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The Real Tadzio: Thomas Mann's Death in Venice and the Boy Who Inspired It Paperback – July 23, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Carroll & Graf (July 23, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786712473
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786712472
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,759,112 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"[An] elegantly and nuanced essay ... Adair has made of it a perfect miniature."

More About the Author

GILBERT ADAIR was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1944 and moved to Paris as a young man, because, as he told an interviewer, "If you were a film buff in the sixties, you went to Paris." Adair later returned to the UK and spent his time writing experimental fiction, as well as film and literary criticism. His works include The Death of the Author, The Holy Innocents, later made into Bernardo Bertolucci's film The Dreamers; The Postmodernist Always Rings Twice, a book of literary criticism; and the novel Love and Death in Long Island. Adair lives in London.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 2, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Thomas Mann's novella "Death in Venice" written in 1911 has proven to be one of the more enduring, widely read stories in all of 20th Century literature. Originally published by Mann in a selection of short stories, the tale is one of the clash of the Apollonian and Dionysian conflict in the guise of one Gustav von Aschenbach, dropping his wholly cerebral life, to fall in love with a young Polish lad (Tadzio, who represents earthly Dionysian beauty at the stage of puberty) in Venice, Italy when the threat of cholera threatened the life of the city. The story has captured the imagination of philosophers, readers, historians, thinkers concerned with gender studies - and musicians and filmmakers!
The story has been published in many languages, served as the subject for Luchino Visconti's hauntingly beautiful film (1971) by the same name, and resulted in Benjamin Britten's last opera (1973) also with the name "Death in Venice" in tact. Gender studies writers claim this novella to be one of the most successful stories of same sex love, and other famous writers took the lead from Mann in putting into novel form the 'unspeakable subject'.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A. Hickman on May 7, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is a lovely little book (barely 100 pages, with pictures) by Gilbert Adair, the author of "Love and Death on Long Island," which traces the life story of the Polish boy, Wladyslaw Moes, who served as the muse for Thomas Mann's novella, "Death in Venice." Moes' story, which follows his fortunes through two wars and his death in the 1980s, is fascinating, and along the way Adair finds time to meditate on Visconti's 1970s film of the book, which, when he saw it, first alerted Moes to the fact that he had been the inspiration for Tadzio, as well as on Visconti's own identification with Aschenbach. Adair further speculates on the novel's position as the top gay classic of all time. I especially liked Adair's observation that another Visconti masterpiece, the woefully neglected "Conversation Piece," represents an updating of the Mann story to post-World War II Italy, with Burt Lancaster in the Aschenbach/Visconti role and Helmut Berger as Tadzio/himself. Readers will note that Adair's own "Love and Death" is yet another updating of the same tale. Taken ounce for ounce, a very substantial read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Loves the View VINE VOICE on July 9, 2010
Format: Paperback
This short book gives something of the life of Wladyslaw Moes, the model for Thomas Mann's Tadzio in his classic novella: Death in Venice. It also tells of his friend Jaschiu Fudakowski who is also described in the famous work. The sources seem to be Wladyslaw's daughter and Fudakowski's son.

The two were more or less stumbled upon by a novelist. In this randomness they can be said to stand as proxy for their fellow aristocrats and how they fared in the forces of history. While Mann's novel is not about this, it does draw a portrait upper class European life at the dawn of the twentieth century. Tadzio's generation would be the last to inherit life as is depicted in Mann's novel. Both the real Tadzio and his friend were soon to lose their lives of privilege, and eventually, everything. Their summer on the beach, beautifully described by Mann was not to be bestowed on their children as it was on them.

This book discusses the two friends, how they were portrayed in the film and how so soon after this summer they both went to war. In the next war, both became POWs. Both eventually lost lands, businesses and status. Later in life, both saw themselves and their carefree youth epicted in the Viscounti film.

There is an update on Bjorn Anderson who played Tadzio in the Viscounti film. Young Anderson's career peaked with the film.

The book is short. Perhaps this is all readers of the novel may want to know. For historians, these families are would make excellent case studies and are worthy of a more in depth work.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 1, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Thomas Mann's novella "Death in Venice" written in 1911 has proven to be one of the more enduring, widely read stories in all of 20th Century literature. Originally published by Mann in a selection of short stories, the tale is one of the clash of the Apollonian and Dionysian conflict in the guise of one Gustav von Aschenbach, dropping his wholly cerebral life, to fall in love with a young Polish lad (Tadzio, who represents earthly Dionysian beauty at the stage of puberty) in Venice, Italy when the threat of cholera threatened the life of the city. The story has captured the imagination of philosophers, readers, historians, thinkers concerned with gender studies - and musicians and filmmakers!
The story has been published in many languages, served as the subject for Luchino Visconti's hauntingly beautiful film (1971)by the same name, and resulted in Benjamin Britten's last opera (1973) also with the name "Death in Venice" in tact. Gender studies writers claim this novella to be one of the most successful stories of same sex love, and other famous writers took the lead from Mann in putting into novel form the 'unspeakable subject'.
Read more ›
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