February Selection: Thomas Mann, Death in Venice, 1913

For February, 2011, David Gilmour has selected Death in Venice by Thomas Mann (German title: Tod in Venedig, published 1913).  Awarded the Nobel literary prize in 1929, Thomas Mann (1875-1955) was a major 20th-century novelist, famous for works such as The Magic Mountain (1924), Joseph and his Brothers (a tetralogy, 1933-43), and Doctor Faustus (1948).  David suggests the translation by H. T. Lowe-Porter, Mann’s translator of choice:  Death in Venice and Seven Other Stories in any of the Vintage Books editions.  A 70-page novella, Death in Venice can be read in a very short time; therefore, for comparison and contrast, he recommends a reading of one or two of the shorter works in the edition, especially Tonio Kröger, a short novella, written a decade earlier than the longer work of the title.  The other stories are: “Mario and the Magician,” “Disorder and Early Sorrow,” “A Man and his Dog,” “The Blood of the Walsungs,” “Tristan,” and  “Felix Krull.”

Other translations of Death in Venice are available, among them a new one by Michael Henry Heim is commendable (HarperCollins Ecco paperback, 2005), but it contains none of the other stories.  Mann’s short stories, including Death in Venice, can be found in a collection entitled  Stories of Three Decades (first published in 1930), all stories translated by Lowe-Porter.


About Ron Boothe

I am a Professor Emeritus at Emory University, currently living in Tacoma Washington USA.
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