Stefan Zweig  

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“Before 1914, the earth had belonged to all. People went where they wished and stayed as long as they pleased. There were no permits, no visas, and it always gives me pleasure to astonish the young by telling them that before 1914 I travelled to India and to America without passport and without ever having seen one. One embarked and alighted without questioning or being questioned… The frontiers which, with their customs officers, police and militia, have become wire barriers thanks to the pathological suspicion of everybody against everybody else, were nothing but symbolic lines which one crossed with as little thought as one crosses the Meridian of Greenwich… I, a case-hardened creature of an age of freedom and a citizen of the world-republic of my dreams, count every impression of a rubber stamp in my passport a stigma…” --The World of Yesterday (1942) Stefan Zweig

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Stefan Zweig (November 28, 1881, Vienna, Austria – February 23, 1942, Petrópolis, Brazil) was an Austrian novelist, playwright, journalist and biographer, known for such work as Letter from an Unknown Woman, Fear and World of Yesterday.



Zweig was the son of Moritz Zweig, a wealthy Jewish textile manufacturer, and Ida (Brettauer) Zweig, a member of an Italian banking family. He studied philosophy and the history of literature, and in Vienna he was associated with the avant garde Young Vienna movement. Religion did not play a central role in his education. "My mother and father were Jewish only through accident of birth," Zweig said later in an interview - yet he did not renounce his Jewish faith and wrote repeatedly on Jewish themes. Although his essays were published in the Neue Freie Presse, whose literary editor was the Zionist leader Theodor Herzl, Zweig was not attracted to Herzl's Jewish nationalism.

During the First World War, he took a pacifist stand together with French writer Romain Rolland, summoning intellectuals from all over the world to join them in active pacifism, which actually led to Romain Rolland being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Zweig remained pacifist all his life but also advocated the unification of Europe before the Nazis came, which has had some influence in the making of the European Union. Like Rolland, he wrote many biographies; he described the one on Erasmus of Rotterdam as a concealed autobiography.Template:Fact

Zweig fled Austria in 1934 following Hitler's rise to power in Germany. He then lived in England (in Bath and London), before moving to the United States. In 1941 he went to Brazil, where in 1942 he and his second wife Lotte (née Charlotte Elisabeth Altmann) committed suicide together in Petrópolis, despairing at the future of Europe and its culture. "I think it better to conclude in good time and in erect bearing a life in which intellectual labour meant the purest joy and personal freedom the highest good on Earth", he wrote. His autobiography The World of Yesterday is a paean to the European culture he considered lost.


Stefan Zweig was a prominent writer in the 1920s and 1930s; though he is still well-known in many European countries, his work has become less familiar in the anglophone world. Since the 1990s, there has been an effort on the part of several publishers (notably Pushkin Press) to get Zweig back into print in English.

Zweig is best known for his novels (notably The Royal Game, Amok, Beware of Pity, and Confusion of Feelings) and biographies (notably Erasmus of Rotterdam, Conqueror of the Seas: The Story of Magellan and Mary, Queen of Scotland and the Isles). At one time, his works were published in English under the pseudonym 'Stephen Branch' (a translation of his real name), when anti-German sentiment was running high. His biography of Queen Marie-Antoinette was later adapted for a Hollywood movie starring the actress Norma Shearer in the title role.

Zweig also provided the libretto for the 1934 opera Die schweigsame Frau (The Silent Woman) by his friend Richard Strauss. Strauss famously defended him from the Nazi regime by refusing to remove Zweig's name from the posters for the work's première in Dresden; as a result, Hitler refused to attend as planned, and the opera was banned after three performances. Zweig later would collaborate with Joseph Gregor to provide Strauss with the libretto for one other opera, Daphne, in 1937. At least one other work by Zweig received a musical setting: the pianist and composer Henry Jolles, who like Zweig had fled to Brazil to escape the Nazis, composed a song "Último poema de Stefan Zweig," based on "Letzte Gedicht," which Zweig wrote on the occasion of his 60th birthday in November 1941.

There are important Zweig collections at the British Library and at the State University of New York at Fredonia. The British Library's Zweig Music Collection was donated to the library by his heirs in May 1986: it specialises in autograph music manuscripts, including works by Bach, Haydn, Wagner, and Mahler. It has been described as "one of the world's greatest collections of autograph manuscripts". One particularly precious item is Mozart's Verzeichnüss, that is, the composer's own handwritten thematic catalogue of his works.


The dates mentioned below are the dates of first publication in German.

Note: This bibliography is still incomplete. Please refer to the German version for more information.


