•  
  •  
 

Abstract

In her article "The Representation of Instinctive Homosexuality and Immoral Narcissism in Gide’s The Immoralist (1902) and Mann’s Death in Venice (1912)" Louise Willis examines two early literary representations of homosexuality in André Gide's The Immoralist (1902) and Thomas Mann's Death in Venice (1912). She reads them with fin-de-siècle sexological theory, mainly Freud's Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (1905). Willis argues that the texts reflect the reconception of homosexuality as a latent instinct with pathological expression, rather than a sinful act of free will. The article explains that visual imagery conveys homoerotic desire, by incorporating Nietzsche's concept of Apollonian-Dionysiac duality, and through the protagonists' scopophilic regard for youth and health. Moreover, it describes how the erotics and ethics of same-sex intimacy are reconfigured in terms of creative energy, and in Mann's text, with aspects of Classical culture. Willis concludes that both authors carefully, and uniquely, distinguish between homoerotic drive and the moral sensibilities that put sexual self-expression in conflict with narcissistic excess.