“Von Aschenbach has been an artist but a very formulaic one. He’s had great acclaim, but he’s never been struck by the divine madness. And then he is struck. In Death in Venice—as in Plato’s Phaedrus—an erotic madness and artistic madness are merged together; for von Aschenbach the instrument of this merging is Tadzio, a young boy. The mad experience is falling in love with beauty, as embodied in this young boy. What the novel is really asking us to contemplate or judge is: is it the good, or is it the bad kind of madness?” Read more...
The Best Philosophical Novels