Cover image for The real Tadzio : Thomas Mann's Death in Venice and the boy who inspired it
The real Tadzio : Thomas Mann's Death in Venice and the boy who inspired it
Adair, Gilbert.
Personal Author:
First Carroll and Graf edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Carroll & Graf, 2003.

Physical Description:
104 pages : portraits ; 18 cm
General Note:
Originally published: London : Short, 2001.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PT2625.A44 Z74853 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



In the summer of 1911, the German writer Thomas Mann visited Venice in the company of his wife Katia. There, in the Grand Hotel des Bains, as he waited for the dinner-gong to ring, the author's roving eye was drawn to a nearby Polish family, the Moeses, consisting of a mother, three daughters, and a young sailor-suited son who, to Mann, exuded an almost supernatural beauty and grace. Inspired by this glancing encounter with the luminous child, Mann wrote Death in Venice, and the infatuated writer made of that boy, Wladyslaw Moes, one of the twentieth century's most potent and enduring icons. According to Gilbert Adair in his sparkling evocation of that idyll on the Adriatic, Mann wrote his novella, "as though taking dictation from God." But precisely who was the boy? And what was his reaction to the publication of Death in Venice in 1912 and, later, the release of Luchino Visconti's film adaptation in 1971? In this revealing portrait, including telling photographs, Gilbert Adair brilliantly juxtaposes the life of Wladyslaw Moes with that of his mythic twin, Tadzio. It is a fascinating account of a man who was immortalized by a genius, yet forgotten by history.

Author Notes

Gilbert Adair was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on December 29, 1944. He wrote numerous books during his lifetime including A Night at the Pictures, Myths and Memories, Hollywood's Vietnam, Flickers, and Surfing the Zeitgeist. His novels, Love and Death on Long Island and The Dreamers, were adapted into films, the later by Adair himself. He also helped write the screenplays The Territory, Klimt, and A Closed Book. He won the Author's Club First Novel Award for The Holy Innocents in 1988 and the Scott Moncrieff Translation Prize for his book A Void in 1995. During the 1990s, he wrote a regular column for the Sunday Times. He died in early December 2011 at the age of 66.

(Bowker Author Biography)