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Der Tod in Venedig : novella into film Meakins, Donald George 1973

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DER TOD IN VENEDIG:3 NOVELLA INTO FILM ,  by DONALD GEORGE MEAKINS B.A., University of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1967  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS  i n the Programme •^  in Comparative L i t e r a t u r e  We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA A p r i l , 1973  In presenting  this thesis i n p a r t i a l fulfilment of the requirements for  an advanced degree at the University of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the Library s h a l l make i t f r e e l y available for reference  and  study.  I further agree that permission for extensive copying of t h i s thesis for scholarly purposes may by h i s representatives.  be granted by the Head of my Department or  It i s understood that copying or publication  of t h i s thesis for f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be allowed without my written permission.  Department The University of B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver 8 , Canada  ABSTRACT The problem under investigation i n this paper is that of the cinematic adaptation of Thomas Mann's novella Der Tod i n Venedig. There are three main chapters. Chapter one provides background on the film's director, Luchino Visconti.  It establishes the corpus of thought and film  production into which the literary text i s f i r s t assimilated. Chapter two details the major result of the director's attempt both to be faithful to his source material and to express something of himself —  the changing of the novella's hero, Gustav  von Aschenbach, from a writer into a composer loosely modelled on Gustav Mahler, and the concommitant use of music by Mahler. This pivotal change is discussed by an analysis of the director's own reasons for such a change and the pattern of ambiguity and irony created by the film's musical score. The third chapter deals with what has been gained and what lost in the process of adaptation the gains derived from the visualisation of Venice and certain of the novella's characters, the loss of the philosophic dimension and the sense of tragedy.  Individual additions and deletions  are discussed with the stress being on the inclusion of the ten flashback sequences.  The concluding remarks establish the indivi-  duality of Morte a Venezia, distinguishing between Mann's "tragic" novella and Visconti's cinematic melodrama.  - i i-  TABLE OF CONTENTS  i)  Introduction  ii)  Visconti's filmography  iii)  The addition of Mahler's music  p.  1  . . . p.  6  - reasons f o r Visconti's choice - p o s s i b i l i t i e s of parody iv)  p. 13 ...p.20  Changes - the flashbacks  p. 38  - the characterization of Aschenbach . . .  p. 48  - further additions  p. 56  v)  Concluding Remarks.  vi)  Bibliography  and deletions  p. 70 . p. 77  "To draw i s to subtract" Max Liebermann Liebermann's dictum is quoted in Realism in our Time by Georg Lukacs, who goes on to amplify i t into an admittedly overly abstract definition:  "art is the selection of the essential and subtraction  of the inessential" (p. 53).  Liebermann's aphorism loses none of  its force i f the artist in question paints his pictures with light and shadow, imprinting his images on celluloid through complicated physical and chemical processes. remains paramount.  The role of choice, of discretion,  But before being faced with the problem of i n -  ternal composition and mounting, our artist must f i r s t choose a subject i n keeping with his medium of expression. Luchino Visconti chose to adapt Thomas Mann's Der Tod in Venedig to the screen.  This i n i t i a l choice w i l l entail many additions and  deletions vis a vis the basic text; that the novella w i l l be distorted is inevitable, even desirable — for faithfulness.^  to a point unfaithfulness is a requisite  For film adaptation i s largely a matter of analogy.  In adapting novel or novella to the screen, the adaptor i s advised to consider the narrative prose as raw material:  "He looks not to the  organic novel, whose language i s inseparable from i t s theme, but to characters and incidents which have somehow detached themselves 2  from language and ... have achieved a mythic l i f e of their  own."  Close attention must be given to the process of concretizing this raw material, for films act upon us perceptually —  "between the  percept of the visual image and the concept of the mental image lies  - 2 3  the root difference between the two media"  *  •— and are therefore hard  put to capture concepts or verbal abstractions.  The pressure of the  physical and of objects and details is inescapable:  "Emphasized or  not, invited or not, the physical world through the intensifications 4 of photography never stops insisting on i t s presence and  relevance."  When transferred to the screen, literariness acquires a different weight or specificity and varying degrees of obviousness that may do harm to the writer's original idea.  It is this germinative idea  that must be sought out and considered in terms of i t s cinematic adaptability and effectiveness. Seeking to "ripercorrere i l cammino iniziale (e non i l risultato terminale) dell'ispirazione artistica"^ of Mann, leads Visconti to seek the analagous situation or detail and not simply to transfer the principal elements of Mann's story directly to the screen.  In a  film that is already rather long this d i s t i l l a t i o n of the story, this effort to make tabula rasa, capture the essential in Mann's story, and with i t firmly in mind to create one's own work of art, is veritably the only path open to Visconti.  The measure of Visconti's  success w i l l in part be revealed in his "selection of the essential" and in the additions to and subtractions from the text which he deems necessary for the expression of this essence. This process of addition and subtraction w i l l inevitably yield both gain and loss vis a vis the original text.  Der Tod in Venedig  is a profoundly intellectual and ambiguous novella written in an  - 3 elegant, eminently literary style which does not facilitate screen adaptation.  The visualisation of Aschenbach and Venice, and the  added dimension of the film's musical score can be very effectively handled, but w i l l be hampered in their efforts to adequately express the novella's psychological insights and the underlying philosophical content which comes to the fore in the final Socratic discourse.  That which i s much more readily filmable i n Der Tod i n  Venedig and which constitutes the essence Visconti extracts from the tragedy of Gustav von Aschenbach, i s the melodrama which i s in every tragedy.  Visconti feels at home in the manners of melodrama .--  i t s purposeful exaggeration and freedom of feeling —  and i n "the  morals of melodrama - the projection upon the world of our irresponsible narcissistic fantasies."  7  Thus his attempt t o achieve. g  "an emotional response to the total impact of the narrative," express the effect and feel of the text.  to  An effort to understand  Visconti's positive approach to melodrama i s a precondition for any appraisal of Morte a Venezia.  Thus in addition to measuring Visconti's  success in terms of Der Tod in Venedig, allowance must be made for the interpolation of his own ideas and personality. Visconti's personal background and cinematic experience substantiate his ability to perform the very ambitious task of giving Mann's novella film form.  In doing so Visconti produces a tightly  structured film of great beauty, both aurally, by means of Mahler's Adagietto, and visually, by means of an unobtrusive camera and  - 4 -  sensitive attention to the details and surfaces which provide such expedient substance for film.  The result is the effective expression  of the novella's mood of refined sensuality and decadence.  Indeed,-  of the novella's qualities, Visconti can hope to capture l i t t l e more than this mood.  The novella's primary concerns —  the philoso-  phic dimension, the ambiguous concurrent rise and f a l l of Aschenbach, the  literary parody —  are concerns not easily expressed i n film; the  intellectuality and ambiguity reintroduced by Visconti do not make up for that which i s lost as an inevitable result of transliteration. The film adaptation of Der Tod in Venedig is a recreation of Thomas Mann's novella i n an a r t i s t i c medium which i s hard put to give i t adequate expression.  - 5REFERENCES  1. Micciche.  Morte a Venezla.  2. Bluestone. 3. Ibid, 4. Marcus.  Film and Literature,  p. 62  p. x i i i  op. c i t . p. 75  Bentley, Eric.  7. Ibid, 8.  Novels into Film,  p. 1  5. Micciche. 6.  p. 75  The Life of the Drama,  p. 218  p. 212  Solomon, Stanley J . The Film Idea,  p. 233  - 6Visconti (b. 1906) produced h i s f i r s t film, Ossessione, i n 1942.  P r i o r to this time his main a r t i s t i c stimulus had been pro-  vided by Jean Renoir, f o r whom he had designed costumes i n Paris i n 19 36, and with whom he worked i n 19 39 on the adaptation o f the Sardou/Puccini La Tosca, l a t e r becoming assistant director of the film.  Like Morte a Venezia, Visconti's f i r s t f i l m also makes use  of a l i t e r a r y source —  James Cain's The Postman Always Rings Twice  —  freely adapted to the needs of V i s c o n t i and a war-tom, f a s c i s t I t a l y . Ossessione already reveals two important aspects of Visconti's f i l m ography which w i l l reoccur frequently: h i s taste f o r s t o r i e s  about  destruction and ruin, and f o r s t o r i e s i n which his characters s u f f e r defeat —  Ossessione i s a story of corrosive sexual passion and  betrayal, as are b a s i c a l l y Senso (1954), Rocco e i Suoi F r a t e l l i (1960), Vaghe S t e l l e dell'Orsa (1965) and La Caduta degli Dei (1969), Though not generally considered a member of the I t a l i a n neo-realist movement, Visconti did produce a f i l m very representative of the movement —  "l'unico grande f i l m marxista d e l neorealismo"''" — i n  La Terra Trema (1947).  Adapted from Verga's  I Malavoglia, the f i l m  incorporates that d i a l e c t i c p e c u l i a r to V i s c o n t i , h i s a r i s t o c r a t i c background and culture on the one hand and h i s r a t i o n a l and marxist Weltanschauung on the other, i n that fundamental ness peculiar to h i s art. attempt  ambiguity and open-  The r e a l i t i e s of l i f e i n S i c i l y and the  to present an expose of the exploited impoverished masses,  are subtly filtered through Visconti's refined aesthetic sensibility and sense of theatre (his work in the theatre and in opera has continued unabated since 1937); the pessimistic fatalism and the materialism evident i n the film are offset by "a more optimistic intellectual 2  conception of the possibilities of human action;"  the harshness of  both image and concept i s tempered by stylised lyricism —  La Terra  Trema i s an exact transposition into the film medium of those operatic procedures which mark the style of his later study of decadence and 3 trasformismo, Senso.  The latter, adapted from the novella of the same  name by Camillo Boito, retains that dialectic which i s central to Visconti's work", but moves away from the more direct apprehension of reality of his f i r s t films, employing greater cultural and i n tellectual mediation, elements of melodrama, and setting up an ideal world of art, especially opera and painting, to mitigate the failure of socialist action, i.e. the Revolution i n Venice i n 1866. Visconti's next major feature film, Rocco e i Suoi F r a t e l l i , most clearly expresses the problematic centre of a l l his work: "a conception of the world which i s consistent i n i t s opposition of two conflicting ideals, one rooted emotionally i n the past, and 4  the other projected intellectually into the future."  This con-  ception i s also very forcefully put i n Visconti's second risorgimento film, II Gattopardo (1963).  Both films give great scope to the  demands made on the characters by a new order.  In the former, the  - 8 inability to adapt leads to tragedy, with Visconti's usual ambivalence expressed in the inevitability of the tragedy and in the vague possibility of something better to come. attempted revolution again  In the latter,  f a i l s , and the aristocracy gains an  ironic victory, living on in a world wreathed in nostalgia, a world which for Visconti aveva preso a morire nella seconda parte dell'800 quando g l i ultimi "gattopardi" s i erano inginocchiati a contemplare le stelle i n solitudine, incapaci di accettare i l nuovo e troppo intelligenti per ancorarsi al vecchio; ed aveva concluso l a propria agonia nell'11, su una spiaggia veneziana, ricercando l a Bellezza e l a Morte in una consapevole volonta di autodissolvimento, tendendo l a mano verso orizzonti ormai impossibili.^  Visconti's three most recent films are especially significant with regard to Morte a Venezia.  Vaghe Stelle dell'Orsa (English t i t l e :  Sandra) , a story of forbidden passion (incest) and the resurgence of a repressed past-, echoes with outside literary allusions, and makes heavy use generally of a "vistoso apparato culturale".  The theme of  decadence and death i s again in evidence, as i t i s , too, in the film immediately preceding Morte a_ Venezia, La Caduta degli Dei (English title:  The Damned). The latter i s an involved allegory set  against an almost overwhelming background of incipient Naziism and big business in the Germany of 1933/34. The theme of death, here, specifically, murder, i s intensified through the s k i l l f u l manipulation  - 9 of historical data, and through the rendering of the  characters'  unconscious by realistic, ideally filmic connotations of an explicitly sensual nature.  The film is an opera with atmosphere and effects  in high Wagnerian style.  Between these two films Visconti produced  Lo Straniero (1967), adapted from the novel by Camus. This  was  Visconti's second attempt at filming a major literary text; his f i r s t had been quite a faithful and successful rendering of Lampedusa's novel I_l Gattopardo. the text even more closely.  Lo Straniero, however, follows  Through a use of realistic detail which  betrays to the f u l l Visconti's mania for precision and authenticity, i t successfully evokes the oppressive atmosphere of Algiers.  In  keeping with the nature of film, profound philosophical implications are largely absent.  A tendency towards melodrama is evident. Elec-  tronic music and the device of the off-stage voice are also employed in the film. Any purview of Visconti's filmography must be posited around his early neo-realist-like films, and his more recent films with their overriding stress on aesthetic considerations.  