Book #68: Death In Venice

Next on the agenda in this marathon blogging catch-up session is Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice.

This is one of three books that were part of a whirlwind read I had while I was traveling this fall. I read them all in one big, long travel day, so the details run together a bit and I might get confused. Bear with me please.

I remember Death in Venice as “the creepy man-crush stalker” book, although I’m afraid that’s being a bit disrespectful. Basically, the great writer Gustaf von Aschenbach is in the twilight of his life and sffering from a lack of inspiration. He believes that one last holiday to Venice might do him good, so he goes. At the resort in Venice, a beautiful adolescent boy, Tadzio, captures his attention. Aschenbach is increasingly captivated by Tadzio’s youth and vigor, and watches him in a way that quickly escalates to obsession.

The repressed, disciplined German author becomes increasingly more liberated and open to beauty and feelings after years of being restricted. His pent-up feelings are projected onto the teenage boy. Aschenbach gets more and more obsessed with watching Tadzio as he starts to open himself to beauty and passion again. At one point, he even whispers “I love you” to a playing Tadzio, to whom Aschenbach never actually speaks.

Essentially, Aschenbach rockets from one extreme, repression, to another, passion. You can probably imagine the result, given the title.

Mann’s work is full of art, sensuality, and, as the title suggests, death. Death in Venice was definitely an interesting read. I hope to read more of his work in the future.

Rating: ***
Up Next: Crome Yellow


One response to this post.

  1. I’m always interested in hearing what other readers/writers think about Mann’s Death in Venice. Your post is informative and fun to read, such a great perspective. I have a literary blog as well. Keep writing!


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