  • The Love of Erika Ewald, 1904 (Original title: Die Liebe der Erika Ewald)
  • Burning Secret, 1913 (Original title: Brennendes Geheimnis)
  • Letter from an Unknown Woman, 1922 (Original title: Brief einer Unbekannten) - novel
  • Amok, 1922 (Original title: Amok) - novel, initially published with several others in Amok. Novellen einer Leidenschaft
  • Fear, 1925 (Original title: Angst. Novelle)
  • The Eyes of My Brother, Forever, 1925 (Original title: Die Augen des ewigen Bruders)
  • The Invisible Collection, 1926 (Original title: Die Unsichtbare Sammlung) - THIS REFERENCE IS UNCERTAIN
  • The Refugee, 1927 (Original title: Der Flüchtling. Episode vom Genfer See).
  • Confusion of Feelings or Confusion: The Private Papers of Privy Councillor R. Von D, 1927 (Original title: Verwirrung der Gefühle) - novel initially published in the volume Verwirrung der Gefühle: Drei Novellen
  • Twenty-Four Hours in the Life of a Woman, 1927 (Original title: Vierundzwanzig Stunden aus dem Leben einer Frau) - novel initially published in the volume Verwirrung der Gefühle: Drei Novellen
  • Short stories, 1930 (Original title: Kleine Chronik. Vier Erzählungen) - includes Buchmendel
  • Collected Stories, 1936 (Original title: Gesammelte Erzählungen) - two volumes of short stories:
    1. The Chains (Original title: Die Kette)
    2. Kaleidoscope (Original title: Kaleidoskop). Includes: Casual Knowledge of a Craft, Leporella, Fear, Burning Secret, Summer Novella, The Governess, Buchmendel, The Refugee, The Invisible Collection, Fantastic Night and Moonbeam Alley
  • Beware of Pity, 1939 (Original title: Ungeduld des Herzens)
  • The Royal Game or Chess Story (Original title: Schachnovelle; Buenos Aires, 1942) - novella written in 1938-41, published posthumously
  • The Intoxication of Metamorphosis, 1982 (Original title: Rausch der Verwandlung. Roman aus dem Nachlaß) - unfinished novel, published posthumously

Biographies and Historical Texts

  • Béatrice Gonzalés-Vangell, Kaddish et Renaissance, La Shoah dans les romans viennois de Schindel, Menasse et Rabinovici, Septentrion, Valenciennes, 2005, 348 pages.
  • Emile Verhaeren, 1910
  • Three Masters: Balzac, Dickens, Dostoeffsky, 1920 (Original title: Drei Meister. Balzac – Dickens – Dostojewski)
  • Romain Rolland. The Man and His Works, 1921 (Original title: Romain Rolland. Der Mann und das Werk)
  • Nietzsche, 1925 (Originally published in the volume titled: Der Kampf mit dem Dämon. Hölderlin – Kleist – Nietzsche)
  • Decisive Moments in History, 1927 (Original title: Sternstunden der Menschheit)
  • Adepts in Self-Portraiture: Casanova, Stendhal, Tolstoy, 1928 (Original title: Drei Dichter ihres Lebens. Casanova – Stendhal – Tolstoi)
  • Joseph Fouché, 1929 (Original title: Joseph Fouché. Bildnis eines politischen Menschen)
  • Mental Healers: Franz Mesmer, Mary Baker Eddy, Sigmund Freud, 1932 (Original title: Die Heilung durch den Geist. Mesmer, Mary Baker-Eddy, Freud)
  • Marie Antoinette: The Portrait of an Average Woman, 1932 (Original title: Marie Antoinette. Bildnis eines mittleren Charakters)
  • Erasmus of Rotterdam, 1934 (Original title: Triumph und Tragik des Erasmus von Rotterdam)
  • Mary, Queen of Scotland and the Isles or The Queen of Scots, 1935 (Original title: Maria Stuart)
  • The Right to Heresy: Castellio against Calvin, 1936 (Original title: Castellio gegen Calvin oder Ein Gewissen gegen die Gewalt)
  • Conqueror of the Seas: The Story of Magellan, 1938 (Original title: Magellan. Der Mann und seine Tat)
  • Amerigo, 1944 (Original title: Amerigo. Geschichte eines historischen Irrtums) - written in 1942, published posthumously
  • Balzac, 1946 - written, as Richard Friedenthal describes in a Postscript, by Zweig in the Brazilian summer capital of Petropolis, without access to the files, notebooks, lists, tables, editions and monographs that Zweig accumulated for many years and that he took with him to Bath, but that he left behind when he went to America. Friedenthal wrote that Balzac "was to be his magnum opus, and he had been working at it for ten years. It was to be a summing up of his own experience as an author and of what life had taught him." Friedenthal claimed that "The book had been finished," though not every chapter was complete; he used a working copy of the manuscript Zweig left behind him to apply "the finishing touches," and Friedenthal rewrote the final chapters (Balzac, translated by William and Dorothy Rose [New York: Viking, 1946], pp. 399, 402).


  • Tersites, 1907 (Original title: Tersites)
  • Das Haus am Meer, 1912
  • Jeremiah, 1917 (Original title: Jeremies)


  • World of Yesterday (Original title: Die Welt von gestern; Stockholm, 1942) - autobiography
  • Brazil, Land of the Future (Original title: Brasilien. Ein Land der Zukunft; Bermann-Fischer, Stockholm 1941)

Books on Stefan Zweig

  • Elizabeth Allday, Stefan Zweig: A Critical Biography, J. Philip O'Hara, Inc., Chicago, 1972
  • Randolph J. Klawiter, Stefan Zweig. An International Bibliography, Ariadne Press, Riverside, 1991.
  • Donald A. Prater, European of Yesterday: A Biography of Stefan Zweig, Holes and Meier Publ., rev. ed., 2003
  • Friderika Zweig, Stefan Zweig, Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1946 - an account of his life by his first wife

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Stefan Zweig" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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