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Death in Venice: And Seven Other Stories

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  2,037 ratings  ·  113 reviews
ebook, 416 pages
Published November 3rd 2010 by Vintage
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(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
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Ian Pagan-Gladfly
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
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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
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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
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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
Esteban del Mal
Not a fan of writers who write about writers.
James
Among the several stories included in this volume The Blood of the Volsungs is one that stands out in its differences and its use of music as a foundation.

This little drama begins at the dining-room table where both the theme of generational conflict between the parents and children of the Aarenhold family and 'racial' conflict between the family and an outsider, a government bureaucrat named Beckerath who is engaged to Sieglinde, the elder of two daughters in the family. In this story music is
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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
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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
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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.
Dennis
Keep a closer eye on that mysterious stranger at the Holiday Inn breakfast buffet, he just might be sizing up your teenager.

I had no idea what this was or what to expect before I picked it out, but I knew I wanted a literature classic and something German. This fit the bill.

Reportedly this story is quasi-autobiographical, but Gustav von Aschenbach, not Thomas Mann, is the gifted and widely respected writer who decides to take a leave of absence after having suffered a bout of writer's block. He
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emma
I only read Death in Venice, since after that I'd rather have put my eyes out with a rusty teaspoon than attempted any of the other stories. I found the whole thing an absolute yawn, and it took me twice as long to read as it should have, since I'd go a paragraph and then starting wondering what I'd have for lunch or if I should go to the supermarket today or tomorrow. I was bored, absolutely bored, and yes, I realise much has been written on the "wonderful prose" of Mann, but I detested every s ...more
Matt
He was my first German! and I think he is just too German for me.

This is the story of an aging writer (won't attempt his name) who goes to Venice for his health (I think?). When he is there, he sees a beautiful young Austrian boy vacationing with his family (there were staying somewhere with a beach, maybe the mainland?). He thinks of leaving, but there is a mix-up with his luggage, so he stays (I think?). He then sees the boy again, and realizes that is the real reason he wanted to stay. He is
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TheGirlBytheSeaofCortez
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rosemarie  TheCosyDragon
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
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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
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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'
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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
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Becca
Nov 06, 2008 Becca rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Becca by: Rachelle Cribbs
Shelves: the-book-club
In my opinion, more than anything, Death in Venice is about the struggle of the artist as she (or in this case he) gives his art. Gives it as a piece (and the most important piece) of himself. Concisely, its about the artists battle of the undone, from within. The context and plot of this story are striking: notes of homosexuality and stalking carry throughout this pre WWII german's life. There is also a very interesting sub-plot about how those that are from the broken seem so much more unbreak ...more
Todd Johnson
Jul 10, 2008 Todd Johnson rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Todd by: Anthony
"Death In Venice" is not a great way to stay awake on an airplane that you had to be up at 4:30 to catch, but with the help of some crappy airline coffee I was able to get past the first 15 pages, and at that point it becomes a really touching story.

If I had read it as a senior or a junior in high school, it probably would be one of my all-time favorite stories. But, as I've gotten older, it's gotten harder for me to get as excited about fiction which contains extended narratives about Art. Thi
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Autumn
if thomas mann were alive today, he'd be a screenwriter churning out Saw movies... well, i don't know about that, since i've never actually seen a Saw movie, and these stories are amazing while Saw is probably terrible. But these stories have these mean little moral truths in them, and after you read them, you're grossed out for a bit, and then you get it, or maybe not, but you definitely are left with images in your head.

Not all of the stories are gross, though. Some are sad, and Mann speaks to
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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
Matt
In my humble opinion, one of the most important functions of literature is to make us more aware of ourselves by cataloging and dissecting the varieties of impaired self-awareness. Almost all of these stories do just that without either villifying or pitying their subjects. We see in his stories that lack of self-knowledge both as a defense mechanism and a pathology, and on a few occasions, shows how painful it is to remove that veil of self-ignorance.

It would have helped to know something abou
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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 Death in Venice Death in Venice and Other Tales Buddenbrooks: The Decline of a Family Doctor Faustus

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