The novel Death in Venice was written by Thomas Mann and published in the year of 1912. It was originally written in German and then first published in English in periodical form The Dial in 1924. The novel is common with allusions from antiquity forward, especially relating to Greek antiquity and to many German works which include literary, art-historical, musical, as well as visual works. The basic plot of the novel presents a great writer suffering from writer's block that visits Venice and is enlightened and lifted, then increasingly obsessed, by the sight of a stunningly beautiful young boy. Though he never speaks to the boy, much less touches him, the writer finds himself intensely drawn deep into disastrous inward passion; meanwhile Venice, and finally the writer himself, succumb to a cholera plague. Some of the themes included in this novel are:
Decadence/degeneracy: This was extremely popular European literature at the time. In Death in Venice, the issue of decadence appears through Aschenbach's romanticized feelings for the Tadzio. Although the feeling's spring from a reasonable source (the boy's beauty), Aschenbach is decadent in how excessively passionate his feelings are, and his obsession leads to his downfall also seen as degeneracy.
Environment: Von Aschenbach, as a sensitive artist, is especially subject to his environment. Von Aschenbach's moods are closely tied to the weather, and he decides to leave his first vacation spot in search of another merely because the weather and atmosphere did not suit him.
Costume/disguise: Costuming and artificiality strike von Aschenbach immediately, whether negatively or positively. On the ship to Venice, von Aschenbach immediately notices a group of young men and sees an older man who, by wearing a certain type of clothing and even putting makeup on his face, is attempting to appear young. Despite von Aschenbach's disgust at this old young man's vanity, the writer makes similar changes to his...