The direction  of his work has been away from films of social relevance towards the self-contained, personal statement; authorial intrusion in the form of a l y r i c a l , theatrical element and a superimposed, often recondite show of culture is discernible in many of his outwardly realistic and documentary film sequences, but i t is with his more recent films that the aesthetic consideration comes  - 10 closest to being sufficient unto i t s e l f . • Visconti is a marxist aristocrat. part in his work.  This anomaly plays a v i t a l  La Terra Trema is his most outright marxist film  despite the reservations alluded to above.  Although adherence to  a rigid marxist doctrine is out of the question for Visconti, his films do retain a c r i t i c a l attitude towards the bourgeoisie, and a great awareness of the need for and inevitability of social change. He chooses periods of great upheaval, periods of historic remove already romantic or nostalgic — already somewhat dated —  for 196 7 L'Etranger is arguably  and presents the lower classes with  sympathetic insight in a manner that treads a narrow path, being on the one hand realistic romantic and caressing.  and analytical and on the other hand This is true even of those films which are  more unilaterally c r i t i c a l of society.  Rocco e i Suoi F r a t e l l i ,  and his only essay into the field of comedy, the 1951 Bellissima, both partake of a strong Italian character and a ready actuality evolving around an analysis of society in transition.  Yet both  counter the modern and everyday by the depiction of idealised family or marital relations. Visconti has said that his three most esteemed authors [sic] are on the one hand Chekhov, and on the other Verdi and Shakespeare. He continues: amour" — 7  "Verdi et le melodrame italien ont ete mon premier  this in 1961.  His recent films would seem to indicate  - 11 -  that the latter are now definitely in the ascendant; indeed his work has been qualified as "cinematic opera".  With the years the  aristocrat and accomplished musician, the man of culture seems to have gained the upper hand from the socialist with a bent for c r i t i c a l realism. Certainly Visconti is thoroughly familiar with most aspects of European culture.  His eclecticism is astounding  and undeniable, with interests and practical experience ranging from Euripides to Arthur Miller, from Donizetti to Hans Werner g Henze.  With the passage of time, he has oriented himself towards  a single genre, melodrama, and a single style, operatic.  He has  made these tendencies, which are discernible from the time of his  f i r s t films, his present hallmark.  Whole new areas of a r t i s t i c  possibility, subjects and themes both old and new can be reappraised in the light of this evolved field of interest and this set technique. One such theme, considered for years yet postponed because Visconti felt he lacked sufficient maturity and experience, was " i l tema della resa dei conti, che l a maturita e l'esperienza sollecitano e \  9  che e nella novella di Mann".  Only after La Caduta degli  Dei,  "cioe quasi alia conclusione di un discorso i n piu capitoli che vado facendo da anni"]"'"' does Visconti feel capable of affronting "una mia antica aspirazione", the filming of Der Tod in Venedig.  - 12 REFERENCES  1. Micciche, L. Morte a Venezia. 2. Nowell-Smith, G. 3.  Ibid,  p. 53  4.  Ibid,  p. 178  5.  Micciche, L.  6.  Premier Plan.  7.  Ibid,  p. 41  17, 1961, p. 132  p. 132  Micciche*, L.  10. Ibid,  Luchino Visconti.  op.cit«  8. Premier Plan. 9.  p. 23  17, 1961, pp. 65-70 op. cit .  p. I l l  p. I l l  p. 42  - 13 -  The single most striking and important innovation wrought by Visconti in adapting Der Tod i n Venedig for the screen i s that of changing Aschenbach into a musician.  The change can be  viewed as a w i l f u l distortion of Mann's hero, or as " l a piu geniale intuizione del film, i t suo aspetto piu creativo e piif fecondo.""''  The following chapter w i l l attempt to analyse this  important change.  Basic reasons for the alteration,  such as  the greater cinematic effectiveness of a musician, the homologies Visconti/Mahler, Aschenbach /Mahler, and the connection with Doktor Faustus, are readily recognizable. The bulk of the chapter deals with the related question of parody, f i r s t in Der Tod in Venedig, then in Morte a. Venezia.  In the latter case the ambiguity  cultivated i n order to create parody suggests that the Adagietto theme can be gainfully viewed both as being and as not being Aschenbach's own music.  In both cases the effect is one not of  parody but of irony. In a letter to the editor of Saturday Review Visconti speaks of having changed Aschenbach into a musician "solely for visual 2  and practical film-making reasons".  He elaborates elsewhere:  II punto di partenza fondamentale e che al cinema § piu "rappresentabile" un musicista che un letterato, poiche, mentre di un musicista puoi sempre fare sentire l a musica, per un letterato sei costretto a ricorrere ad espedienti fastidiosi e poco espressivi come l a voce in "off". 3  Two other reasons played a part in Visconti's decision to change Mann's lionized neo-classic writer into a romantic musician:  - 14 -  Firstly, he knew Mann had used Gustav Mahler's f i r s t name and 4  facial features in composing his portrait of Aschenbach,  and he  sensed, both from what Mann had said about Mahler and from histori c a l fact, a certain similarity in the a r t i s t i c temperaments of Gustav Mahler and Gustav Aschenbach.  Secondly, Visconti recognized  the f i l i a t i o n running through Mann's works by means of which Adrian Leverkuehn, the musician/protagonist of Doktor Faustus, can be viewed as a descendant of Gustav Aschenbach. Visconti's basic reason for changing Aschenbach into a musician occasions certain questions.  Is the figure of a musician really  more filmable than that of a writer?  And i s the film's protagonist  clearly identified as the composer of the film's background music? The f i r s t question can be answered positively.  The more readily  filmable quality of a musician rests upon the fact that his a r t i s t i c creation can actually be projected by means of quoting from his work. Both artists' compositions can be rendered aurally.  Alfried could  certainly recite hypothetical lines both on-and off-camera from Ein Elender or Maya. Yet one invariably feels that the film's musical accompaniment i s more effective than the vocal accompaniment which would be provided by an off-camera voice, and is much more effective than an on-camera recital which would break the film's motion. Whether the film's music, viz. the Adagietto, i s clearly identified  - 15 as Aschenbach's creation or not, i t i s his by association.  The  figure of Gustav Aschenbach musician is more "rappresentabile" than that of Gustav Aschenbach writer not because we necessarily hear his music throughout the film, but because the Adagietto leitmotif must adhere to him, must be associated with him i n the viewer's mind.  In addition, the musical can more easily be fused  with the visual, informing Aschenbach's actions with a poignancy and colour inexpressible by means of any other medium, and i t is certainly smoother to superimpose musical commentary on the film than to have to have recourse to the clumsy expedient Visconti mentions. Making Aschenbach a musician allows his character and state of mind to be expressed by means which are more properly cinematic. The loss of textual fidelity i s more than made up for by the gain in deeper and more effective characterization. The second question can be answered negatively.  Aschenbach  is only suggested as the composer of the Adagietto from Mahler's Fifth Symphony.  In view of the many allusions to Mahler, an overly  explicit identification of Aschenbach with the score would risk making the film a rather derogatory biography.  As a result, the  most explicit reference to Aschenbach's authorship of the Adagietto is found in shot sixty-six, the hour-glass flashback, where Alfried plays the opening leitmotif on the piano i n his friend's presence. Although a short phrase from Mahler's Fourth is clearly identified as being Aschenbach's in shot one hundred-four, the f i r s t major  - 16 flashback between the hero and Alfried, any such reference to the Adagietto must be absent, for the Adagietto must serve both as Mahler's music and as Aschenbach's music-  Its persistence throughout the film  and its being a composition by Mahler link i t with Aschenbach, but any more direct relation between the two i s purposefully avoided. More on this ambiguity later. Franco Mannino, the music director for Morte a^ Venezia, has drawn attention to the close affinity between the personalities of Mahler and Visconti.  For him the use of Mahler's music in the  film i s a veritable sine qua non.  Perhaps the most striking feature  common to both men is the tendency to express a certain decadence i n their work. Mahler is usually spoken of in terms of being a romantic, expressing the cultural malaise of the fin de siecle, the r i f t between artist and society, and a gentle nostalgia, to the point that "Mahler seems to be considered the last exponent of an exhausted art form" [i.e. the symphony]."*  For his part, Visconti also, like Mahler, has  a strong sense of his own individuality, revealed particularly and here again the same holds true for Mahler — tions.  —  in his stage produc-  Like Mahler, Visconti i s intent on expressing ideational  content i n his art. Mahler felt that "orchestration should serve only to expose an idea clearly, and should not aim at creating color".^  Yet he amassed an enormous orchestra for his Eighth Symphony  (The Symphony of a Thousand) and often let his b r i l l i a n t orchestration become the very essence of the composition. So Visconti too, though intent on expounding that which is neither properly cinematic nor  - 17 musical, namely ideas, tends to marshal his cinematic effects i n a display of virtuosity and beautiful pictures. It is worth noting that on two previous occasions Visconti's films had connections with Mahler.  The f i r s t was the use of music by Bruckner,  Mahler's popular contemporary i n Vienna during the eighteen eighties and nineties, i n the film Senso.  The second was Visconti's intention,  before the objection of his American producers, to use music by Mahler in La Caduta degli Dei.  In addition to this empathy, Visconti i s  genuinely interested i n the period of circa 1911-18, especially i n its importance for the European bourgeoisie. nor  It is neither by chance  lightly that Visconti speaks of plans for deriving  films from  A la. Recherche du Temps Perdu and Der Zauberberg. In addition to the Mahler/Visconti affinity there i s a verifiable affinity between Mahler and Aschenbach.  Mann's use of Mahler's f i r s t  name and facial features for his portrait of Aschenbach has been alluded to.  The f u l l context of the letter to Wolfgang Born i n which Mann  discusses this point i s as follows: In die Konzeption meiner Erzaehlung spielte, Fruehsommer 1911, die Nachricht vom Tode Mahlers hinein, dessen Bekanntschaft ich vordem i n Muenchen hatte ma chen due r fen, und des sen verzehrend intensive Persoenlichkeit den staerksten Eindruck auf mich gemacht hatte. Auf der Insel Brioni, wo ich mich zur Zeit seines Abscheidens aufhielt, verfolgte ich i n der Wiener Presse die i n fuerstlichem Stile gehaltenen Bulletins ueber seine letzten Stunden, und indem sich spaeter diese Erschuetterungen mit den Eindruecken und Ideen vermischten, aus denen die Novelle hervorging, gab ich meinem orgiastischer Aufloesung verfallenen Helden nicht nur den  - 18 Vornamen des grossen Musikers, sondern verlieh ihm auch bei der Beschreibung seines Aeusseren die Maske Mahlers, — wobei ich sicher sein mochte, dass bei einem so lockeren und versteckten Zusammenhange der Dinge von einem Erkennen aufseiten der Leserschaft garnicht wuerde die Rede sein koennen.^ Mention might also be made of a letter from Mann to Mahler of September 1910 i n which Mann speaks of the Viennese composer as the man " i n dem sich, wie ich zu erkennen glaube, der ernsteste g  und heiligste kuenstlerische Wille unserer Zeit verkoerpert" —• a statement highly applicable to Aschenbach.  Certainly the presence  of Mahler in Der Tod in Venedig does not prevent the inclusion of references to or reminders of other artists including Goethe, Platen, Mann himself, and most important for the question of music, of Richard Wagner. For the film Visconti chooses Mahler to serve as a natural focal point around which to build the new creation of Gustav von Aschenbach, composer.  Once the decision has been made to change  Aschenbach into a composer, Visconti can make use of Mahler as he might make use of any composer to give his new creation dimension and substance.  Although the richness of Mann's Aschenbach i s lost, (that  character created through a montage of characteristics garnered from other individuals being very d i f f i c u l t to express i n film), Visconti has managed to preserve a measure of ambiguity in his portrayal of 9 the character, to make use of that "aporia fondamentale"  so indicative  of his work as a whole and so well suited on this particular occasion  - 19 -  to express the ambivalence of Aschenbach's make-up and to allow for infusions, "etoffements", from other sources to round out the character of his protagonist.  One such other source is Doktor Faustus.  Visconti's main borrowings from Doktor Faustus w i l l be discussed in examining certain of the flashback scenes in which they figure so prominently.  In so far as Aschenbach's character as a musician is  concerned, however, Visconti uses his gleanings from Doktor Faustus not only to make his character more "Mann" in compensation for his having made him more "Visconti", but also again to strengthen his new creation with the thoughts and problems besetting a "real" composer, Visconti uses Mann's most profound statement on the problem of the artist i n society as a means of animating and substantiating his own Aschenbach. Finally, Mahler i s , of course, also present in Doktor Faustus. Zeitblom himself draws attention to the influence of Mahler on Adrian's songs i n chapter twenty, and no less an authority than Theodor Adomo, Mann's music mentor and "wirkliche geheime Rat""^ for Doktor Faustus, recognizes that Adrian Leverkuehn "mehr von Mahler empfing als bloss das hohe g der C e l l i vom Ende der ersten Nachtmusik der Siebenten Symphonie.""^ One further reason for changing Aschenbach into a musician i s implicit i n Visconti's cinematic style.  This i s the opportunity  to utilize the sound track as a formal constituent of the film; i n other words to conjoin the music and the montage process. This "symphonic structure" of the film i s best isolated by Micciche:  - 20 Morte a Venezia, piu che da "scene", "sequenze" o gruppi di sequenze ... risulta composto da "movimenti" o "tempi" ... che sovente unificano tra loro sequenze e gruppi di sequenze sovente irrelate del punto di vista dell'unita* di tempo luogo.ed azione, e rispetto alle quali non di rado l a partitura musicale mahleriana ... funge da elemento di coagulo e da registro r i t m i c o . ^ Visconti chose the Adagietto from Mahler's Fifth because i t worked the best, because i t fused with the visual, as he explains i t , "a perfezione, come se fosse stato predisposto 'ad hoc', coincidendo 13 con immagini, movimenti, tagli, ritmi interni."  