Infectious-Erotic Topographies

Jennifer Anna Gosetti-Ferencei

in Exotic Spaces in German Modernism

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199604128
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191729362 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Modern Languages and Literature Monographs

Infectious-Erotic Topographies

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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.

Keywords: Thomas Mann; Stefan Zweig; exotic; infection; erotic; Death in Venice; The Magic Mountain, Der Amokläufer

Chapter.  21457 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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