''Death in Venice'' is a 1912 novella written by the German author, Creator/ThomasMann (original title ''Der Tod in Venedig''). The story is about an aged writer, Gustav von Aschenbach, who travels to Venice on advice of his doctor and falls in love with a stunningly good-looking, aristocratic boy of fourteen, Tadzio, to whom he never speaks. Gustav finds himself drawn deeply into a ruinous inward passion, which has bad consequences for him, as there is a cholera epidemic currently going down in the city.
The novella is highly autobiographical: while holidaying in Venice, thirty-seven-year-old Mann, a married father, had crushed from afar on a ten-year-old Polish aristocrat, Wladyslaw Moes. Benjamin Britten has adapted this into an opera, and director Creator/LuchinoVisconti made a 1971 film adaptation of the novella (Film/MorteAVenezia) starring Dirk Bogarde and Björn Andrésen.
!!This work provides examples of:
* BlueBlood: The boy was born into nobility; Aschenbach was recently raised to nobility for his artistic achievements.
* DownerEnding: Because of Gustav's reluctance to leave Venice (because it will mean leaving Tadzio), he contracts and dies of the cholera that is sweeping the city.
* LongHairedPrettyBoy: Tadzio.
* LongingLook: The way Aschenbach looks at Tadzio throughout his stay.
* LoverAndBeloved: Aschenbach constructs a complex fantasy life around the boy.
* LoveAtFirstSight: Aschenbach is instantly struck by Tadzio's beauty.
* LoveEpiphany: The boy's beauty makes Aschenbach aware of true artistic beauty.
* LoveMakesYouCrazy: Gustav starts to do crazy things, like dye his hair and wear makeup, in order to appear younger for the boy.
* PrettyBoy: Tadzio
* StalkerWithACrush: Gustav's obsession with Tadzio has more than a few shades of this.
* UnresolvedSexualTension: Aschenbach's desire is painted in non-sexual terms, but c'mon...
* WhatBeautifulEyes: Tadzio's most striking feature, at least according to Gustav.
* WretchedHive: Pre-UsefulNotes/WorldWarI Venice is portrayed as a CrapsaccharineWorld version of one, a city that hides growing corruption under a pretty face.