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Death in Venice

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3.73  ·  Rating details ·  32,467 ratings  ·  1,634 reviews
The world-famous masterpiece by Nobel laureate Thomas Mann -- here in a new translation by Michael Henry Heim.

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
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Paperback, 160 pages
Published May 31st 2005 by Ecco (first published 1911)
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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)

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Average rating 3.73  · 
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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 few years (it's only 150 pages) for a follow up
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Jim Fonseca
May 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A short review because there are 1,500 others!

A well-established older German man visits Venice and falls in love with a 14-year-old boy on the beach. Here is a key passage very early in the novella (about 75 pages) that illustrates the author’s writing style:

description

“He [the 14-year old Polish boy] entered through the glass doors and passed diagonally across the room to his sisters at their table. He walked with extraordinary grace – the carriage of the body, the action of the knee, the way he set hi
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Adam Dalva
Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Odd novella about unrequited pederasty that, like so many novellas with their single themes and small casts, feels a bit overstretched. But there is reason this is still so widely read today (curious how, unlike LOLITA, the subject of this book isn't as important as the theme when it comes to criticism): the writing. Mann's marvelous turns of phrase carry the day and his ruminations on the nature of creativity stand in wonderful counterpoint to Marcel's more spiritual realization near the end of ...more
Manuel Antão
Sep 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.




The language of the book "Tod in Venedig"/"Death in Venice" by Thomas Mann


I finally decided to tackle Thomas Mann’s work. My first contact with him took place when I was preparing myself for the ZMP Certification in German. We were able to read in class some excerpts from his main books : “Buddenbrooks”, “Der Zauberberg”, “Tonio Kröger”, and so
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Kalliope
Apr 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: germany, classics
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 Freedom is needed. Freedom from the thinking mind. Freedom in open and infinite spaces.

Simplicity and the Sea.

But there is Time, and Chro
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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 its he ...more
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
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Darwin8u
Nov 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
“Solitude produces originality, bold & astonishing beauty, poetry. But solitude also produces perverseness, the disproportionate, the absurd, and the forbidden.”
― Thomas Mann, Death in Venice

description

Portrait of the artist as an old man.

I've been intimidated by Mann. He's a mountain. I own a bunch of his works, in various translations, but k
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Lisa
Someone recently asked me which was the most melancholy book I had ever read.

Of course there are many of them, and it is hard to make a choice, but the first one that instantly came to mind was Thomas Mann's sad story of suppressed emotion and life wasted to keep the appearances. When comparing Mann to Brecht, one sees a line between the belief in a possible cultural achievement and the cynical loss of it, but maybe the line is not only detectable between generations of German authors. Maybe th
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Ahmad Sharabiani
750. ِDer Tod in venedig = Death in Venice, Thomas Mann
Death in Venice is a novella written by German author Thomas Mann, first published in 1912 as Der Tod in Venedig. The work presents a great writer suffering writer's block who visits Venice and is liberated, uplifted, and then increasingly obsessed, by the sight of a stunningly beautiful youth. Though he never speaks to the boy, much less touches him, the writer finds himself drawn deep into ruinous inward passion; meanwhile, Venice, a
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Traveller
Feb 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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Kasia
Aug 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
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Jon(athan) Nakapalau
Jan 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics, favorites
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.
Paul
Oct 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 degradati
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Mir
Nov 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How did I not know that Mann lived in California for a decade?
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-ger...
Kim
Jul 22, 2013 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
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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 been beaten
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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 Croatia, no kfive
The
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Steven Godin
On one spring afternoon Gustav Aschenbach, or Von Aschenbach as he had officially been known since his 50th birthday, sets out from his apartment in Munich. Writing had overstimulated him and he needs clarity. As with many German intellects of the early 20th century, his mind had been feasting on the classicism of his surroundings, when he came across a displeasing red-haired man. A strange emotion stirred within him, an emotion he pondered on before he later identified it as a desire to travel. ...more
Jason Koivu
May 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
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 r
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Bram
Nov 02, 2009 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 Hum
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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 and bru
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Seth
Mar 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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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Roman Clodia
Oct 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A short novella, just 83pp. in my edition but one which is immersed in debates about art, creation, beauty and desire. It's deeply allusive (Plato's 'Phaedrus' and 'Symposium', Nietzsche's Apollonian/ Dionysian dichotomy from his 'The Birth of Tragedy') and relies on classical, particularly Athenian, intertexts: the surly, 'uncanny' gondolier who becomes a Charon figure rowing von Aschenbach across the Styx to an 'underworld' from which he never returns; the plethora of beautiful male adolescent ...more
Speranza
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.
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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Rowena
Nov 19, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Elie F
Apr 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Art is a negotiation/compromise between the form of the conventional world and the formless inner yearning, between moral regulation and aesthetical sublimity, between Western rationality and Eastern sensuality, between Venice and Tadzio. It is difficult to tell whether it is the disease of the former or the latter or both that consumes and kills the German artist.
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-autobiog
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Riku Sayuj
Mar 11, 2012 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 he
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Goodreads Librari...: Two identical editions 3 11 Aug 26, 2019 05:33AM  
Reading 1001: Death in Venice - Thomas Mann 1 5 Aug 25, 2019 07:18PM  
Play Book Tag: Death in Venice - Thomas Mann 4.5/5 5 20 Aug 14, 2018 08:20AM  
Goodreads Librari...: This topic has been closed to new comments. Combine editions 7 23 Aug 13, 2018 11:31PM  
Does anything good ever happen in Venice? 1 6 Aug 06, 2018 03:07AM  
Who is Jasjoe? Is he in the book? 3 20 Apr 06, 2016 02:32PM  
2015 Reading Chal...: Death in Venice by Thomas Mann 1 16 May 31, 2015 02:42PM  

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Serbian: Tomas Man

Thomas Mann was a German novelist, short story writer, social critic, philanthropist, essayist, and Nobel Prize laureate in 1929, known for his series of highly symbolic and ironic epic novels and novellas, noted for their insight into the
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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.” 109 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.” 85 likes
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