The music i s  colour-toned to evoke the sultry, oppressive atmosphere of the Lido, to wed the image of Venice to the sea, to relate Aschenbach to his ironic adversary, the plague-ridden, fallen Queen of the Seas. The music emphasizes the fluid, hazy visuals that float languidly past Visconti's stationery cameras. so is the music i t s e l f .  The choice of music i s b r i l l i a n t ; but  One of Visconti's most d i f f i c u l t tasks i s to  give us images that are capable of affirming their own l i f e , capable of speaking above a musical score that i s i t s e l f very assertive. Beyond those reasons for changing Aschenbach into a musician which are acknowledged by Visconti or are implicit in his style as an auteur, there lies perhaps the most important reason for his employment of musician and music.  This is his attempt to use music  for purposes of parody. "Ma l'arte ^ ambigua, sempre.  E l a musica e" l a piu ambigua  di tutte le arti ... Si*, Gustav, e 1'ambiguita elevata a sistema.""^  - 21 In these lines of Alfried taken almost verbatim from Doktor Faustus, Visconti seems to allude to what is the tonal key of .Morte ja Venezia.  His "aporia fondamentale" has already been  referred to; i n Morte a Venezia he w i l l develop i t to an unprecedented level of ambiguity i n an effort to create s t y l i s t i c parody in the film imitative of that of Mann in Der Tod in Venedig. That the style of Der Tod in Venedig i s parodistic has been well established.  Three statements of Mann are especially enlighten-  ing on this subject.  The f i r s t i s his reference, in a long letter to  Carl Maria Weber of July 4, 1920, to Die Wahlverwandschaften, "die ich waehrend der Arbeit am T.i V. [sic], wenn ich recht erinnere, fuenf mai gelesen habe."''""' Though i t may be going too far to say that Mann i s adapting Goethe's style for his own ends, i t seems reasonable to expect certain elements of Goethe's exemplary classical prose to appear i n the story Mann f i r s t conceived of as "die-grotesk gesehene-Geschichte des Greises Goethe zu jenem kleinen Maedchen i n Marienbad.  Familiarity with an earlier, classical style of writing  is cultivated by Mann for the purpose of creating parody. A second statement throws light on the process of objectification and narratorial effacement, "eine geheimnisvolle Anpassung des Persoenlichen an das Sachliche,"''" which is employed i n Der Tod i n 7  Venedig for creating parody.  Writing in Betrachtungen einas  Unpolitischen, Mann criticizes those who labour under the misconception, "als sei die 'hieratLsche Atmosphare', der 'Meisterstil'  1  dieser  Erzaehlung ein persoenlicher Anspruch, etwas, womit ich mich zu umgeben  - 22 und auszudruecken nun laecherlicherweise ambitionierte, — waehrend 18 es sich um Anpassung, j a Parodie handelte ..." In the third personal statement on the style of Der Tod in Venedig Mann is the most explicit:  "Unter uns gesagt i s t der S t i l  meiner Novelle etwas parodistisch.  Es handelt sich um eine Art 19  von Mimikry, die ich liebe und unwillkuerlich uebe." the word parody in Mann's sense of the word —  Understanding  "parody being used  by him exclusively with reference to matters of technique, form or diction ... i t s substance an a r t i s t i c tradition whose idiom 20 has become antiquated"  —  one perceives the novella's parody as  directed towards the literary style of Gustav von Aschenbach. Mann's style ahmt den geistigen Habitus Aschenbachs nach. So wie der Erzaehler die Welt gewissermassen durch Aschenbachs Augen sieht, so gleicht sich ueber weite Strecken — etwa im zweiten Kapitel — sein S t i l dem fiktiven S t i l Aschenbachs an. Diese Feststellung genuegt jedoch nicht. Wir haben gesehen, dass die Position des Erzaehlers mit der Aschenbachs identisch i s t , dass sie zugleich aber Aschenbachs Position transzendiert. So bleibe der S t i l auch nicht bei der Nachahmung stehen, sondern schlaegt um i n die Parodie. Der S t i l der Novelle i s t also Imitation und Parodie zugleich. Das i s t der zentrale Punkt, von dem aus der S t i l der Novelle zu interpretieren i s t . ^ l Through the self-imposed restriction of seeing everything only through Aschenbach's eyes and never through those of Tadzio, or any other character, the narrator sets up Aschenbach's conscience as a prism through which the reader views the world.  - 23 A l l the observations and events of the story are transmitted through "die Beobachtungen and Begegnisse des  Einsam-Stuircien".  The form Aschenbach gives to these experiences reveals not only what is his literary style.  Since his l i f e can only be understood  in terms of his art, this formalizing of experience also comments upon his l i f e — Schicksal:  "so spiegelt sich im S t i l der Novelle Aschenbachs  das Fassadenhafte seiner Existenz, die klassizistische  Stilisierung und die reine Form.  So drueckt der S t i l das zugleich  22 aus, was er darstellt."  At the same time that the narrator  imposes the discipline of a restricted field of vision upon himself, he does, however, s t i l l enjoy omniscience.  He passes moral  judgements on his hero and introduces material which belies the imperiousness and calm of Aschenbach's a r t i s t i c style and l i f e , material which w i l l become more and more d i f f i c u l t to be held at bay by the sublime and distancing formality of the language of a cultivated bourgeois.  Despite a content dealing increasingly  with what is immoral, perverse and inadmissible, and despite the great strain put upon i t , the elevated style remains intact to the last sentence of the novella:  "Der Gegensatz von Schein  und Sein, Anspruch und Wirklichkeit [ t r i t t ] mit dem Fortgang der 23 Novelle immer deutlicher hervor."  It is Aschenbach's parodied style  which makes this disparity so striking, and which expresses his character in such a unique, forceful manner.^ Mann's parody i s b u i l t up out of linguistic components —  the  frequent use of dated genitive constructions, foreign or antiquated  - 24 -  expressions, classical allusions and rhetorical devices, a certain Greek Sprachstil and even metre —  these are the means employed  to enable us to read Aschenbach in his own writing.  Visconti's  attempted parody is b u i l t up out of musical components, viz. the six appearances of the Adagietto leitmotif.  But the film's musical  score is part of a cultural overlay only added to the basic "language" of the film afterwards; Aschenbach i s not heard i n the film's "language" — process —  the individual shots mounted through the montage  the way he i s read i n the novella's language.  On the  other hand, i f we do hear Aschenbach i n the musical score, i t i s his very own composition we hear and not an imitation of his style. Yet how is Visconti to express by means of his parodistic device the position of the narrator?  If the music is clearly defined as  Aschenbach's there i s definite gain; but the transcendent position of Mann's narrator i s lost.  It i s through the deliberate cultivation  of ambiguity, through the already mentioned purposeful avoidance of distinct identification of Aschenbach and Adagietto, that Visconti w i l l try to regain that position of the narrator wherein alone the possibility of parody resides.  This ambiguity can be clearly viewed  by studying f i r s t the import of the Adagietto's not being by Aschenbach, and then by considering i t his composition. To contend that the Adagietto i s not by Aschenbach is to stress the fact that i t is nowhere clearly stated as being so. The most opportune moment for doing so i s passed over — opening shot (383) of the fiasco scene.  this i s the  That the music which the  audience starts to boo and hiss i s Aschenbach's i s plain from the  strongly personal nature of Alfried's criticism.  The c-minor  chord with which the scene opens i s not part of the Adagietto which has just ceased playing with the immediately preceding shot; neither does i t t e l l us anything about Aschenbach's music.  Allusions and  references to Mahler employed to bring Aschenbach and Adagietto together in the viewer's mind remain just that.  The identification  of Aschenbach as the composer of the phrases from Mahler's Fourth played by Alfried i n shot one hundred-four for instance, i s too esoteric and erudite an identification to firmly associate Aschenbach with the Adagietto.  Or again, in shots two hundred twenty-three and  twenty-four, when Aschenbach picks up his lined notepaper and starts to write at the moment when the short quotation from the fourth movement of Mahler's Third i s f i r s t heard —  the suggestion that this  betokens his writing of those very lines (cf. Micciche*, p. 83) i s not really convincing.  The final argument against Aschenbach being  the composer of the Adagietto is provided by the nature of the Adagietto i t s e l f .  How could the recipient of a l l Alfried's criticism  possibly be the composer of such an ultra-romantic piece as the Adagietto?  Through Alfried's criticism and Aschenbach's own words  in three of the key flashback scenes one i s given a picture of an artist whose outlook on art and l i f e i s identical with that of Mann's Aschenbach.  The same preoccupations with form, morality, pure  beauty, abstraction of the senses — both artists.  the same preoccupations characterize  Such essentially classical qualities are incommensurate  - 26 -  with a piece of music that has been dismissed by some as mere "Schmalz". If then, the Adagietto is not only not by Aschenbach, but is also music of a nature diametrically opposed to the kind he would be capable of writing, i t acquires a certain mocking, ironic tone. Placed in its symphonic context, however, i t purveys an even more profound and erudite dimension. Mahler's symphonic output falls into four distinct phases; symphonies One through Four form a f i r s t group, Five through Seven a second, Nine, Ten, and the symphonic Lied von der Erde a third, and the Eighth stands alone.  The symphonies of the second period,  divided from the f i r s t by the Kindertotenlieder, are marked by the  absence of the Vokal-Lyrik and programmatic quality so marked  in his previous work.  They present, instead, the employment of a  more traditional, instrumental style, "an approach to a new employ25  ment of the classic structural devices." "the  It i s with the Fifth,  contrapuntal symphony", that Mahler's use of counterpoint f i r s t 26  attains any prominence, that a "striking simplicity of outline" erodes the sometime extravagance of his earlier symphonies, and that he f i r s t broaches the instrumental, polyphonic style:  "Das subjektiv  Liedmaessige verschwindet, es laesst sich i n die inhaltlich objekti27  vierende Darstellung des reinen sinfonischen  Instrumentalstiles."  It i s with the Fifth that Mahler the philosopher of music really comes into the foreground:  - 27 -  Hier i s t unverhuellt das, was man im frueheren Sinne sinfonisch thematische Arbeit genannt, und was Mahler bisher vermieden hat. Die straffe Bindung und entwicklungsmaessige Behandlung der Gedanken, die nicht mehr triebhafte, sondern gedanklich bewusste Ausdrucksformung gewinnt fuer Mahler neue Bedeutung.28 Mahler's Fifth Symphony marks the f i r s t step i n this process of a maturing, more introspective and intellectual nature. The symphony was written i n five movements, but can be broken down into three. The opening Trauermarsch i s actually an introduction to the symphony and not the f i r s t movement at a l l . 29  It portrays a kind of thanatopsis, Allegro movement.  Like the third Scherzo movement, the second i s  also built on the sonata principle. fourth movement.  to be contrasted by the second  The Adagietto i s the symphony's  It stands i n complete contrast to a l l that  precedes and follows:  "Aufgabe des Adagietto i s t Vermittlung  zwischen der Apotheose der Kraft an sich, wie sie das Scherzo gebracht hatte, und der Fruchtbarmachung  dieser Kraft, die dem  30  Finale vorbehalten i s t . "  What i s to follow the Adagietto i n the  Rondo-Finale i s "no longer the exhibition of strength delighting in i t s e l f —  of living for the sake of living — but a more lofty  philosophy; and this Adagietto i s really the introduction to that 31  thought." Thus, though "ein Traum der Einsamkeit ... der Weltvergessenheit, des Sichverlierens im eigenen Wesens, der s t i l l e n , 32  beglueckenden Gewissheit des Wachsens aus dem eigenen Inneren," the highly personal, delicate and concise Adagietto moves towards the abstract, the universal:  - 28 -  It is v i t a l that this symphony [the Fifth] should be understood as a whole; the pernicious practice, for instance, of playing the fourth movement (the Adagietto) by i t s e l f has prevented i t s function from being understood. In the symphony this "sentimental l i t t l e Adagietto", as i t has often been called when heard separately, becomes a major point of irony and lights up the whole finale, to which i t is an introduction; the point of i t s main melody becomes clear only in the last movement.>J  The Adagietto is therefore part of a resolution.  The  Adagietto-  Gedanke woven through the fugue and chorale themes is part of the triumph and of the reaffirmation of l i f e of the Rondo-Finale.  By  the end of the movement "es kommt nicht mehr zum Traeumen, es draengt weiter zur Tat, zum Vollbringen ... Der Wille hat gesiegt, das Leben i s t neu gewonnen."  The passive and emotional element  is resolved with the "stuermisch bewegt, mit groesstem Vehemenz" of the second movement and the "kraeftig, nicht zu schnell" of the third in a final movement of joy and transcendence.  The romantic  Adagietto is part of this intricate formalising of themes and feelings expressed in terms of a not unclassical nature.  It i s an i n t r i n s i c  part of the symphony's formal solution: Form als zwangmaessige Darstellung und Verkoerperung eines innerlich Werdenden, nach Gestaltung Draengenden i s t immer wieder das Problem des Mahlerschen S chaff ens. Dieses Problem findet jetzt [i.e. in the f i f t h movement] eine neue, das alte Schema aus innerstem Lebenswillen wieder gebaerende Loesung.^ To return to Morte a Venezia:  in addition then to i t s role of  mocking the staid, self-confident bourgeois Gustav von Aschenbach  -  29  -  with a form of a r t i s t i c expression so far removed from his own defensive and helpless aesthetic, the Adagietto i s , as in the symphony, part of a resolution. It is something of a goal, of an ideal, a solution to the dilemma of art Aschenbach is faced with. It holds out the possibility of a viable, redemptive art, a synthesis of tradition and innovation.  