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Muerte en Venecia Muerte en Venecia
by Alexandra Pereira
2007-11-02 10:38:39
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En esta lectura de Muerte en Venecia, este me pareció un libro aunque si bien mas que perfecto del punto de vista de su estructura, se entiende mejor desde el prisma que lo leí la primera vez. Quiero volver a leerlo más veces porque descubriré más cosas. Es decir, se trata de una obra formalmente perfecta, con sus presagios y augurios, metáforas y desenlaces (clímax al final o múltiples clímax) es un libro cómo una maquillaje, como una tintura de cabello para ponerse bonito para la eternidad.

La noción de belleza del escritor, su voluntad de alcanzar lo bello clásico y eterno, lo conducen a un periplo por Venecia, tratando de espiar a un joven polaco, a tal punto que la familia del adorado adolescente, empieza a preocuparse por esto, intentando alejarlo. Es que el joven extraña un padre que procura en el viejo un tipo de familiaridad que no tiene el mismo suceso que la intimidad que busca el escritor, lo cuál proyecta en Tadzio sus propios deseos pervertidos (Mann las hace lo tiempo todo, mdiante esas proyecciones e identificaciones proyectivas que afortunadamente las ha sublimando en el libro) Yo creo que esa proyección en el libro lo impidió de consumar sus deseos. Además la identificación proyectiva ocurre no sólo en dirección a Tadzio, sino también en la dirección al Arte y a los artistas en general.

La homosexualidad, su tendencia pedófila sobretodo, surge disfrazada y confundida de sensibilidad artística, en un juego permanente consigo mismo, una mentira defensiva quizás. La embriaguez del arte lo debilita, su ilusión de espíritu recubre todo, incluso a los signos de la morbidez física y al mismo tiempo logra una muerte más suave con el protagonista. El ser amado es solamente un objeto que lo conduce a lo sublime, lo ayuda a elevarse en el cielo, hasta la eternidad. Se ensaya una muerte perfecta, apasionada, para embalsamar un deseo prohibido. Un maquillaje de una desnudez de sí mismo, cómo un actor que se castiga y se disculpa al mismo tiempo, una farsa.

Más que todo, me interesan los múltiples niveles en el libro, considero a esto su gran riqueza, como la ambigüedad introducida por las diferentes posibilidades interpretativas. Por un lado, el modo cómo el libro es una maquillaje disciplinado de una supuesta redención que termina con el castigo del protagonista o su venganza suprema (cómo se quiera entender) una vez que se ha ido por la vereda de una luz de inmortalidad, a encontrarse y juntarse en ella a su arquetipo de belleza. La obra de arte por su carácter inmortal, es antes de todo el espacio donde se encuentran ambos. Al mismo tiempo, el libro levanta cuestiones muchísimo importantes sobre la naturaleza del amor o del deseo (creo que nadie se va indiferente a esto después de leerlo) lo que es legítimo o no, el choque entre lo que es socialmente permitido y lo que existe de por sí, quien puede juzgar a quien, quien puede o debe hacerlo en términos de sexualidad.

Pero en otro nivel de análisis Tadzio podría perfectamente ser él mismo, no más que una metáfora de la obra de arte. Eso me interesa mucho, más que encararlo solo cómo un semidiós. Se así fuera literalmente, entonces el simbolismo del libro cambiaría mucho, enteramente, la muerte surgiría cómo una despedida entre el artista y su obra, con el primero venciendo. ¿O es antes que el artista se debe de despojar de toda la humanidad, de su objeto de amor? ¿Es que él solo puede amar a arquetipos? Es Mann un actor que se descubre y vuelve a recubrirse con sus diversas máscaras y defensas. Uno casi podría pensar (y eso me divierte, lo confieso) que el triunfo máximo de Mann – pero eso tendría que ser muy genial, y por qué no – podría haber aumentado el nivel de farsa para engañar a todos, sublimarlo de manera a que pensasen que el viejo seria él efectuando su redención. Esa sería la suprema mascarada y eso sí, un verdadero triunfo, cómo una muerte en Venecia, frente al mar. ¿Pero quien puede saberlo de veras?


