Published on the eve of World War I, a decade after Buddenbrooks had established Thomas Mann as a literary celebrity, "Death in Venice" tells the story of Gustave Aschenbach, an aging writer who visits Venice. In the decaying city, which is besieged by a cholera epidemic, he becomes obsessed with an exquisite Polish boy, Tadzio. "It is a story of the voluptuousness of doom," Mann wrote." But the problem I had especially in mind was that of the artist's dignity."Tonio Kroger" deals with a homoerotic passion that is transmuted into heterosexual love, the relation between the artist and the confidence man, and the dichotomy between "art" and "life". In "Tristan", Mann explores death and eros, and in "Felix Krull" (a fragment of what would become Mann's last novel), the notion of the artist as con man is taken up directly. "Disorder and Early Sorrow", "A Man and His Dog", "The Blood of the Walsungs", and "Mario and the Magician", Mann's chilling parable of fascism, complete this collection.