The new form thus produced i s not  redolent of Aschenbach's "moralismo della forma", but is postulated on'recognition of the ambiguity of form: Und hat Form nicht zweierlei Gesicht? Ist sie nicht s i t t l i c h und unsittlich zugleich, — s i t t l i c h als Ergebnis und Ausdruck der Zucht, unsittlich aber und selbst widersittlich, sofem sie von Natur eine moralische Gleichgueltigkeit in sich schliesst, ja wesentlich bestrebt i s t , das Moralische unter ihr stolzes und unumschraenktes Szepter zu beugen?3° The Adagietto presents an alternative to Aschenbach's antiquated and highly unpopular music. rejuvenation.  It of fers spiritual and physical  Moreover, i t is not impossible for Aschenbach to  attain this a r t i s t i c ideal which is so unlike his own.  In a film  overwhelmed with Mahler references, Visconti establishes subtle lines joining the romantic composer Mahler and the inhibited disciplinarian Aschenbach.  He is aware that the Adagietto is not just  the expression of the arch-Germanic characteristic — Innerlichkeit; in an interview Visconti himself quotes Mann's letter to Mahler, "l'uomo 'nei quale s i incarna l a piu sacra e severa volonta^ artistica 37  del nostro tempo'."  Aschenbach's l i f e i s brought closer to Mahler's  v  - 30 -  through the use of Mahler music and biographical data; and even i f the Adagietto is not music by Aschenbach, viewed in its symphonic context and i n the light of the discipline and seriousness of purpose that went into its composition, i t does display some features common to the hypothetical music of Aschenbach. Like the position of the narrator in Der Tod in Venedig, the position of the Adagietto in Morte a. Venezia i s one of transcendence. It functions as superimposed, detached commentary.  But lacking the  quality of imitation enjoyed by the narrator's position, the Adagietto cannot evolve into parody.  Without the imitative quality essential  for parody, the Adagietto cannot present a distortion at once playful and mocking, deliberate and earnest, of the protagonist's a r t i s t i c style, and the character of the man reflected i n that style, the way Mann's narrator can. a very intricate irony.  The Adagietto must remain at the level of With the allusive Mahler threads running  through the film i t constitutes the third most important "character" in the film. To contend that the Adagietto is_ by Aschenbach i s to stress the fact that the adhesion or association of protagonist and music i s irresistible.  Furthermore, i t i s unlikely that Visconti would claim  that a musician is more "filmic" than a writer, since his music can be incorporated into the film's sound track, and then turn around and not do just that.  Visconti f i r s t established the essen-  tially romantic characterization of Mann's hero, then chose the Adagietto from the many Mahler excerpts he examined to represent  - 31 -  Aschenbach's artistry. perfectly.  It fits his senescent pariah and pedophiliac  Aschenbach's music bespeaks what i s going on inside him.  It i s used to reveal his sense of triumph as he returns from the railway station to the hotel, or to emphasize his feeling of total defeat as he slumps by the well in the deserted square.  And there  is indeed very strong irony in the creation of such beautiful music by one grown so debauched, one fallen so low.  There is fur-  ther irony in the sensuous yearning sounds of the strings and harp set against plague and death, or contrasted with the flesh of Tadzio and his pedestrian Fuer Elise.  The tensions written into the  music at the time of composition now appear to be those of loneliness and latent homosexuality rather than those of a rarefied, aesthetic Sehnsucht. Against the recondite infusion of aural and visual which tends to support Aschenbach's authorship of the Adagietto, Visconti introduces an element which tends strongly to deny this authorship, namely the three flashback scenes between Aschenbach and Alfried. Aschenbach's assumption therein of the role of a disciplined, objective and restrained classical composer together with Alfried's yehement criticism of such a role i s i n direct contradiction with Aschenbach's basic characterization and style of music.  It appears  to be an attempt to restore a modicum of ambiguity, of balance. To this end the means employed are very successful, but heavy-handed, and not in keeping with Visconti's usual subtlety.  The explanation  - 32 for the contradiction offered by the flashback dialogue is i n dicated in an interview by Visconti himself: una sorta di 'alter ego' di cattiva —  "Alfried e soltanto  o buona —  coscienza del  protagonista, che lo accompagna durante tutta l a c r i s i , come una 38 sorta di incubica proiezione di se stesso."  It is in terms of  a nightmare or dream that the three flashback dialogues between Aschenbach and Alfried are to be understood. function as visualised fantasy.  On this level they  A romantic composer of so sus-  ceptible and sensitive a character as to be described as "a prissy, 39 incompetent l i t t l e neurotic, physically infirm and morally timid," seeks compensation for his feelings of failure and insecurity by imagining himself to be the exact opposite of what he is in reality. Alfried is the voice of moderation rejecting the extreme solution Aschenbach fantasizes for his aesthetic and personal problems; classical discipline and restraint w i l l hopefully counter undesirable sexual inclinations and the effete lyricism of his music.  Alfried i  40  represents everything that Aschenbach has chosen not to be.  He  is a constant reminder to Aschenbach of the vulnerability of his situation. The position of Alfried bears a slight resemblance to that of Mahler's favourite pupil and close friend, Schoenberg. Though Visconti has termed any identification of Alfried with Schoenberg "una illazione senza troppo fondamento,  there is a distinctly  Schoenberghian aura about Alfried, but an aura derived  - 33 soltanto tramlte l a mediazione, assal indirettaraente schoenberghiana, del "Doctor Faustus". Infatti Alfried ... nasce piu che altro dalla consapevolezza viscontiana del "Faustus", applicata a l l ' Aschenbach manniano dell'11. Although his remarks do not indicate any definite view of music, his criticism of Aschenbach's idealised classicism and the failure of Aschenbach's actual romanticism seem to indicate his espousal of a new style of music freed from strained traditional modes of expression; a style perhaps exemplified i n a book published the same year as that chosen by Visconti for the year of his film (1911), Schoenberg's Harmonie 1 ehre; a style perhaps that, by proposing answers to Adrian Leverkuehn's questions, reveals a knowledge of the situation of music to Which Aschenbach i s unahle to attain; "Warum muessen fast alle Dinge mir als ihre eigene Parodie erscheinen? Warum muss es mir vorkommen, als ob fast alle, nein, alle Mittel 43  und Konvenienzen der Kunst heute nur noch zur Parodie taugten?" Whereas i n the case of the Adagietto not being music by Aschenbach the flashbacks function as pure reminiscence, here, when viewed as actually being his, they function as fanciful daydreams, as projections of a solution to the dilemma of early twentieth century music.  In both cases, however, the lack of an imitative  quality forestalls the creation of parody; the Adagietto cannot parody Aschenbach's style of music because i t i s either too unlike his own type of music, or because i t actually i s his music.  The irony that  is present i n the film draws heavily on the ambiguity of the author-  - 34 ship of the Adagietto and on the tense, equivocal nature of the piece i t s e l f for i t s effect.  Visconti's changing Aschenbach into  a musician is at the root of this multileveled structure of ambiguity and irony.  It is the basis upon which a l l the other  additions to and subtractions from the novella are made.  - 35 REFERENCES 1.  Micciche\ L. Morte a Venezia.  p. 77  2.  Saturday Review. December 19, 1970, p. 20  3. Micciche^, L. op_. c i t . p. 114 4.  Ibid,  p. 185  5.  Collaer, P. A History of Modern Music,  6.  Ibid.  p. 62  7. Mann, T. Briefe 1889-1936. 8.  Ibid,  p. 61  p. 185  p. 88  9. Micciche, L. op. c i t . p. 30 10. Mann, T. Die Entstehung des Doktor Faustus. 11. Adorno, T. Gesammelte Schriften:  p. 293  Band 13. p. 19 7  (quoted by Micciche\ L. ££_. c i t . p. 79) 12. Micciche, L. op. c i t . p. 83 13. Ibid,  p. 116  14. Ibid,  p. 258  15. Mann, T. Briefe 1889-19 36. 16. Ibid,  p. 177  17. Ibid,  p. 162  18. Mann, T. Gesammelte Werke: Unpolitischen. p. 105 (quoted by Nicklas, H. 19. Mann, T. Briefe 1889-1936. 20. Eichner, H.  p. 176  Band 12, Betrachtungen eines Der Tod i n Venedig.  p. 120)  p. 162  Modern Language Review. 47, January 1952, p. 32  - 36 REFERENCES 21.  Nicklas, H.  Der Tod i n Venedig.  22.  Ibid,  p. 124  23.  Ibid,  p. 122  24.  It might be mentioned at this point that, viewed i n terms of the crisis of the novel of c. 1910, Mann's use of parody can also be seen as an interesting experiment i n style, seeking alternatives to ineffectual, traditional modes of narrative prose.  25.  Ferguson, D. Masterworks of the Orchestral Repertoire, p. 354  26.  Simpson, R.  27.  Bekker, P.  28.  Ibid,  29.  Ferguson, D.  30.  Bekker, P.  31.  Ferguson, D.  32.  Bekker, P.  op_. c i t . p. 193  33.  Simpson, R.  op. c i t . p. 42  34.  Bekker, P.  op_. c i t . p. 200  35.  Ibid,  36.  Mann, T.  37.  Micciche, L.  38.  Ibid,  39.  Denby, D. Atlantic Monthly.  40.  Micciche', L. og. c i t . p. 89  The Symphony,  p. 120  volume 2, p. 32  Gustav Mahlers Sinfonien.  p. 202  p. 175 op. c i t . p. 348  op_. c i t . p. 193 op. c i t . p. 351-52  p. 19 7 Der Tod i n Venedig. p. 455 op. c i t . p. 115  p. 121 228, September 19 71, p. 112  - 37 REFERENCES 41.  Ibid,  p.  42.  Ibid,  p. 89  43.  Mann, T.  i  121  Doktor Faustus.  p.  180  - 38 The result of Visconti's second major adaptive operation on the text of Der Tod i n Venedig is the "addition" to the story of some ten flashbacks. Not a l l ten are flashbacks proper, but a l l break the narration of the main story-line, and eight are distinctly references to past events.  They have several functions. They  serve to narrate a second story that has taken place before Aschenbach's arrival i n Venice; by their positioning through the montage process some of them serve as an ironic commentary on the events presently taking place; and most important they provide the film with ideational content and the film's protagonist with a past.  In chronological  order the flashbacks are as follows: i)  Aschenbach's illness  i i ) the hourglass iii)  the f i r s t Aschenbach/Alfried dialogue  iv) v)  the second Aschenbach/Alfried dialogue family happiness  vi)  Esmeralda  vii)  warning Tadzio's mother  viii) ix) x)  family mourning the fiasco scene  Tadzio's face  The flashbacks provide ready access to the body of the film. They can be conveniently subdivided for study into four groups: three minor flashbacks based largely on Per Tod in Venedig, four  - 39 personal flashbacks, two ideational ones, and one final flashback uniting both personal and ideational considerations. Two of the ten are based exclusively on Der Tod i n Venedig; the  seventh and tenth.  The scene i n which Aschenbach considers  warning the "perlengeschmueckte Frau" i s inserted, understandably, in his conversation with the travel agent, not after i t as i s the case i n the novella.  The shot of Tadzio's face, though not specifi-  cally i n the novella yet faithful to i t s s p i r i t , implicit i n the text, follows immediately on the nightmare/fiasco scene, and precedes the  last day. As depicted cinematically the seventh flashback  is basically melodramatic.  Micciche points out very astutely that  whereas Mann's Aschenbach thinks the scene, Visconti's imagines it."*"  A visualisation of Mann's words gives the scene a greater  reality, and although i t s t i l l gives expression to a reimant of reason and self-control in Aschenbach, the film scene i s necessarily more sentimental than reflective.  Aschenbach takes leave  of the travel agent immediately after the flashback sequence i s over, and appears i n the following scene i n both novella and film with the  words "Ich werde schweigen"/"Bisogna tacere".  Both flashbacks  seven and ten convey a light irony by contrasting with the contexts in which they occur; the rational, upright Aschenbach i s contrasted with the harried possessor of a deadly secret, and the soft  apparition  of Tadzio's face i s contrasted with the "nightmare" and Tadzio's own  - 40 now strongly diabolical character. A third flashback of minor importance i s that of the hourglass. It i s an effective single shot following immediately on flashback number one and preceding a scene in which Aschenbach i s viewed fastidiously dressing for dinner, kissing portraits of his wife and daughter, and then going down to join the throng of guests i n the hotel lobby.  The shot is inspired by references to hourglasses  in both Der Tod i n Venedig and Doktor Faustus.  It is a quiet,  reflective memento mori i n keeping with the nature of the preceding scene and offering a sharp contrast to the scenes of l i f e , of careful attention to life's details, and of interpersonal relations which follow. Flashbacks one, five, six, and eight serve to provide personal background on Aschenbach.  They are a l l banal, emotional additions,  private and highly personal. As such they contrast with the ideational content of the remaining three flashbacks, which represent Aschenbach i n a more serious and intellectual dimension. Aschenbach recalls the subject of the film's f i r s t flashback — the heart condition which w i l l eventually cause his death — while standing on the balcony of the Hotel des Bains and taking i n the view of beach, sea and sky; the calm, reassuring sight of Venice reminds him of the reason for his v i s i t .  This f i r s t flashback acts  as replacement for the opening Munich scene of the novella, which scene was actually filmed by Visconti, to be inserted as a flashback during the crossing from Pola to Venice, but then dropped ostensibly "perche frammentava i l racconto f i n dall'inizio.  Al tempo stesso i l  - 41 pubblico non avrebbe ben capito."  2  Although there i s some mention 3  later —  "Io voglio ritrovare i l mio equilibrio."  —  of personal  and a r t i s t i c reasons for travelling to Venice, the emphasis i s on those reasons mentioned by the doctor —  "Avrebbe bisogna di una 4  lunga vacanza.  Un periodo di riposo assoluto."  The reasons  implicit i n the novella for Aschenbach's journey are largely dispensed with; the crisis of the w i l l , the supernatural incitement, the increasing age or physiological weakening that goes hand i n hand with an increased susceptibility to l i f e , to sensuality, i.e. the moral weakening  —  a l l these inner states are replaced by the action  of the f i r s t flashback.  In keeping with i t s nature film i s able to  depict this physical reality of illness much more strikingly than the spiritual states.  