    
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Emanuel Paparella2007-11-02 11:45:39

You are right on target Ms. Pereira, every time one reads Mann’s Death in Venice one understands something else about oneself. All great literature does that. In fact, at the age of Professor’s Aschenbach and beyond that understanding may even prove to be more revealing. Rivers of ink have been utilized to analyze the literary merits of “Der Tod in Venedig.” The short novel was even made into a movie starring Dirk Bogart as Professor von Aschenbach, the fifty four year old man of iron discipline and intellectual integrity who finds himself dying his hair red and stalking a young Polish boy at the Lido beach in Venice, a rather farcical but rather common phenomenon in academia . Professor so and so is a model of stern morality and intellectual rigor, but periodically he will disappear from sight because he is in a state (at times induced by alcohol) in which he says and does things that are shocking to those who know him in more normal circumstances. Both Heinrich and Thomas Mann were fascinated by this phenomenon (to be traced all the way back to Homer) of the revolt of the shadow world which can perhaps be characterized as the phenomenon of Jekyll and Hyde in human nature. One thinks of Orson Welles’ voice on the radio: “The shadow knows.” What interested the brothers Mann was the “revolt of the shadow world” which may have been too long ignored or denied by the conscious self. (continued below)


Emanuel Paparella2007-11-02 11:47:31
Carl Jung came close to explaining it psychologically when he wrote about psychic explosions from the unconscious mind analogous to volcanic explosions in the physical world. Jung claimed that if one is not making an effort to assimilate and appropriate “the shadow world” (Die Schattenwelt) to the conscious self, one runs the risk of those explosions. Then one will invariably project those shadows on others. But of course there is much more than psychology in Der Tod in Venedig.


Emanuel Paparella2007-11-02 14:08:39
P.S. Rarely does a film surpass its literary source, but that may be the case here and if it is it is mainly due to Bogarde's fine performance but more importantly to Mahler's powerful haunting music (Adagietto from Symphony n. 5)which is in complete synchronicity with the story and the film. It is like watching and listening to a great Opera. One is brought back to Keats'Ode to a Grecian Urn: Beauty is Truth, Truth is Beauty and that is all ye need to know on earth.


Sand2007-11-02 17:50:07
Jung's fascination with explosions extended, of course, to his conviction that an occasional book spontaneously exploded on his bookshelf. Further information on Jung's appetite for oddities can be seen at http://www.nous.org.uk/Jung2.html


Sand2007-11-02 18:10:27
The history of mankind reveals that it has made extraordinary accomplishment but the state of the planet and of civilization is undeniably in a very dangerous condition which threatens all life on Earth. This is the truth and anyone who finds it beautiful has very strange standards indeed.


Emanuel Paparella2007-11-02 18:30:11
En la biografia de Anthony Heilbut "Eros and Literature" que examina los diarios de Thomas Mann descubrimos que habia existido un real Tadzio quando Mann y su esposa y su hermano en el verano de el 1911 estaban al hotel De Baines en Venezia y alli encuentra Wladyslaw Moes, un ni~no Polaco de 11 a~nos. Sin embargo ud. tienes razon en suspectar que Tadzio podria ser una metafora, o mejor, un archetypo Junghiano. Podria ser tambien come ud. implica Sen.a Pereira al final de su reflexion que Mann nos esta presentando una farsa bien conocida en el mundo academico. Se sabe bien que el mismo era un heterosexual. Para sustener esto suspecho seria suficiente considerar la primera acclamada novela de Mann: "Buddensbrooks: Verall einer Familie" que parece en un livel una pura farsa de su misma familia. Ah, las complicaciones y ambiguedades del arte!


Sand2007-11-02 18:37:25
You can run but you cannot hide.


Emanuel Paparella2007-11-02 20:39:31
Der Tod in Venedig ha sido hecho en una Opera tambien; Opera es quisas el medio perfecto por tha poetica de Thomas Mann.


Emanuel Paparella2007-11-02 21:01:59
Uno de los niveles de la obra es la lucha entre el rationale y el subcosciente. La mayoria de los rationalistas leeran el libro y concluderan, come se vee en algunos commentos aqui escrito que no hay alchemia que puede transformar el sordido y el terribe en el bello. Giambattista Vico lama esos typos "los barbaros del intellecto."


