Synopses & Reviews
A Queer Film Classic on Luchino Visconti's lyrical and controversial 1971 film based on Thomas Mann's novel about a middle-aged man (played by Dirk Bogarde) vacationing in Venice who becomes obsessed with a youth staying at the same hotel as a wave of cholera descends upon the city. The book analyzes its cultural impact and provides a vivid portrait of the director, an ardent Communist and grand provocateur.
Will Aitken's novels include Realia and Terre Haute. Arsenal's Queer Film Classics series cover some of the most important and influential films about and by LGBTQ people.
"A romp ... Aitken zigzags from Platen to Plato to Viscontis love life with irresistible charm." Andrew Holleran, Washington Post
"There is much to admire in Aitken's poetic and personal account of the film ... [It] begins to unfold the complexity and richness of a film whose true brilliance many have yet failed to appreciate." Film Quarterly
"Will Aitkens superb study of Death in Venice grasps the prickliest nettles surrounding the film just how homosexual Mann, the novel and the film really are, the notion of decadence, the films soporific languor and its supposed queer abjectionand subjects them to a scrutiny at once unflinching, generous and constantly illuminating. This is a model of how to intertwine personal response, empirical detail, precise filmic description and wider theoretical issues without ever collapsing these into each other. And it is written with a wonderfully judged wryness and fluency that beautifully evokes and vindicates a magnificent, troubling film." Richard Dyer
"As a longtime devotee of the films of Luchino Visconti, Im thrilled to report that this new critical study on the work of Visconti is an admirable addition to any film aficionados library." Gay and Lesbian Review
A Queer Film Classic on Luchino Viscontis lyrical 1971 film adaptation of the Thomas Mann novel.
About the Author
Will Aitken: Will Aitken is a novelist, journalist, screenwriter, multimedia director and teacher born in Terre Haute, Indiana and now based in Montreal. His novels include Realia, A Visit Home
and Terre Haute.
He has written for The Paris Review
and a variety of other publications and worked as a writer-broadcaster for the CBC, the BBC and NPR.