First Advisor

Steven N. Fuller

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in German






Thomas Mann 1875-1955. Tod in Venedig, Homosexuality in literature



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, 63 p.)


In the late 1970s and early 1980s, previously unpublished portions of Thomas Mann's diaries were released for publication. These excerpts contained passages that removed all previous doubt as to Mann's sexual proclivities, affirming his homosexual inclinations. It had been suspected that Mann was homosexual before this time, but there was no conclusive proof until the release of the now-famous (or infamous) diary entries. Now that there is written proof of Mann's sexual orientation, literary scholars can more persuasively argue the often overlooked or circumvented homosexual aspects of his writings. This thesis is an investigation of the homoerotic elements in Thomas Mann's novella, Death in Venice. The present study draws out the homoerotic elements of the text and places them in a socio-historical context. Textual analysis, as it concerns coded homosexual desire, as well as a biographical schema of Mann highlight the homoerotic characterizations in the novella. The analysis is based in an historical context, a time when homosexual expression was strictly illegal. The tension created between Mann's need to process his homosexuality and his internal moral code - as well as the external moral code of Wilhelmine Germany - forced him to contrive a story in which he could only present homosexual desire in code or via allusions to the homosexuality of Ancient Greece.


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