Alexandra Pereira2007-11-03 23:44:01
Death in Venice interests me because of the city where disease spreads being a metaphor for the nazi regime in Germany, with death blooming. Tadzio is the perfect Arian, and could be the Young Werther from Goethe (itself autobiographic)- author whose works Mann studied deeply - a few years younger. For me, Mann was, more than simply a man interested in other men, a pedophile. He was attracted by fragility - in Death in Venice, the film by Visconti, that becomes even more obvious for visual reasons: Tadzio dressing as a sailor in the city of sailors - the little boy of his mom still, who seems to dress him up as if in a symbolic and appropriate cloak, like for carnival - is nothing more than a fetish for Aschenbach, even his teenager games are always seen with jealousy by the older Mann. Tadzio entering the sea and fusing himself with the plague environment is very symbolic. Mann knew the nazism was rotten too, and he felt part of that degradation (and was, until convenience reasons made him rethink his speech later in life). The brother's were both novelists, but Heinrich ideology is not comparable to Mann's one, and was the reason for the long dispute between them.


Alexandra Pereira2007-11-03 23:46:18
Correction: the brothers


Alexandra Pereira2007-11-03 23:54:23
Also, there's a lot of hypocrisy in all this. Mann created the perfect novel, of course. Still everybody knows how Mann took advantage of his dear Adorno theories on Wagner's music, of Schoenberg's music and young Paul Erhenberg's talent to create his own art. Academics seem to forget that.


Alexandra Pereira2007-11-04 00:02:40
I mean, it's not just a matter of humanity, but also of intellectual honesty (and I suppose that should be important for academics?).


Alexandra Pereira2007-11-04 00:38:24
Of course the important questions it raises in terms of sexuality and desire or love, what is permitted or not, who can judge who ect. should be thought as well, besides its aesthetic side and the problem of beauty. Still it is a bit nauseating how Mann glues his deviation to artists (don't forget he was mostly attracted by young artists) and Art, or how he adheres to nazist racism and faces his homossexual tendency as "genetic" because his mother had portuguese, brazilian and indigenous ascendants, something exotic he associated with an "exacerbated" and inappropriate sexuality. We see who was off the track...


Alexandra Pereira2007-11-04 00:40:13
attracted to


Emanuel Paparella2007-11-04 10:03:13
Interesting comments, except for the non sequitur "you can run but cannot hide" which must have been proffered by its source as he ran from Ovi to A Lamb without Guide for three months or so. Junghian projection? Quien sabe!


Sand2007-11-04 11:16:17
As I explained very clearly before (and which you choose to ignore) I found you had absolutely no mental flexibility to answer my queries and I gave you up as a lost cause. The editors of OVI met with me and asked me to return. Since then I have had some exercise kicking a dead horse with no expectations of arousal, not being Jesus.


Sand2007-11-04 11:37:16
Beyond that, I did not "run" to the Lamb site, I merely complimented the site owner on his acumen in writing you off as a fool independent of any stimulus on my part. Since you are obviously horrified by being correctly classified you contributed several vociferous and ineffective tirades to the site with no notable effect except to blow off your overpressurized steam.


Emanuel Paparella2007-11-04 15:52:17
Indeed, anybody who disagrees with one's "enlightened" positions especially on the bashing or religion in general has to be a fool and a dead horse to boot. But that is a paradox that can be understoo only under the light of free speech and freedom of religion which I believe the editors of this magazine grasp but alas you have considerable difficulty wrapping your mind around. In any case every group has its masked clowns. Can we now include among your self-proclaimed titles that of "dead horse beaters" to be added to "dog catcher fetcher," "intellectual hygienist," "guardian of the gate of political correctness, poetics of farts and argumenti ad canem," "Frankestain of monsters turned into dogs and dead horses." What was Voltaire's only answered prayer? No, not the dictum "I'll disagree with you but I'll defend to death your right to disagree" wrongly imputed to him but that other one about the only prayer answered in his life. Surely, as an "enlightened" rationalist you know.


Sand2007-11-04 16:09:00
Paparella, your hubris in declaring yourself my enemy is ludicrous. They are made of far sterner stuff. And I do not have to plead to God to make you ridiculous since you are so adept in that yourself. Among your other amusing fantasies is that my presentation of some truths about Catholics is "bashing". Bashing requires malevolent distortion whereas I merely point out historical fact. Since these simple revelations are unacceptable to your very slanted viewpoint you feel persecuted and somehow feel I am actively suppressing your speech. This is obviously beyond my power.I am delighted in your speech because every one of your utterances reveal you for the bent mentality you are.


Emanuel Paparella2007-11-04 23:33:15
Spoken as an innocent lamb in aearch of a light, or is it a wolf in sheep's clothing? The shadow knows!


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