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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 29 | volume V | November-December, 2002



                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 29November-December, 2002

The One in The Couple

p. 1
Jasna Koteska

In a Couple With a Foreigner

    The short novel Death in Venice[4], by Thomas Mann, represents the structure of a lover in love with a foreigner. The impossible couple here includes the homosexual love between an old man and an underage boy. This love is impossible according to the Law of the community, which is why it needs violation of the Law and collapse of the values of the Society, in order for the love to be possible.
    The hero of the novel is Gustave von Aschenbach, well known and recognized German writer, who is advanced in age and faces a creative crisis as a result of the disciplined, strictly controlled creative life. One morning, after the hard, but sterile creative session, takes a walk around the graveyards of Munich and sees a strange figure of a newcomer. The foreigner, dressed as a tourist, has a peculiar bearing, and reminds Aschenbach of jungles, tigers and southern countries. Exhausted from the pressure of writing, Aschenbach decides to take a trip to Venice. On the ship that travels to Venice, he observes a group of boys, and among them, a boy dressed as an old man, with fake teeth, wig and rouge, which upsets and disgusts Aschenbach. He runs way from the “young-old horror” as Mann’s narrator describes him, and gets on a gondola, which is to take him to the city. The gondolier is a criminal subject, as Aschenbach find out later “a man without a license”. The gondolier takes him to a wrong address, and doesn’t accept money for the ride, saying that his trip will be “paid out”. In the hotel, a Polish family with many children attracts his attention. Among the children, Aschenbach sees the beautiful face and body of the 14-year-old Tadzio. Aschenbach is thrilled by his appearance and very excitedly compares him with Greek gods and the ideal of male aesthetics. Aschenbach is obsessed with the young Tadzio, he follows his play on the beach, the strolls with his mother and the nannies, until he admits to himself that he is actually– in love with him. Tadzio becomes aware of the glances of the old German tourist, and gradually begins to look back at him. At the same time, in Venice cholera is spread, coming from the Indian ships. Although the local hotel owners deny the disease, more and more tourists leave the place. Aschenbach finds out about


4. Thomas Mann, Der Tod in Venedig, 1912 (Macedonian translation: Smrt vo Venecija, Detska Radost, Skopje, 1997).

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