Browse By Author: M - Project Gutenberg
There was, however, more to this book than the biographies of Goethe and Lotte. Involved in the work was a third biography--that of the author. There was a trend noticeable during Dr. Mann's first twenty years of productive life, when he could not free himself of his pessimistic conviction that life was beautiful but dull and that death was the best possible release. But in his Goethe novel for the first time the artist had not to die to be creative. He had to live.
SparkNotes: Death in Venice: Context
The author's seventieth birthday was marked in June, 1945, by a dinner in the grand ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Prominent Americans eulogized him while the author himself turned his address of thanks into tribute to the late President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In an editorial, "Thomas Mann, American," The New York Times said upon the occasion:
In his "Tonio Kroeger" Dr. Mann considered himself as an oddity and a social outcast; then, in "Death in Venice" as the conscious and perfected artist who lived solely for beauty, willing, if need be, to die for it. One of his earliest novels, "Royal Highness," appeared in Germany as far back as 1905, but was long overlooked in this country, where it was not published until 1916. That it was republished in 1939 pointed to the fact that the author revealed in this work his prescience of world problems.