Visconti's presentation of this reductive  process natural to films i s lent a slightly melodramatic air by the depiction of the hovering friends, Aschenbach's pinched and nervous face, and Alfried's touching solicitude. Flashbacks five and eight revolve around the Aschenbach family. The f i f t h —  the scene of family happiness — i s recalled by  Aschenbach as he sits' on the beach watching the Polish family. A shot of Tadzio's mother precedes the appearance of Aschenbach's wife with their l i t t l e daughter at the beginning of the sequence, and the scene ends with a fade-out and the appearance of Tadzio. Paternal feelings for Tadzio are implied on Aschenbach's part. The eighth —  the scene of family mourning —  follows Aschenbach's  decision to keep silent about the plague, the "Bisogna tacere" J  - 42 -  scene, and precedes his f i r s t v i s i t to the barber —  the death that  his silence may cause Tadzio recalling the death of his own daughter. Like the f i f t h flashback, the eighth also contrasts sharply with the Venetian setting by means of its luxuriant vegetation, and rich, dark colouration.  Like the f i f t h and f i r s t , i t i s also traceable  back to Mahler's biography.  The cardiac trouble, the happy family  scene in front of the alpine chalet, and the episode of the l i t t l e girl's funeral a l l relate back to events i n Mahler's own life."'  The  three are part of the film's network of more or less vague Mahler allusions. The final flashback providing Aschenbach with personal background i s the film's sixth, the Esmeralda scene. by Doktor Faustus.  It i s inspired  The scene follows on Tadzio's playing of Fuer  Elise on the piano and i t i s introduced by the prostitute playing the same tune.  It precedes a scene i n which Aschenbach and Tadzio  meet i n the hotel garden and Aschenbach avows his passion ("... io t i amo").  Although the naming of the steamer that brings Aschenbach  to Venice "Esmeralda", and the blatant transitional device of Fuer Elise are clumsy, the tight f i l i a t i o n of scenes provided by the latter is important for establishing a relation between Tadzio and Esmeralda.  The purpose of this identification of Tadzio and  prostitute i s explained by Visconti himself: Mi premeva, i n f a t t i , unificare ed a l tempo stesso sdoppiare l'elemento della "contaminazione" e dell'attrazione dei sensi e quello della purezza infantile. D'altronde l a ragazza del bordello ricorda un po' Tadzio perche ha un volto puro di bambina, oltre a ricordare i l Doctor Faustus,  - A3 -  almeno per chi l'abbia letto, e, piu precisamente, l'allusione alia biografia di Nietzsche che i l Faust us conteneva. Insomnia Aschenbach, nei collegare la presenza di Tadzio a l ricordo della prostituta, cioe ad una "contaminazione" avuta anni addietro, coglie pienamente l'aspetto piu ambiguamente "peccaminoso" del proprio atteggiamento verso Tadzio. Egli cioe e preda, come anni addietro con Esmeralda, e preda ancora una volta di un cedimento. Tadzio quindi riassume quella che e stata une delle polarita della vita di Aschenbach, una polarita che rappresentando l a vita — in alternativa ed antitesi a l l universo rigidamente intellettuale, quella "vita sublimata" i n cui Aschenbach e" rinchiuso — s i conclude con l a morte. Esmeralda e Tadzio non rappresentano soltanto l a vita ma quella sua dimensione specifica, conturbante e contaminatrice, che £ l a Bellezza.° 1  a  In keeping with Visconti's diachronic reading of Mann the inclusion of references to Doktor Faustus seems very appropriate. Yet the figure of Esmeralda is drained of the importance Mann ascribes to i t , l i t t l e more than the name remaining.  She certainly does not  warn Aschenbach about a syphilitic condition — Mann^ —  a point stressed by  and unlike the novel there i s not even a question here of  syphilis or consummation.  Visconti's intentions notwithstanding,  i f she "recalls" anything i t i s the boat of scene one.  The bordello  sequence as a whole adds l i t t l e by trying to reassert the fact that Aschenbach i s aware of the ambiguous nature of his relation to Tadzio, or that Tadzio represents a sensual antithesis to Aschenbach; these things seem clear enough without the bordello sequence.  This  sixth flashback may well f i t Visconti's melodramatic schema and find i t s justification i n a context of melodrama.  In the larger  cinematic context in which Visconti hopes to express something of Der Tod in Venedig, however, i t i s heavy-handed and pretentious.  I  - 44 Flashbacks three and four are both presented i n the form of a dialogue between Aschenbach and his protSge/friend Alfried. constitute the bulk of the film's ideational content.  They  Number three  is f i r s t projected only on the sound track over Aschenbach at dinner watching Tadzio.  It i s followed by the discussion on the weather  with the hotel manager.  It i s the sight of Tadzio which reminds  Aschenbach of Alfried's words and initiates the latter's heated tirade.  Number four follows the incident i n the elevator and  Aschenbach's return to his room, where he starts packing, and precedes his announcement to the manager of his departure the following day.  The dialogue of both flashbacks i s perhaps drawn g  from Doktor Faustus more than from other Mann works,  but the ,  material seems to suggest a more general purview of Mann's main themes and aesthetic preoccupations as they are commonly understood. These two flashbacks are given the role of expressing the ideas and profound insights on art and l i f e contained i n Der Tod in Venedig. The discussion is rather one-sided, Alfried doing most of the talking. He criticizes Aschenbach severely, specifically refuting the latter's belief i n a r t i s t i c fate ("la fatica di artista"), his belief i n the artist as exemplar and in art as the most elevated means of acquiring knowledge, and his belief i n the need for complete control of one's senses i n order to acquire the "sagezza ... verita ... dignita umana" which he identifies with beauty.  Alfried's lines.are inter-  larded with platitudes of the nature of " i l male e una necessita ... e ... l'alimento stesso ... del genio" una punizione di Dio"."^  [sic], and " i l genio e ...  His reproaches succeed i n a l l but drowning  - 45 out Aschenbach's hint of some deep-seated anxiety — contaminato"?"^  "Io sono  His lines succeed in rendering Mann's ideas a l i t t l e  bathetic, being pretentious, unintelligible shouting rather than a few discerning points that could contribute to our understanding of either Aschenbach, or the dilemma of the artist, or the dilemma of the bourgeoisie.  Visconti has here failed to reduce the wealth  and variety of intellectual content of the novella to a workable core.  The borrowings from Doktor Faustus in the Esmeralda scene  and in flashbacks three and four only add an eclectic note where condensation and restraint are called for: Might one not assume that a film-maker should be limited in his concern to finding the visual idiom that corresponds to the written idiom of the author? If there is a "message", shouldn't that too be translated f i r s t into images (even i f they sustain a spoken text)? If the articulation of those ideas requires borrowing from more than the work which is being transposed, must one not suppose undue attention to what is not properly cinematic (ideas), or that the images meant to effect the original translation were deficient?!^ Grossvogel's penetrating questions seem to strike home. One has the impression that Visconti has over-reached himself in taking a diachronic approach to Mann. His attempt at comprehensiveness as exhibited in the two ideational flashbacks is a poor substitute for one or two specific points that might exteriorise part of the l i f e which is going on in Aschenbach's head.  The ideational content  of flashbacks three and four is unable to show Aschenbach in a more positive, universalized light.  Visconti's overall characterization  evinces far less sympathy for Aschenbach than does Mann's.  - 46 -  The ninth flashback is the single most important scene i n the film.  It is the point towards which tend both the Venetian and  the flashback story lines, the point where "l'uomo e l ' a r t i s t a 13 [toccano] i l fondo, insieme."  Broadly speaking i t i s equivalent  to the end of Mann's f i f t h chapter.  It i s followed almost immediately  by the epilogue of the last day. The scene follows that scene which is a culminating point for Mann and for Visconti's Venetian story, the collapse at the well.  Thus a scene that is one of humiliation  and ostracism follows, or is recalled as a result of, Aschenbach's collapse.  At the end of the flashback the f i n a l lines are spoken  over Aschenbach's awakening from a dream; the entire scene thus partakes of nightmare as well as of pure memory.  This fiasco scene  was originally to be followed by the filming of Mann's nightmare/ orgy scene.  However, Visconti later decided not to film i t , both  because he f e l t that i n filming such a bacchanal "finivo o nei piu deteriore F e l l i n i o, peggio, nei miglior F u l c i " , ^ and also 1  because i t conflicted with his desire to "mantenermi nell'ambito di ...  pur ambigua delicatezza."  nightmarish  15  Instead he introduced a  element into the fiasco scene and inserted the brief  tenth flashback apparition  of Tadzio's face between Aschenbach's  awakening and Alfried's fading angry words on the one hand, and the epilogue on the other.  He explains his decision not to film the  nightmare/orgy scene i n the following terms:  - 47 -  Ma poi ho preferito rinunciare, ritenendo che nei film s i sarebbero venate a creare una frattura ed una caduta di gusto e di tono, ed ho preferito sostituire l'incubo — che nei libro corrisponde al massimo momento di depressione e prelude a l i a morte — con i l "fiasco" concertistico che anche esso nei film, corrisponde al massimo momento depressivo, a l i a disperazione prima della f i n e . l ^ In view of the fact that the script called for the scene to be shot i n a Munich club, Blow Up, i n a 1970's decor complete with electronic music and psychedelic lighting, Visconti's reservations about actually filming i t are quite understandable. On the flashback level the fiasco scene sums up both the personal and ideational flashbacks that have gone before. The four personal flashbacks which respectively depicted illness, happiness, sadness, and sexual susceptibility, culminate here i n Aschenbach's personal, social and a r t i s t i c failure.  The content  of the two ideational flashbacks here continues to be paroxysmally expanded upon by Alfried.  On the level of the story the fiasco  scene, coming as i t does immediately  after Aschenbach's collapse  at the well, emphasizes the totality of his defeat by adding the weight of i t s description of social and a r t i s t i c failure to the physical and mental failure that is gathered in the scene of his collapse. Structurally the collapse/fiasco scenes are the climax of the film much the way the nightmare/collapse scenes are the climax of the novella. The fiasco scene, however, bears the great responsibility placed upon i t uneasily, being a  - 48 -  relatively flat and uninspired scene not a l l comparable to Mann's nightmare/orgy.  The pursuant shot of Tadzio's face, (flashback  number ten) occupying 5  a position similar to that of the Socrates/  Phaedrus dialogue, provides an ironic comment on the film by replacing the intellectuality of the philosophical discourse with a picture of the fleshy, sexual reality which, by design or not, is the "senso maggiore" of Visconti's cinematic  adaptation.  A l l Visconti's flashback additions are basically melodramatic; they are striking additions of an extreme and emotionally tense nature.  Nothing could be more foreign to Mann, more characteristic  of Visconti. The dead child, alienated protege, hostile audience, kindly whore —  a l l constitute the addition of the inessential  as far as Der Tod i n Venedig is concerned.  But they are essential  to Morte a_ Venezia, i.e. to the Viscontian interpretation of Der Tod i n Venedig which begins by modelling Gustav von Aschenbach on the romantic composer Gustav Mahler. Changing Aschenbach into a musician necessitates further changes in his character; Visconti's hero i s not simply Mann's writer pursuing a different career.  The emphasis i n Visconti's character-  ization of Aschenbach is on the reality of his senescence, fatigue and sexual desire.  The physical, so readily expressible cinemati-  cally, i s dominant to the point of virtual exclusion of the abstract or intellectual considerations which predominate in Mann. Through the parodistic device of using Aschenbach's style Mann succeeds i n blotting out Aschenbach the man and revealing only Aschenbach the  -  49  -  artist; the man i s glimpsed only through his work.  Thus the  ideological Aschenbach who i s so prominent i n the telling of his own story, and the human Aschenbach who has a l l but effaced himself in the name of art can be expressed simultaneously. however, separates artist and Mens ch.  Visconti,  In keeping with Aschenbach's  characterization as a romantic artist he must be shown i n a highly personal, egocentric dimension.  Thus Visconti gives the human  Aschenbach much more attention, much more forcefulness than the artist Aschenbach.  Aschenbach i s brought down from the rarefied  aesthetic heights i n which he moves at the beginning of Der Tod in Venedig.  In Morte £i Venezia he is no longer able to distance  himself through art. He i s denied the device Mann makes use of in his chapter two, where Aschenbach writes his own biography, and where the more he says about himself the better one understands him yet the more unreachable he becomes.  In Morte a. Venezia  Aschenbach i s humanized and brought closer to us.  The classical  musician of Alfried's criticism, whom Visconti has relegated to the three Ideational flashbacks, i s overpowered by the romantic and human Aschenbach who is i n the foreground throughout the entire film. In Der Tod i n Venedig the situation i s quite different. presents his hero at the height of his powers and fame — in the eyes of the world.  Mann  at least  Recently ennobled on the occasion of his  - 50 -  f i f t i e t h birthday, Aschenbach  enjoys the honour of a grateful  public, and enjoys, too, the dubious d i s t i n c t i o n of having his works anthologized i n school texts.  He i s the spokesman of h i s  age: Gustav Aschenbach war der Dichter a l l derer, die am Rande der Erschoepfung arbeiten, der Ueberbuerdeten, schon Aufgeriebenen, s i c h noch Aufrechthaltenden, a l l dieser Moralisten der Leistung, die schmaechtig von Wuchs und sproede von M i t t e l n , durch Willensverzueckung und kluge Verwaltung s i c h wenigstens eine Zeitlang die Wirkungen der Groesse abgewinnen.^ I t i s only beneath this facade of s e l f - c o n t r o l and moral rectitude that Aschenbach's l i f e i n art shows signs of s t r a i n .  With the  years he has found i t increasingly d i f f i c u l t to s a t i s f y the demands of his exacting Meisterschaft —  "waehrend die Nation s i e ehrte,  18 er ward i h r e r nicht froh."  He worries l e s t someone suspect h i s  growing fatigue "die das Produkt auf keine Weise, durch kein Anzeichen des Versagens und der Lassheit verraten durfte'.'"