Death in Venice Hardcover – Jun 2004
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About the Author
German essayist, cultural critic, and novelist, Thomas Mann was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1929. Among his most famous works are Buddenbrooks, published when he was just twenty-six, The Magic Mountain, and Doctor Faustus.
Inside This Book(Learn More)
Gustav Aschenbach or von Aschenbach, as he had officially been known since his fiftieth birthday, set out alone from his resident in Munich' Prinzregentenstrasse on a spring afternoon in 19..-a year that for months had shown so ominous a countenance to our continent-with the intention of taking an extended walk. Read the first page
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Top Customer Reviews
However, recent analysis and information helps us understand that he struggled with what today we diagnosis as pedophilia.
The story is not about homosexuality per se, but is about the attraction of an older man for a prepubescent boy. Based on Mann's own attraction to a 10 year old, Wladyslaw Moes. This is supported by his journals and his wife's writtings. He changed the age in the story to 14 to lessen the social condemnation of the book.
Pedophilia does horrible things to the victims. The damage to the psyche of the victims is enourmous. Many in the field think that recovery is often impossible. Children must be protected until they are able to decide and protect themselves. Part of that protection comes from not glorifing a destructive instinct under the cover of artistic expression.
Despite his great talent, Mann must be understood for what he was. This book should be judged not just on its writing but on its theme, which by all standards is illegal.
It is difficult to give a Nobel Prize winner one star, but it is what this book deserves. Should not be banned but should be avoided.
But since then we've had Will and Grace and countless gay characters, mostly minor, in films and on TV--and one of the great things is that it's okay to laugh about it all. Even at what we in the community used to call tragic and sometimes in our bitchier moments still do. This translation invites us to smile, and even occasionally howl. By giving Aschenbach an obsession with the Greek gods (toward the end he uses the words god and godlike about a dozen times in two pages), Mann not only shows us what was required at the time as a good alibi or cover for homosexual tendencies (not even "identities")--"classical culture" and "noble classicism" and so on: everything that involved nude boys and swimming hole frolics and attention served to youth and beauty in young beauties--but also gave us in the future (inadvertantly, I don't know, since I don't read German) the keys to understanding a period in which so-called bourgeois culture needed its literature and high art to justify the ancients' curious sexual habits. An almost neurasthenic obsession with youth and health and beauty being an ironic side feature of cultured life.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Although he was to remember his friendship with painter Paul Ehrenberg as the love of his life, in 1905 he married Katia Pingsheim, who came from a well-to-do Munich Jewish... Read morePublished on Nov. 18 2000 by Orrin C. Judd