Death in Venice, tells about a ruius quest for love and beauty amid degenerating splendor. Gustav von Aschenbach, a successful but lonely author, travels to the Queen of the Adriatic in search of an elusive spiritual fulfillment that turns into his erotic doom. Spellbound by a beautiful Polish boy, he finds himself fettered to this hyptic city of sun-drenched sensuality and eerie physical decay as it gradually succumbs to a secret epidemic. In his vella Tonio Kroger, Mann poetically traces a young writer's struggle between bourgeois strictures and artistic genius. Skillful dialogue and language reflect the title character's emotional conflicts, especially in his wistful visit to his home town and his sentimental journey to the Baltic. Gladius Dei, in contrast, is a sardonic depiction of a self-styled warrior of God, who battles against the sexual openness and profanity of Munich, the art center of rthern Europe. In The Blood of the Walsungs, set in turn-of-the-century Berlin, a wealthy Jewish family, modeled after the family of Thomas Mann's wife, is excoriated in a Wagnerian evening that ends in self-loathing and self-loving incest.
Thomas Mann was born in 1875 in Germany. He was only twenty-five when his first novel, Buddenbrooks, was published. In 1924, The Magic Mountain was published, and, five years later, Mann was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Following the rise of the Nazis to power, he left Germany for good in 1933 to live in Switzerland and then in California, where he wrote Doctor Faustus (first published in the United States in 1948). Thomas Mann died in 1955.