^  He  has reached an impasse; h i s strength eroded by "die Skrupel der Unlust, die s i c h als eine durch nichts mehr zu befriedigende 20  Ungenugsamkeit d a r s t e l l t e . " But the facade Aschenbach has b u i l t up i s not to be understood i n negative terms only.  I t i s quite obviously a faulty and unwork-  able s o l u t i o n to the problems besetting an a r t i s t .  But  Aschenbach  chose the cult of form with " t i e f e n Entschlusse", c u l t i v a t e d the "Wunder der wiedergeborenen  Unbefangenheit" consciously.  His art  was i n i t i a l l y the product of an e f f o r t to f i n d a means of a r t i s t i c  - 51 expression possible i n an age that had questioned away the old values and standards.  In this respect his efforts were those  of Mann; only his solutions were different.  Aschenbach embodies  a possible solution to the dilemma of art, a solution perhaps cathartic for Mann, but a solution rejected.  Aschenbach grows  spiritually during the course of his stay i n Venice i n the sense that he comes to realize the true nature of art. Like so many^f the important formal and ideational considerations of Der Tod i n Venedig, this culmination of Aschenbach's a r t i s t i c development. reaches i t s apogee i n the second address to Phaedrus, the scene 21 Mann himself described as "den Kern des Ganzen." Der Tod in Venedig i s structured i n the form of a five act tragedy with epilogue.  Act one opens i n medias res with the  relation of the meeting with the mysterious stranger,  Act two  goes back to f i l l i n important biographical details while act three moves the action forward to the point of irreversability, ending on Aschenbach's "bereitwillig willkommen heissende, 22 aufnehmende Gebaerde"  of resignation —  gelassen  the now unclenched f i s t .  Act four brings the play to a climax with Aschenbach's closing words "Ich liebe dich", and act five brings the whole to a close, terminating i n the Socrates/Aschenbach — Phaedrus/Tadzio dialogue, The epilogue is a foregone conclusion narrating the events of Aschenbach's last day; the play proper has concluded with the p h i l osophic discourse.  Aschenbach's nightmare/orgy and collapse at the  well sustain the climax of the end of act four, but the final note  - 52 is one of calmness —  "the tone is mild, gentle and ironic."  23  The second address to Phaedrus serves as a denouement for the five acts of frustration and despair that have gone before.  It brings  the classical Greek element of the story into the foreground to project a resolution reconciling both the Apollonian and Dionysian forces which have provided the story with i t s basic conflict.  The  downward movement which is characteristic of the story, i.e.. Aschenbach's descent into that abyss with which he had earlier renounced a l l sympathy, and the movement of rapprochement, i . e . the gradual and inexorable loss of distance, the weakening of the w i l l to endure ("durchhalten"), the w i l l to preserve dignity and morality, both these movements which bring Aschenbach down to a more human level, or, more precisely, to a level more properly that of the artist, are complemented in the address to Phaedrus. These movements are indicative of the overall direction of the story, one away from Apollonian individuality, self-control and proportion towards Dionysian lawlessness, atavism and collective loss of self. Mann employs myth as a formal, controlling and ordering device during the course of the novella. events that transpire in Venice.  It gives meaning to the  Mann's use of myth is a parody  of the traditional mythic pattern of the hero setting out on a quest, being initiated into the world, undergoing a series of tests, , receiving magical help and returning home with a "transcendental ..24 message  —  a pattern approximating  that of Bildung sroman and  Maerchen.  But the end of this search for knowledge is not the  - 53 orgiastic, Nietzschean paean of the Dionysian forces which have gradually gained control of Aschenbach and of Venice, but a typical Mann scene of calm, philosophic rationalization between an old man  and a youth to whom he is quite consciously sexually  attracted.  In relating the problem of Eros and poetry, "the  speaker has somehow managed to detach himself from the tumultuous passions which he i s discussing, ... the erotic drive [is] partially transmuted into the energy for a highly civilized activity which 25 perpetuates and improves l i f e . "  Here there is no question of  a solution to the dilemmas of mind-body, thought-feeling, societyindividual, or any of the other polarities inherent in l i f e , but rather a statement that is simply one of awareness, of acceptance of the burden of knowledge. Neither Mann nor the speaker is capable of finding a solution.  At this point Mann is aware that  he too is "der Dichter a l l derer, die am Rande der Erschoepfung arbeiten," the spokesman of a decadent bourgeois culture, an artist seeking to express himself in that bourgeois novelistic tradition which has become.as effete as the class that once gave i t i t s strength and raison d'etre.  He is conscious of an end,  of a pressing need to find values in a world gradually become bereft of values.  The bourgeois social structure, i t s beliefs,  mores and wants, i s found to be hollow, untoward and static, and as we are reminded:  "There is no continuity in stasis.  A tradition,  - 54 26 like a bicycle, is stable only when moving." alternative is readily perceivable —  Although no  " a l l solutions and positions  are seen to dissolve in the constant movement of their own 27 dialectic  1  —  by the evocation of the figure of Socrates at the  end of the novella, "Mann point[s] the way to the Platonic 28 synthesis of eros, reason, and society." Beyond the formal and ideational constituants of the Kern lies perhaps i t s most striking feature; the reintegration of personal and social aims brought about by Aschenbach's growth to self-realization.  The downward movement which overwhelms the  film is countered in the novella by a positive, perhaps pathological heightening of perception on the part of the hero.  He who  had 29  yielded to the "scharfen und bitteren Reiz der Erkenntnis",  who  had succeeded when s t i l l young "das Wissen zu leugnen, es abzulehnen, erhobenen Hauptes darueber hinwegzugehen, sofern es den Willen, die Tat, das Gefuehl und selbst die Leidenschaft im geringsten zu laehmen, 30 zu entmutigen, zu entwuerdigen geeignet i s t " , circle.  has now come f u l l  His depravity and moral regression are accompanied by self-  awareness.  As he mouths the speech to Phaedrus/Tadzio he comes  to assume the burden of Tonio Kroeger's Erkenntniseke1, and becomes conscious of the error of his life-denying preoccupation with form and detachment: denn die Erkenntnis, Phaidros, hat keine Wuerde und Strenge; die i s t wissend, verstehend, verzeichend, ohne Haltung und Form; sie hat Sympathie mit dem Abgrund, sie i s t der Abgrund.-^-  Aschenbach has matured in the course of his degradation, lending the story an ambiguously positive feature entirely lacking in the film adaptation.  Mann has written enough of himself into  Aschenbach to want to suggest that his hero's vision of Elysium in chapter four and the gesture of "der bleiche und liebliche Psychagog" in the final paragraph hold out a promise of transcendental realisation in the face of a mood of ironic detachment, despair and selfmockery. It is in the Kern that Aschenbach is shown in the most positive light; Mann's characterization is sympathetic.  He is aware of the  tragic dimension of Aschenbach's f a l l and what i t implies for his epoch.  He both admires Aschenbach and holds him suspect.  Whereas Visconti changes Aschenbach's career, making him a composer, i.e. one who  "cannot have the social role as guardian of the morality  of his class that Aschenbach the philosophical novelist could 32 enjoy",  and proceeds to register readily filmic externals, Mann  introduces a wider social and historical horizon, and by representing the story's action as going on in Aschenbach's head, purveys a mood heavily intellectual and psychological, i . e . "irrapresentabile". It is precisely this philosophic and subjective dimension which the film medium is so hard put to express adequately.  The objectif-  ication of inner states and processes i s necessary i f the film's images are to express more than a simple one for one,  denotative,  indexical significance, and are to attain to a connotative,  symbolic  - 56 significance.  It i s extremely d i f f i c u l t to give film form to  abstractions and intangibles, to be representational through a medium which i s largely presentational.  The areas in which film excels such  as  immediacy, movement, and the ready ability to create i l l u s i o n ,  are  of relatively l i t t l e advantage i n expressing a complex, intellec-  tual text like Der Tod i n Venedig.  An attempt to adapt Mann's  novella to the screen assumes the acceptance and b r i l l i a n t use of those limits inherent and indispensable i n film. Certain details of Der Tod i n Venedig are eminently cinematic. By and large they tend to be minor surface features of the core narrative or the story's ambience.  The novella is f u l l of b r i l l i a n t  images, but images inseparable from the language in which they are couched, the b e l l e t r i s t i c language of Aschenbach.  In transliterating  events and descriptions from Der Tod in Venedig into Morte ja Venezia, Visconti's primary concern i s to get meaning, significance from the objects and spaces of each frame, a significance determined by his reading of Der Tod i n Venedig and his need to select the elements essential for a visualisation of that reading. Two sequences of events i n the novella which are given much greater emphasis i n the film are those dealing with Aschenbach's trailing Tadzio through Venice, and those i n which Aschenbach and Tadzio exchange glances. Quantitatively the two journeys through the  Venetian labyrinth in pursuit of Tadzio take up a great deal more  time i n the film than is indicated i n the novella.  Like Visconti's  pans across the guests i n the hotel lobby or on the Lido, they are  repeated and extended to the point of tediousness.  Moreover, i t i s  never clearly established why the governess is leading her charges through the infected city.  However inexplicable, their tour i s  handled with such a feeling for Venice and i t s grimy, plague-ridden, romantic, architecturally correct and exemplary canals, bridges and byways, that one almost has the impression that Visconti i s interested only i n photographing Venice, and not i n the man who is dying i n Venice.  If the continual grimaces and pained expressions of  Aschenbach become virtually devoid of meaning, at least his journeys through Venice manage to capture some of the ambiguous, diseased beauty of the fallen Queen of the Seas.  No attempt i s made, however,  to specifically relate this ambiguity to him who most partakes of i t , Tadzio. The manner of presentation of the scenes in which Aschenbach and Tadzio exchange glances i s indicative of Visconti's handling of scenes offering sexual possibilities.  He has maintained that  quantitatively the number of glances exchanged between Aschenbach and 33 Tadzio is the same i n the film as i n the novella.  The problem,  however, i s not one of quantity, of faithfulness to the letter of the text, but one of quality, of faithfulness to the idea behind the inclusion of the glances in the novella.  The "glance" exchanged  between two characters i n a book i s not the "glance" exchanged on the screen.  This problem of transliteration is best isolated by  - 58 Micciche: Una cosa e* leggere "aveva osato get tare uno sguardo verso Tadzio e aveva visto i l bello ricambiargli 10 sguardo con uguale serieta*", dove oltre a tutto quell'aveva visto (e, almeno nella traduzione, quella particella pronominale in coda a l verbo ricambiare) accentua l a soggettivita" del tutto. Un'altra e invece vedere in primi piani e controcampi i due sguardi che concretamente s i incrociano. Nei primo caso i l lettore ha evidentemente l'arbitrio totale della propria immaginazione e quello invece assai minore della propria interpretazione; nei secondo egli ha indubbiamente un maggior arbitrio interpretativo, ma nessun arbitrio immaginativo, poi che" g l i sguardi sono i f , e son® quelli, ed hanno 11 rilievo che da" loro 1'immagine, essendo pero divenuti pesantemente oggettivi. Discorso anche questo che applica al caso particolare un dato generale delle immagini filmiche le quali, proprio per i l loro univoco presentarsi come una oggettivazione dell'immaginario, per essere quelle e non altre, escludono l'ambiguita della pagina s c r i t t a (nei cinema l'"ambiguita poetica" ha component! di tutt'altra natura) e quando con essa abbiano un rapporto, lo hanno di interpretazione e mai di riproduzione.34 Visconti is unable to give his exchanges of glances anything but a sexual quality. satisfactorily;  I n i t i a l l y they express the bewilderment of Aschenbach they quickly degenerate into type-casting Aschenbach  as a lecher, Tadzio as a mere f l i r t .  In a cinematic adaptation that  has taken great liberties with i t s texte de base, this insistence on faithfulness seems almost out of place.  It i s an interesting  comment on Visconti's reading of Der Tod in Venedig that he has taken Mann's mute words of love and the repressed desire they conceal, i.e. scenes of great potential eroticism, and emphasized them out of a l l due proportion, thereby adding to an interpretation of the novella that is already highly sex-oriented.  Visconti is always very mindful  of the sexual potential of Mann's story, the most noteworthy exception to this predilection being his omission of Mann's most overtly erotic scene, the nightmare/orgy. The sequence i n which these glances of erotic complicity are misused i n the worst possible way i s the provocation scene, that one in which Tadzio swings around on the pole under the boardwalk canopy in the face of Aschenbach.  The scene i s comparable to that one i n  the novella in which Aschenbach approaches Tadzio from behind and 3  attempts to speak to him, "leichte, heitere, Bekanntschaft zu machen". Like the earlier attempt to flee Venice this scene is also a case of opportunity missed.  If Aschenbach had been able to break that silence  which has always been the l o t of the "Einsam-Stummen," Mann implies that he might have been able to put his relation to Tadzio on a more natural footing:  "Dieser Schritt, den zu tun er versaeumte, er  haette sehr moeglicherweise zum Guten, Leichten und Frohen, zu 36  heilsamer Ernueghterung gefuehrt."  But Aschenbach keeps silent.  The moment to speak, to initiate some sort of communication between his world of Apollonian mind and Tadzio's world of Dionysian body, to bring this relationship with Tadzio within the paternalistic 37  pale hinted at by Mann ("Einen Sohn hatte er nie besessen"),  the  ideal moment for this action i s the meeting on the hotel boardwalk. The scene's importance rests in Aschenbach's inability or unwillingness to act. The reticence of Mann's Aschenbach is a reflection of a more  - 60 encompassing conspiracy of silence.  