Thomas Mann (6 June 1875 - 12 August 1955) was a German novelist, short story writer, social critic, philanthropist, essayist, and 1929 Nobel Prize laureate, known for his series of highly symbolic and ironic epic novels and novellas, noted for their insight into the psychology of the artist and the intellectual. Mann's brother Heinrich was also a novelist, who fled Germany when the Nazis came to power in 1933.
Mann's Wikipedia entry
Mann won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1929 for his body of work, which
included the epic Buddenbrooks, The Magic Mountain and
many novellas and short stories. His writing covered many themes,
including the conflict between the dionysiac (erotic / emotional) and
apollonian (restrained / intellectual) aspects of personality touched on
in Death in Venice and the ideological conflicts of the first
half of the twentieth century.
Mann's diaries reveal that he was erotically attracted to young men. They also reveal - although it is difficult to prove a negative -
that his erotic attraction never became sexual activity. Indeed, he was happily married and fathered six children. According to Wikipedia, Mann's relationship with his son Klaus was difficult, although it is not certain to what extent, if at all, this was a result of Klaus's relatively open homosexuality.
Which begs the question - did Mann intend
Death in Venice to be no more than a discourse on beauty - beauty which happened to be
The Hôtel des Bains in the 1920s
incarnate in a fourteen-year-old boy, but which could have
manifested itself in a girl of the same age, an adult of either sex, a painting or other artefact, a feature of nature? Or did he - consciously or
subsconsciously - reflect the sexual attraction that handsome pubescent boys have for some men and women? The issue is raised in Sex in Venice?
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