Mann’s Der Tod in Venedig and Der Zauberberg and Zweig’s Der Amokläufer
The exoticization of places is no more evident than in the case of European locales symbolically rendered mysterious, desirous, and threatening, as occurs in the case of Venice and the Swiss Alps, respectively, in Thomas Mann’s Der Tod in Venedig and Der Zauberberg. What these central Mann texts share in common with Zweig’s novella Der Amokläufer is the coupling of the exotic topography with both erotic desire and infection illness. This chapter shows thematically how the infectious-erotic topography, in which protagonists experience a moral downfall or loss of rationality, situates a critique of the self-certain and usually dominant European subject in the face of the foreign other. This chapter further outlines in theoretical terms the ways in which usually familiar or ordinary places can be symbolically exoticized by their association with eros and infection.
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