It i s part of the insidious  disintegration of language, Aschenbach's a r t i s t i c medium and means of controlling and ordering reality, which gains momentum as the story progresses.  Aschenbach's silence and isolation are only  underlined by the indistinct, deceptive, and incomprehensible sounds that f i l l Venice:  the muttering of the gondolier; the  polyglot babble of voices at the hotel; the balladier's "dreister 38 Schlager in unverstaendlichem Dialekt"  which renounces words and  musical accompaniment and deteriorates into mere rhythmical laughter. and gesture; the lies of the hotel manager; the disappearance of the German language newspapers from the hotel lobby and of the German language per se from Venice —  "als ob die deutsche Sprache urn 39  ihn her versiege und verstumme"; . the "Schwaetzer" of a barber; and of course the "weich verschwommen[e] Sprache" of Tadzio — "Aschenbach verstand nicht ein Wort vori dem, was er sagte, und mochte es das Alltaeglichste sein, es war verschwommener Wohllaut 40  in seinem Ohr.  So erhob Fremdheit des Knaben Rede zur Musik."  Aschenbach holds his silence to the point where, having collapsed at the well, i.e. immediately before the speech to Phaedrus, he is virtually unable to speak —  "und seine schlaffen Lippen, kos-  metisch aufgehoeht, bildeten einzelne Worte aus von dem, was sein 41  halb schlummerndes Him an seltsamer Traumlogik hervorbrachte." The scene of confrontation on the boardwalk offers Aschenbach the opportunity for seIf-awareness, for putting into words a situation over which he i s rapidly losing control.  By naming i t he can gain  - 61 some control over i t and over himself:  " A l l dialogue i s a proffer 42  of mutual cognisance and a strategic re-definition of s e l f . "  By  speaking to Tadzio Aschenbach might recognize him as merely a f r a i l Polish boy vacationing i n Venice. his  He might then be able to reaffirm  own secure, irreproachable position, and be able to break,, in  turn, the conspiracy of silence.  Visconti's transcription strips  the scene of significance by moving the unwitting Tadzio into the foreground in his role as antagonist.  The scene serves only to  present Tadzio as an annoying l i t t l e tease, a facet of his character which Visconti has already made clear enough.  It is certainly i n  keeping with the film's sexual dimension, but i t fails to say anything new or to reach below the surface.  It might as well have been omitted.  A sequence of scenes faithfully transposed from the novella is that one in which Aschenbach departs for and returns from the train station i n chapter three. in novella and film:  The outward events are identical  Aschenbach's recalcitrance at being rushed  over breakfast, the tacit farewell to Tadzio, the misdirected trunk at the station —  a l l are included in the film.  The only addition  is that of the old man who collapses.at the railroad station, the f i r s t indication of the plague that w i l l come to sweep the city. Here Visconti gets excellent results from his hotel manager, who seems to condense in his characterization that obsequious and A3  "beutelschneiderische Geschaeftsgeist der gesunkenen Koenigin" which is a part of the decadent environment Mann tries to evoke. Visconti cleverly brings forward and alters the character of Mann's  - 62 hotel manager, facendone in un certo senso i l contrario del direttore d'albergo che descrive Mann che e** piccoletto e pieno di falsa dignita. A me serviva invece un personaggio un po ' untuoso, che desse l a sensazione di f a l s i t a ed ambiguita: un tipico direttore d'albergo a l l ' i t a l i a n a , che ricorda un po' anche i l direttore dell' Hotel di Baalbeck di Marcel. Per me, dal vecchio della nave a l gondoliere, al direttore dell' albergo sono tutti dei piccoli diavoli che concorrono a determinare l a sorte di Aschenbach e lo conducono l a dove egli deve andare a trovare quell'angelo della morte che lo condurra a l compimento del suo destino.44 This " l i t t l e devil" is an exemplary cinematic resume of various individual details of the novella. But where the scenes of departure and return are weak i s with regard to the underlying question of motivation. Just as the plague which f i r s t appears in. Venice i n the stultifying, oppressive atmosphere must needs be exteriorised in the film i n the person of the old man who collapses at the train station, so the reason for Aschenbach's departure, which is given i n terms of an illness i n duced by the weather, must also be exteriorised in some manner. Visconti chooses to express the reason for Aschenbach's departure i n the person of Tadzio, "rendendo i n fondo parzialmente esplicito cio" che nella novella era parzialmente implicito.  Insomma l a pagina  s c r i t t a permette dilatazioni che l a pagina cinematografica non consente.  Ed io [Visconti] ho dovuto stringere le emozioni, ^  45  accumularle maggiormente, aggregarle di piu l'una a l l ' altra." This choice i s made especially explicit by the scene which precedes  - 63 Aschenbach's frantic packing, the meeting in the elevator.  Where  Mann's Aschenbach notices Tadzio's frailty and imperfect teeth, Visconti's only manages to exchange another glance with his fair tempter.  It is for Tadzio's sake alone that he tries to leave  Venice, that he f i r s t takes the boat across the lagoon as the Adagietto intones music of arch-romantic Sehnsucht, and then returns back across the lagoon while i t sounds again in triumph. Despite the reasons for departure which he gives the hotel manager —  unforseen circumstances in Munich, the bad weather —  his actions have a homoerotic determinant.  one knows  This i s quite the opposite  of the situation i n Mann, where the part Tadzio plays in Aschenbach's flight —  [Aschenbach] "erkannte, dass ihm um Tadzio's willen der 46  Abschied so schwer geworden war"  —  is brought to both Aschenbach's  and the reader's attention only when Aschenbach is safely ensconsed back in his hotel room. By describing the scene in which Aschenbach walks through Venice and stops to rest at that same well where he w i l l collapse at the end of chapter five, and by placing i t between the occurence i n the elevator and the decision to leave, by explaining Aschenbach's desire to leave only in terms of the weather and his physical defeat, Mann is able to evoke the ambiguous duplicity of two of the novella's Dionysian forces, the plague and Tadzio. One of the most readily visual sequences in Der Tod i n Venedig is that of Aschenbach's crossing from the steamer that has brought him from Pola to the Lido. Without any sexual colouring Visconti i  - 64 has successfully transcribed this scene in suitable grey, dismal tones and suspenseful uncanniness.  The shots of the gondola with  the trunk perched obliquely on the prow which seem to evoke Boecklin's Isle of the Dead are particularly striking.  The gondolier  has just the right amount of sullenness and menacing insistence to suggest the demonic in his make-up. Visconti's secondary characters are a l l very well drawn, and the s k i l l with which Mann's third principal demonic guide, the balladier, is drawn, makes one wish Visconti had seen his way to film the opening Munich scene and the f i r s t demonic guide. One character who's ambit, much like the hotel manager's, is greatly enlarged, i s the mother.  If anything reveals Visconti's  attitude towards the bourgeoisie i t i s the loving manner in which he has brought the figure of Tadzio's mother into the foreground as an embodiment of bourgeois attainments and culture:  "As she walks  through the film, her words are inaudible, incomprehensible and thoroughly perfect.  She i s the glory of her class, a living example  47 of privilege."  Visconti's position with regard to the bourgeoisie  as indicated by his depiction of the figure of the mother and the other hotel guests, is far from suggesting Mann's ambiguously c r i t i c a l position.  Even Visconti's criticism of Aschenbach i s directed  at Aschenbach the artist, not Aschenbach the bourgeois.  The  c r i t i c a l approach to the middle class evinced by his earlier films is largely lacking.  What i s very much in evidence here i s the  tendency towards a l y r i c self-indulgence  expressed in the nostalgic  - 65 -  celebration of a bygone era of elegance and beauty. The important role Visconti assigns to the beautiful i s signalled i n a recorded interview where he quotes the opening couplet from Platen's Tristan from the Sonette aus Venedig; Chi ha contemplato coi propri occhi la bellezza e* gia consacrato a l i a morte. (Wer die Schoenheit angeschaut mit Augen, Ist dem Tode schon anheimgegeben,) He concludes, referring to these lines: questa fosse l a 'frase di lancio  1  "Io vorrei anzi che  del film, proprio perche in essa 48  s i racchiude i l suo senso maggiore.  Where Mann makes a philosophic  discourse "den Kern des Ganzen", Visconti finds in Platen's lines a focal point which seems readily adaptable to cinematic reality. But does one really get the impression that Aschenbach i s condemned from the moment he f i r s t sets eyes on Tadzio?  And how can Tadzio  represent Beauty? He cannot be simply the imagined perfection envisaged by Aschenbach since the inner world of Aschenbach has not been disclosed: Tadzio, in the flesh, is a vulnerable creation. Mann's Aschenbach needed only to state perfection — the rest was up to the reader's imagination. In the film, Tadzio must represent a singular perfection for a multiplicity of interpretations — a hopeless undertaking: however beautiful the actor, he must remain flesh and reverse the Platonic direction, substituting for a universal ideal a questionable particularization. It i s this unfortunate density of the flesh which, combined with the equally physical definition of Aschenbach, gives Visconti's motion-picture too much of a mundane and sexual quality.49 The only element of Visconti's "frase di lancio" that is really conveyed is the  - 66 readily visual, the repetitious "contemplato coi propri occhi." The final scene of the film rounds out Visconti's characterization of Aschenbach.  Although the scene was originally planned  with the off-camera voice of Aschenbach addressing Socrates' lines to T a d z i o , i n i t s final form i t relies on the Adagietto alone to provide the sound track.  The change i s indicative of the direction  of Visconti's thought on Der Tod in Venedig.  At this point in the  film philosophic revelations would strike an odd note, due to their tenuous connection with what has gone before. But Mahler's l y r i c a l music is i n keeping with the tone of the movie as a whole, and in keeping with the melodramatic, grandiose gesture Visconti desires for his ending.  Visconti almost overwhelms Aschenbach with the strains  of Mahler's "Liebestod" and the vast spaces of the deserted Lido, He almost effaces him i n the resurgence of setting and music.  Having  reduced his protagonist to a helpless spectator, Visconti deals him the coup de grace by having his corpse lugged unceremoniously across the screen.  In death as in l i f e Aschenbach i s treated by Visconti  with disrespect, indeed, with misunderstanding and a certain defensive detachment.  - 67 REFERENCES 1. Micciche, L. Morte a Venezia. 2.  Ibid,  p. 120  3. Ibid,  p. 269  4.  Ibid,  p. 249  5.  cf. Ibid,  6.  Ibid,  p. 84  pp. 85-6  p. 117  7. Mann, Thomas.  Doktor Faustus.  p. 206  8. Micciche, L. op_. c i t . p. 86 9.  Ibid,  p. 258  10. Ibid,  p. 257  11. Ibid,  p. 268  12. Grossvogel, David I. Diacritics. p. 53.  Winter 1971, vol. 1, no. 2,  13. Micciche, L. op_. c i t . p. 308 14. Ibid,  p. 118  15. Ibid,  p. 118  16. Loc. c i t . 17. Mann, Thomas. 18. Ibid,  p. 449  19. Ibid,  p. 448  Der Tod i n Venedig.  p. 453  20. Loc. c i t . 21. Mann, Thomas.  Briefe 1889-1936. p. 123  22. Mann, Thomas.  Der Tod i n Venedig.  p. 486  - 68 -  23.  Braverman, Albert & Nachman, Larry David. 45 (19 70) p. 297  24.  Traschen, Isadore. Modem Fiction Studies.  Germanic Review. 11 summer 1965,  p. 174 25.  Braverman & Nachman. op_. c i t . p. 29 7  26. 27.  McClintock, Robert J. Man and his Circumstances: Educator, p. 484 Braverman & Nachman. op. c i t . p . 297  28.  Ibid.  29.  Mann, Thomas.  30.  Loc. cit.  31.  Ibid.  32.  Mellen, Joan.  33.  Micciche", L.  34.  Loc. c i t .  35.  Mann, Thomas. Der Tod i n Venedig .  36.  Ibid.  P- 494 (underlining mine)  37.  Ibid.  P- 456  38.  Ibid.  P- 509  39.  Ibid.  P- 499  40.  Ibid.  P- 489  41.  Ibid.  P- 521  42.  Steiner, George.  43.  Mann, Thomas.  44.  Micciche, L.  45.  Ibid.  P- 29 8  Der Tod i n Venedig . p. 454  P- 522  P« 119  Film Quarterly. 25 f a l l 19 71, p op_. c i t . p. 75  p. 493  Encounter. 33, No. 2, Aug.  Der Tod i n Venedig • P- 481 o_p_. c i t . p. 122  Ortega as  - 69 46.  Mann, Thomas.  Der Tod i n Venedig.  47.  Mellen, Joan.  op_. c i t . p. 42  48.  Micciche, L.  49.  Grossvogel, David I. p. 55  50.  Micciche, L.  op_. c i t .  p. 486  p. 117  Diacritics,  op_. c i t . p. 234  vol. 1, no. 2, winter 1971,  - 70 -  In approaching Morte a_ Venezia one must ask oneself to what extent one is justified in c r i t i c i z i n g i t i n terms of Der Tod i n Venedig, and how much value one can attach to a consideration of the film as a work of art sufficient unto i t s e l f and not dependant on Der Tod in Venedig for i t s aesthetic existence. This problem of Visconti's indebtedness to Mann i s well broached in a review appearing in Film Quarterly: film-makers are under no aesthetic obligation to respect their sources merely for the sources' sake; indeed, departure from the source i s precisely part of the challenge of adaptation, and i t i s always necessary, of course, i n the drastic compression through which a novel must pass to reach screen length. ... But i n any case comparisons are inevitable, since the way in which the original (or at least penultimate) author framed and solved the problems of the work cannot help but be of interest as we examine how the adapter attempted to frame and solve them. However, when a film-maker chooses to c a l l his work by the t i t l e of the original, i t is always part of the critic's task to compare the s p i r i t and the letter of the adaptation with the original. Pinter and Losey calling their film The Go-Between is an assertion that they are capturing visually the psychological nuances of L.P. Hartley's novel by the same name. The degree of their success, however,great or small, i s to some extent a comment on the significance of the original as well as a measure of how well they have achieved a selfassigned aesthetic task. By calling his film Death i n Venice, Visconti asks us to discover Thomas Mann's story within the texture of his film, as Kurosawa, with more humility, does not ask us to do when he gives his version of Macbeth the t i t l e Throne of Blood. 1  A study of Morte a Venezia which does not take i t s sources  - 71 into account seems to do the film more harm than good.  