Given this considerable dichotomy, between the me that was significantly impressed by Mann's obvious talent, and the more emotional, "enjoyment-centric" me left wanting more by a narrative that seemed dry and lifeless, I’ve resolved to revisit this work in a few years (it's only 150 pages) for a follow up.

Source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53061.Death_in_Venice

I would like to ask you to help me with understanding the passage in bold from the above excerpt. I understand that the author expressed the experience of reading Mann's novel. One side of his reader personality was impressed, the other has the objections. What does it mean "left wanting" from the context? Does the word "left" function as a verb?

2 Answers 2


The writer is saying that there were two 'mes', the 'me' who was impressed by Mann's talent, and the 'me' that was not satisfied. 'Left' is the past participle of the verb 'leave', here functioning as an adjective. To leave someone wanting more of something is to give that person a certain amount, but not enough, so that they are not satisfied. I was hungry, but my mother only gave me a small sandwich, so I was left wanting more.

Participle adjectives


There's an old English StackExchange question that asks something similar:


This is an idiomatic expression - "left X wanting more" can mean at least two opposite things, as the commenters on that question mentioned:

  1. X was dissatisfied/disappointed by the subject and wished there were more substance that would have improved the situation.
  2. X was so wowed by the subject that they couldn't get enough, and at the end, they were ready to have more of it.

The meaning here seems to be the first - the second "me" is disappointed by Mann's writing.

(and yes, if you couldn't already tell, "left" is a verb - the past tense or past participle of "to leave")

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