed Dionysian tendencies explode into a self-annihilating obsession with the boy. I hope I'm not spoiling anything by revealing that he dies. I...more
Armineh Nouri
Mann's novellas bear the sober and dignified style of early modern literature which was utterly gripping while not trying in the slightest to impress the reader by extravagant displays of stylistic bravado. Despite grave differences in geographical, social, and biological circumstance, I found myself deeply connected to the character of The Joker to a point I had never experienced with a work of drama (this process of deep identification was interrupted towards the end of the story by the resurg...more
Mr. Brammer
Exposition, exposition, exposition. Mann is the painterly sort of writer who seems to think that if you describe a setting with enough detail, then the conflict will naturally emerge. This seems like an impressionistic mode of writing - we learn a lot of odds and ends about each protagonist in each story before we understand what the story is actually about. The author in the title story spends time traveling in southern Europe and eventually ends up in Europe, has an encounter with a gondolier,...more
Albert
Jul 16, 2008 Albert rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: short story goers
OK, I should be writing something else right now, but I'm going to comment on this book.

So the title story is a great, beat-that-ass kind of story. Clear writing, pacing, perspective, tension from the title, degree of lyricism, dispensing of information -- all that good stuff you look for in a story. I appreciated Aschenbach's obsession and how he almost unquestioningly went along with it.

However, I just couldn't get into ANY of the other stories in this collection. They lack the emotional dept...more
CJ
The title story and "Mario and the Magicians" are easily the best in this book. The rest of the stories are alright, but in light of his other works, they're inferior. Still, I wouldn't go so far as to say any of them are bad... well, except for the one about the dog.
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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...more
More about Thomas Mann...
The Magic Mountain Death in Venice Death in Venice and Other Tales Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family Doctor Faustus

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“Men do not know why they award fame to one work of art rather than another. Without being in the faintest connoisseurs, they think to justify the warmth of their commendations by discovering it in a hundred virtues, whereas the real ground of their applause is inexplicable--it is sumpathy.” 2 likes
“There is only one real misfortune: to forfeit one's own good opinion of oneself. To have lost one's self-respect: that is what unhappiness is. Oh, I have always known that so well! Everything else is part of the game, an enrichment of one's life; in every other form of suffering one can feel such extraordinary self-satisfaction, one can cut such a fine figure. Only when one has fallen out with oneself and no longer suffers with a good conscience, only in the throes of stricken vanity - only then does one become a pitiful and repulsive spectacle.” 2 likes
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