One might  go so far as to say that deprived of i t s auteur (i.e. of Visconti considered as auteur) and of Mann, the film could not stand alone. It gains strength when viewed within the context of Visconti's filmography, and i n consideration of the success with which i t expresses Mann's novella visually.  The film gains inestimably from the  difficulty which a viewer who has read the novella has i n trying to block out the novella and let the visuals speak for themselves. For one who has read the novella beforehand, the tendency to read into the film corroborating ideas and nuances which are not there, i s i r r e s i s t i b l e .  At the same time, however, the film suffers  a loss, a loss of intellectuality, ambiguity, and the sense of tragedy, as those who have previously read the novella search for the story "dal racconto di Thomas Mann" which they have a right to expect. It i s not just by the t i t l e of his film that Visconti invites comparison with Mann's novella.  Visconti uses allusion and quotation  in a manner reminiscent of Mann i n Doktor Faustus; the references are meant to be identified to one extent or another.  In Morte a.  Venezia Visconti i s as much the metteur en scene of Der Tod i n Venedig as he i s the independent auteur using his source material as "a pretext, which provides catalysts, scenes which fuse with 2  his own preoccupations to produce a radically new work."  Visconti  wants to be compared with Mann and with Mahler as "the last exponent  - 72 -  of an exhausted art form" —  a form represented, for him, by his  own concept of film as the narration of a refined and aesthetic l y r i c adventure.  Visconti courts decadence, and filming Der Tod  in Venedig i s one way of objectifying and sublimating this decadent view of art. The choice of Der Tod i n Venedig complements Visconti's position as one who i s conscious of decadence i n his work, much the way Mann, conscious of a growing sense of lack of direction and purpose i n his narrative prose around 1910, chose to write Der Tod in Venedig.  It gives Visconti the opportunity to identify with authors  who capture the decadent s p i r i t of l a belle epoque i n language and music, and the opportunity to identify  reluctantly with a character  who i s allowed one last fling before he, his art, and his world disappear.  Visconti i s aware that his style of film-making has  reached an impasse, that i t is no longer capable of expressing the problems which were a central feature of his earlier films.  He  knows, but does not act i n the light of that knowledge. He has turned inward, indifferent to current ideas and trends i n cinema, indulging his taste for stories of defeat and grandiloquence, for beauty in sets and costumes, to the point where one c r i t i c qualifies Morte a Venezia as "a masterpiece of disregard for everything but 3  the imperious, the beautiful, the symbolic, the cultivated." Visconti's choice of Per Tod i n Venedig for a film i s decidedly overly ambitious.  Mann's novella i s not wholly satisfying when  presented primarily as melodrama. The text i s one which complicates the s earch for the surfaces which a film-maker needs.  Aschenbach's  world i n the mind makes i t extremely d i f f i c u l t to locate in him "the irreducible core of raw, unquestioned reality that i s the f i r s t  - 73 -  premise of most great f i l m s . T h e intellectuality and "thematischmotivische Gewebstechnik"  of Der Tod in Venedig only increase the  risk.of falling prey to what has been termed "the cinematic fallacy": The assumption that complex emotions and subtle ideas, which can be expressed adequately only i n language, can be rendered in moving photographs. ... The one thing a film cannot do is express complex ideas or meanings; and forcing i t to do so puts a brake on movement (which i s the very essence of the movies) slowing i t down to a complete stop i n order to suggest a significance that goes beyond the image. ... The cinema derives i t s power from i t s ability to arouse an emotional reaction that i s both immediate and certain. Whereas a poem or a novel cannot come alive without the reader's elaboration; i t s power of suggestion is a construction of his mind, calling into play his sensibility, and his intellectual and imaginative faculties.7 Visconti's cinematic interpretation of Der Tod in Venedig is a l l structure, a l l skeleton, compounded by an ambiguity and intellectual pretention which tend to drag and obscure.  No  single image, no external rallying point, be i t object or character, is presented in a way which could provide the film with a reality capable of carrying the intellectual and aesthetic burden.  "Milieu  is made an easy substitute for analysis, melodrama ... for a sustained metaphor which would illuminate the contradictions inherent in the character of a man who would live simultaneously as bourg  geois and a r t i s t . "  Aschenbach seems unable to provide the picture  with motion, with a central l i f e force.  He does not partake enough  of reality, of cinematic reality, in order to be really effective.  - 74 -  By deleting the opening Munich scene, i.e. a pre-Venice image of Aschenbach, and by reducing the instances of Aschenbach's lucidity and ironic self-commentary  to the one, albeit very telling scene  in which he collapses at the well and turns upon himself the laughter which was directed at him in the hotel elevator by Tadzio and his young friends and on the hotel veranda by the balladiers  —  by curtailing such scenes Aschenbach's character is made rather flat and one-dimensional.  Visconti has not taken advantage of the  pivotal Socrates/Phaedrus discourse, and the discussion of the bourgeois artist i t contains, i n order to endow Aschenbach with filmic presence. The images of his film tend to be ungrounded i n a central understanding of who Aschenbach was and how his defeat was a historical as well as a personal event. ... Visconti, half-admiring the facade, never notices the substance — the tragedy of a man who could devote his l i f e to proving himself and his class worthy of an unchallengeable social and moral status. ... Visconti's adaptation of Death i n Venice should remind us, not of the impossibility of adapting great literature to film, but of the danger to the film-maker who would translate into his medium the work of an artist whose ideas he has not mastered as his own.^ A great work of literature does not necessarily make for a great film.  Visconti's adaptation of Der Tod in Venedig f a i l s to  do justice to the novella.  His "selection of the essential" i s too  greatly coloured by personal idiosyncracy to express the novella effectively, given that i t can be adequately rendered through the medium of film.  His choice of Der Tod in Venedig is motivated by the  desire to partake of an historical epoch of decay and refinement, by the need for a r t i s t i c asylum.  "It is film as hobby, or ornament,  - 75 -  but not as expression.""^ f i r s t , a film-maker second.  Visconti has become an aesthetician  - 76 REFERENCES 1.  Mellen, Joan.  Film Quarterly.  2.  Wollen, Peter. Signs and Meaning in the Cinema,  3.  G i l l i a t t , Penelope. p. 85  4.  Blumenthal, J. "MACBETH into THRONE OF BLOOD." Film and the Liberal Arts. T.J. Ross ed., p. 133  5.  Loc. c i t .  6.  Mann, Thomas. Wagner und unsere Zeit. quoted in McClain, William H. Modern Language Notes. 79, December 1964, p. 489.  7.  Chiaromonte, Nicola.  The New Yorker.  Mellen, Joan.  9.  Ibid,  p. 113  47, June 26/71,  "Priests of the Highbrow Culture."  Film and the Liberal Arts. 8.  25, f a l l 1971, p. 41  op_. c i t .  p. 42  p. 47  10. Blumenthal, J. op_. c i t . p. 122  T.J. Ross ed., p. 349-51  BIBLIOGRAPHY  TEXTS Mann, Thomas. Gesammelte Werke, Band VIII: Erzaehlungen. Frankfurt, S. Fischer Verlag, 1960. Visconti, Luchino. Morte a Venezia. Lino Micciche ed., Bologna, Cappelli Editore, 19 71.  GENERAL WORKS CONSULTED Bekker, Paul. Gustav Mahlers Sinfonien. Schneider, 1969 (1921). Blues tone, George. Novels into Film. John Hopkins Press, 1957.  Tutzing, Hans  Baltimore, The  Blumenthal, J. "MACBETH into THRONE OF BLOOD." Film and the Liberal Arts. T.J. Ross ed., New York, Holt Rinehart and Winston Inc., 19 70, pp. 122-35. Chiaromonte, Nicola. "Priests of the Highbrow Culture." Film and the Liberal Arts. T.J. Ross ed., New York, Hold Rinehart and Winston Inc., 19 70, pp. 346-53. Collaer, Paul. A History of Modern Music. The World Publishing Co., 1961 (1955).  New York,  Ferguson, Donald N. Masterworks of the Orchestral Repertoire. Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, 1954. Grube, G.M.A. "Plato's Theory of Beauty." 37, no. 2, April 1927, pp. 269-288.  The Monist.  Marcus, Fred H. ed. Film and Literature: Contrasts in Media. Scranton, Chandler Publishing, 1971. Mayer, J.P. 1946.  Sociology of Film.  London, Faber and Faber,  Nietzsche, Friedrich. The Birth of Tragedy. Francis Golffing trans., New York, Doubleday Anchor, 1956.  - 78 Richardson, Robert. Literature and Film. Indiana University Press, 1969.  Bloomington,  Troscott, Harold. "Gustav Mahler." The Symphony. volume 2, Robert Simpson ed., London, Penguin, 196 7, pp. 29-51. von Sternberg, Joseph. "Film as a Visual Art." Film and the Liberal Arts. T.J. Ross ed., New York, Holt Rinehart and Winston Inc., 1970, pp. 299-315. Wollen, Peter. Signs and Meaning in the Cinema. London, Seeker and Warburg, 1969.  ON THOMAS MANN Bance, A.F. "DER TOD IN VENEDIG and the Triadic Structure." Forum for Modern Language Studies, vol 8, no. 2, April 19 72, pp. 148-61. Baron, Frank. "Sensuality and Morality in Thomas Mann's TOD IN VENEDIG." Germanic Review. 45, 1970, pp. 115-25... Bergsten, Gunilla. Thomas Mann's DOCTOR FAUSTUS: The Sources and Structure of the Novel. Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1969 (1963). Braverman, Albert and Nachman, Larry David. "The Dialectic of Decadence: An Analysis of Thomas Mann's DEATH IN VENCIE." Germanic Review. 45, 19 70, pp. 289-98. . Eichner, Hans. "Aspects of Parody in the Works of Thomas Mann." Modern Language Review. 47, January 1952, pp. 30Frey, John R. "Die Stumme Begegnung: Beobachtungen zur Funktion des Blicks im TOD IN VENEDIG." German Quarterly. 41, 1968, pp. 177-95. Good, Graham. "The Death of Language in DEATH IN VENICE." Mosaic, vol. 3, spring 1972, pp. 43-52. Gustafson, Lorraine. Germanic Review.  "Xenophon and DER TOD IN VENEDIG." , 21, October 1946, pp. 209-14.  Heller, Erich. The Ironic German: A Study of Thomas Mann. Boston, L i t t l e , Brown & Co., 1958.  - 79 ON THOMAS MANN Continued Hepworth, James B. "Tadzio — Sabazios: Notes on DEATH IN VENICE." Western Humanities Review. 17, spring 1963, pp. 172-75. Hollingdale, R.J. Thomas Mann; A C r i t i c a l Study. London, Rupert Hart-Davis, 19 71. Kirchberger, Lida. "DEATH IN VENICE and the Eighteenth Century." Monatshefte. 58, winter 1966, pp. 321-33. Lehnert, Herbert. "Thomas Mann's early interest i n Myth and Erwin Rohde's PSYCHE." PMLA. 79, June 1964, pp. 297-304. "Thomas Mann's, own interpretations of DEATH IN VENICE and their Reliability." Rice University Studies, vol. 50, no. 4, f a l l 1964, pp. 41-60. McClain, William H. "Wagnerian Overtones i n DER TOD IN VENEDIG." Modern Language Notes. 79, December 1964, pp. 481-95. Mann, Thomas.  Briefe 1889-1936.  Frankfurt, S. Fischer Verlag, 1962.  Gesammelte Werke, Band v i : Doktor Faustus. Frankfurt, S. Fischer Verlag, 1960. • Gesammelte Werke, Band x i : Die Entstehung des Doktor Faustus: Roman eines Romans. Frankfurt, S. Fischer Verlag, 1960. Martin, John S. "Circean Seduction i n three Works by Thomas Mann." Modern Language Notes. 78, October 1963, pp. 346-52. Mautner, Franz. "Die Griechischen Anklaenge i n Thomas Mann's DER TOD IN" VENEDIG." Monatshefte. 44, January 1952, pp. 20-26. Nicholls, R.A. "Nietzsche i n the E r l y Works of Thomas Mann." University of California Publications i n Modern Philology. vol. 45, 1955. a  Nicklas, Hans W. Thomas Manns Novelle DER TOD IN VENEDIG: Analyse des Mo tivzus ammenhangs und der Erzaehls truktur. Marburg, N.G. Elwart Verlag, 1968.  i  - 80 Root, John G. " S t y l i s t i c Irony i n Thomas Mann." Germanic Review. 35, April 1960, pp. 94-102. Seidlin, Oskar. Von Goethe zu Thomas Mann. Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1963.  Goettingen,  Thomas, R. Hinton. Thomas Mann: The Mediation of Art. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1956. Traschen, Isadore. "The Uses of Myth i n DEATH IN VENICE." Modern Fiction Studies.. 11, summer 1965, pp. 165-79. von  Gronicka, Andre. "Myth plus Psychology: A S t y l i s t i c Analysis of DEATH IN VENICE." Thomas Mann: A Collection of C r i t i c a l Essays. Henry Hatfield ed., Englewood C l i f f s , New Jersey, Prentice Hall Inc., 1964, pp. 46-61.  ON LUCHINO VISCONTI Alpert, Hollis. "THE DAMNED." Saturday Review. December 27, 1969, p. 21. Collet, Jean. "The Absences of Sandra." in English, no. 2, 1966, pp. 18-21. Guillaume, Yves. Luchino Visconti. Universitaires, 1966.  Cahiers du Cinema  Paris, Editions  Hatch, Robert. "THE DAMNED." The Nation. 19, 19 70, p. 60.  210, January  Kael, Pauline. "THE DAMNED." The New Yorker. 3, 1970, p. 61-2.  45, January  Kaufmann, Stanley. "The Colours of Camus." Film '67/'68. Richard Schickel and John Simon eds., New York, Simon & Shuster, 1968, pp. 200-203. Morgenstern, Joseph. "Mr. Alienation." Film '67/'68. Richard Schickel and John Simon eds., New York, Simon & Shuster, 1968, pp. 203-04. Nowell-Smith, Geoffrey. & Warburg, 1967.  Luchino Visconti.  London, Seeker  Poggi, Gianfranco. "Luchino Visconti and the Italian Cinema." Film Quarterly. 13, no. 3, spring 1960, pp. 11-22. Visconti, Luchino. "Drama of Non-Existence." Cahiers du Cingma i n English, no. 2, 1966, pp. 12-17. Two Screenplays; New York, Orion Press,1968.  LA TERRA TREMA, SENSO.  Three Screenplays: WHITE NIGHTS, ROCCO AND HIS BROTHERS, THE JOB. New York, Orion Press, 1970. Premier Plan, issue on Visconti).  no. 17, 1961, (special  REVIEWS OF "MORTE A VENEZIA" Alpert, Hollis. "DEARTH IN VENICE [sic]." June 19, 19 71, p. 28. "Visconti i n Venice." August 8, 1970, pp. 16-18.  Saturday Review.  Saturday Review.  Coleman, Francis X.J. "Film i s a low Art." Modern Occasions. Winter 19 72, pp. 113-119, Denby, David.  Atlantic Monthly.  G i l l i a t t , Penelope.  228, September 19 71, pp. 111-13.  The New Yorker.  47, June 26, 1971, p. 85.  Grossvogel, David I. "DEATH IN VENICE: Visconti and the Too, Too Solid Flesh." Diacritics, vol. 1, no. 2, winter 1971, pp. 52-55. Hatch, Robert.  The Nation.  212, June 28, 1971, p. 829.  Kane, B.M. "Thomas Mann and Visconti" Modern Languages. vol. 53, no. 2, June 1972, pp. 74-80. Kanfer, Stefan.  Time. July 5, 1971, p. 54.  Mann, Michael. "Der verfilmte TOD IN VENEDIG," Sueddeutsche Zeitung. Feuilleton Samstag/Sonntag 20/21 November 19 71, no. 278.  - 82 REVIEWS OF "MORTE A VENEZIA" Mellen, Joan.  Film Quarterly.  25, f a l l 1971, pp. 41-47.  Westerbeck, Colin L. Jr. Commonweal. 94, September 24, 1971, p. 501. Zimmerman, Paul D. Newsweek.  77, June 28, 1971, p. 92.  


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