Friday, January 19, 2007

Death in Venice

I knew that Death in Venice was inspired by real life events but didn't know that the boy who caught thomas mann's fancy was a well known figure. I was just browsing the wikipedia and I came across this book called The Real Tadzio which recounts the backstory of the book. More details on the wiki page. There are links to his photographs too.

A review of the book here. More reviews here. I had read Death in Venice a few years back. I don't think I really appreciated it much then. I started it expecting it to be another Lolita type story but it was extremely serious, solemn and convincingly unfunny. (In a way, Nabokov was satirising a novel and an attitude like this.) I should check it out once again. I think I will understand more this time.


Szerelem said...

hmmm....I actually just read it for the first time recently. Did come across the story of the real Tadzio. Is quite interesting. There's a movie of the story as well. And yeah, it is very un-Lolita like. There was another short story I read by Mann (I forget the title) but it was similar in theme - sudden, passionate obsession - only this time the object of affection was a woman. On the whole I liked Death in Venice, though.

Alok said...

Yes the movie version by Visconti is quite famour actually. Haven't seen it yet though. I liked it too. There's a lot in it than can be discovered in a cursory reading. I am planning to reread it soon.

Grant Faulkner said...

I think "Death in Venice" is a perfect example of the "travel novel" genre because it combines all of its fundamental elements: a protagonist who loses his equilibrium when away from home, finds himself (or in this case, a hidden self), feels the threat of the "other," whether it's foreigners or the foreigness of place, and finally dies because of a cholera epidemic. The protagonist in expat novels always seems to die, whether by a gun or a disease.

I wrote about this in more detail in Lit Matters.