Death in Venice Part Two: A Look Back Over Aschenbach’s Life

Thomas Mann

Part Two: A Look Back Over Aschenbach’s Life

Study Questions
1. Did Aschenbach go to school as a child?

2. Did Aschenbach always support established authorities?

3. Who were Aschenbach’s parents?

4. What was the subject of Aschenbach’s prose epic?

5. What is the significance of the French saying “Tout com¬prendre c’est tout pardonner”?

6. What sort of ethic did Aschenbach celebrate in his writing?

7. What sort of a family did Aschenbach have?

8. How did the writing of Aschenbach change as he grew older?

9. How does Aschenbach feel about his achievements?

10. What general impression does Aschenbach make with his physical appearance?

Answers
1. No, because of ill health, he was given solitary lessons at home.

2. No, Aschenbach went through a brief period of youthful iconoclasm.

3. Aschenbach’s father was an official in the service of the king, and his mother was the daughter of a Bohemian conductor.

4. Aschenbach wrote a prose epic on the life of Frederick the Great of Prussia.

5. It means, “To understand is to excuse.” Aschenbach despised the “flabby humanitarianism” of the phrase.

6. He celebrated the triumph or will over adversity.

7. He had been briefly married, but his wife died shortly after. His daughter was married, and Aschenbach lived alone.

8. It grew increasingly severe and intolerant.

9. His achievements give Aschenbach little pleasure.

10. Aschenbach is rather slightly built, and his features reflect the intense strain of years of intense mental activity.