Review of Death in Venice (1912)


Thomas Mann (writer).

Read in 2022.

A prestigious author in his fifties travels alone. He ends up in Venice, where he sees a Polish boy in the bloom of youth. Increasingly obsessed with the boy, the supposedly noble author discovers that people are suppressing the signs of a plague in the city.

This is not “The Assignation” (1834), and not Romanticism. Despite carefully tip-toeing around the subjects of hebephilia and the threat of the disease, Mann’s prose is never purple. He also never takes his subjects anywhere really prurient. It’s all about symbolic correspondences.

References here: “Pop Squad” (2006).

text fiction