Death in Venice and Other Stories
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This superb translation of Death in Venice and six other stories by Thomas Mann is a tour de force, deserving to be the definitive text for English-speaking readers. These seven stories represent Mann’s early writing career and a level of literary quality Mann himself despaired of ever again matching. In these stories he began to grapple with themes that were to recur throughout his work. In Little Herr Friedemann, a character’s carefully structured way of life is suddenly threatened by an unexpected sexual passion. In Gladius Dei, puritanical intellect clashes with beauty. In Tristan, Mann presents an ironic and comic account of the tension between an artist and bourgeois society.
All seven of these stories are accomplished and memorable, but it is Death in Venice that truly forms the centerpiece of the collection. The themes that Mann weaves through the shorter pieces come to a climax in this stunning novella, one of the most hauntingly magnificent tales of art and self-destruction ever written.
approaches the bell, stretches out an arm and presses the button. It then rings shrilly in the ferryman’s villa. That’s today’s “Ahoy there!” but even so, there’s something poetic about it. The man stands there waiting and peering; immediately after the bell commences its shrill ringing, the ferryman emerges from his official house, as though he had been doing nothing but standing or sitting in a chair by the door, poised for the signal. He emerges, and something in his walk makes it seem as
are three categories of people that Baushan the dog cannot bear—policemen, monks, and chimney sweeps. One final remark by way of conclusion. Thomas Mann writes superb German; he exploits the language’s ability to create elaborate structures of statement, an architectonics of coordination and subordination. Time and again Mann proves himself to be the master of the many-layered statement. Jefferson Chase is splendidly alive to the feel of Mann’s German. Not even he, however, can capture the
You can easily understand why he breaks down and cries, though, and I actually feel sorrier for him than the prince and the marquis put together. He’s always so alone and unloved, and just when he thinks he’s found someone, that person betrays him . . .” Hans Hansen looked him sideways in the eye, and something he saw must have won him over, for he suddenly hooked arms again with Tonio and asked: “So what sort of a betrayal is it, Tonio?” This roused Tonio’s excitement. “Yes, well, you see,”
of shop counter, sat a miserable-looking person, writing. The furthest two merely turned their heads toward Tonio Kröger, but the first hastily stood up, braced himself with both hands on the counter, craned his neck, pursed his lips, raised his eyebrows and took in the visitor with eagerly blinking eyes . . . “Pardon me,” said Tonio Kröger, not taking his eyes off the many books. “I’m a stranger on a tour of the city. So this is the public library? Would it be allowed to take a quick look at
courted, admired. One boy in particular, a fellow Pole called something like “Yashu,” seemed to be his highest vassal and closest friend: he was a strapping young lad with black pomaded hair in a linen jumpsuit. When work on the sandcastle had been temporarily completed, they walked arm in arm the length of the beach, with the one called “Yashu” kissing his beautiful friend. Aschenbach was sorely tempted to shake a finger at him. “And you, Critobulos,” he thought with a smile, “spend a year