David Bowie Was Probably Worse Than A Rapist

Writers Without Money


When I was an undergraduate at Rutgers University back in the 1980s, my favorite book was probably Death in Venice by Thomas Mann. Made into a film in 1971 by the Italian director Luchino Visconti, it told the story the last days of Gustav von Aschenbach. A renowned German novelist in his early 50s, Aschenbach, who is suffering from writer’s block, has come to Venice to get back in touch with the wellsprings of his creative imagination. Instead, he develops an obsession with a teenage boy, a Polish aristocrat on holiday with his family. Death in Venice isn’t a “coming out” story. Visconti was openly gay, and Mann certainly “gay curious”, but Aschenbach is heterosexual. Tadzio, the Polish teenager, does not represent a suppressed homosexual impulse finally liberated by the necessity of coming to terms with writer’s block. Rather, he is the unattainable aesthetic ideal an artist follows until he…

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