Death in Venice
Published in 1912, it’s about the fall of the repressed writer Gustav von Aschenbach, when his supposedly objective appreciation of a young boy’s beauty becomes sexual obsession.
It explores the link between creativity and self-destruction, and by the end Aschenbach’s humiliation is complete, dying on a deckchair in the act of ogling. Aschenbach's stalking of the boy and dreaming of pederasty can appal modern readers, even more than Mann expected.
Karolina Watroba, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in Modern Languages at All Souls College, University of Oxford
Erica Wickerson, a Former Research Fellow at St Johns College, University of Cambridge
Sean Williams, Senior Lecturer in German and European Cultural History at the University of Sheffield
Sean Williams' series of Radio 3's The Essay, Death in Trieste, can be found here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001lzd4