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Comments

Caroline

Wonderful review Danielle.
I can assure you you have still a lot to look forward to as he was a master of the novella and short story.
My father always said that Beware of Pity was one of his favourites. I haven't it, I think I haven't read any of his longer pieces. Something to look forward to for me. And there are all of his biographies which seem outstanding and his memoir that I like a great deal.
I think the Austrian writers of that time were all highly influenced by Freud. That makes them still so fascinating.

Liz F

The only work by Stefan Zweig that I have read is his biography of Marie Antoinette although I have a copy of The Post Office Girl on my shelf.
I have to confess to not having finished the biography yet but I enjoyed his style and will hopefully get around to reading some of his fiction before too long.

Stefanie

Zweig's is such a sad story. I mean to read more of his work but keep forgeting about him so thanks for once again jogging my memory :)

Danielle

Caroline--At first I was a little disappointed to think I only had shorter works (fiction-wise) to look forward to with Zweig, but after reading this novella, I think I will enjoy his shorter works. I loved Beware of Pity--you'll have to read it sometime--very cool that it was one of your father's favorites! And I should try some of his biographies at some point, too. I think he wrote those first, didn't he? Do you know I have never studied Freud and only know a very little about him--but I should read more since I find this era so fascinating.
Liz--I am so slow on biographies, which is why I have gravitated more towards his novels. The Post Office Girl is wonderful, if a little bleak. You'll have to pick it up sometime soon!
Stefanie--His life story is very sad. He seems such an interesting person--what an awful time to live and see so much destruction--it literally killed him, I think. If you liked The Post Office Girl, Beware of Pity is even better and I think his shorter works are going to be very good, too.

Junie

I have only read Zweig's "Letter from an Unknown Woman". Even in translation, the way he uses language is just beautiful. It was published in 1922 so I think it's in the public domain now, at least here in the States. Here's a link to it:
http://course1.winona.edu/pjohnson/e603/documents/zweig.pdf

I think Zweig was a "hothouse flower"--and I mean no disrespect by that. I think his kind of sophistication is admirable. I respect him as a writer and as an individual. But he was the product of a very rarified environment so much so that I think he was unable to summon the will to live in a world that was so debased and degraded in comparison with the Vienna of his childhood.

Thanks for the review. As always, your synopsis is just wonderful, telling enough to capture our interest without giving away any plot twists or character revelations.

Danielle

Junie--I like your description and think it is really apt. He was very idealistic, wasn't he? It must have been terribly disheartening to see your work condemned to the bonfires and then so much art and literature and progressive thinking just crushed. I think I find that era so fascinating (between the wars) because so much was happening with art and literature--it's an interesting period to think about. I'm always unsure how much to say about a book, but I like to say something about it in case people aren't familiar--the critical stuff is pretty much beyond me, but I guess there are other ways to talk about books. I'm glad I don't give too much away but still give enough of a teaser! :)

litlove

Oh you remind me I must read Stefan Zweig. In fact, I have only read his biography of Marie Antoinette (it's a chunkster, so there's plenty of his writing there!) and that was years ago. I did have an idea of the circumstances of his life, though and wasn't it dreadfully sad? He had so much hope and enthusiasm when young. Still, he did leave behind some pretty incredible writing.

Tony

I definitely want to read more Zweig. There will be a review of 'Schachnovelle' coming up, but that's the only one of his I've read so far. Which are his longest works - the two you mentioned at the start of your review?

Danielle

Litlove--I am curious about his nonfiction and whether I would like it as much as his novels. I'll have to try it sometime-my library where I work has almost all his biographies, but not many of his novels--strangely. I'd love to read a biography of him--he sounds so interesting. And yes, at least we do have quite a few books by him still and happily most of them seem to be in print!
Tony--It sounds as though you are able to read in German--very lucky as I have read that he is a little difficult to translate (well at least that is what Anthea Bell said in her afterword). I'd like to read this one as well--I think it is one of his more famous novellas. I will watch for your review. And I do think the two I mentioned are his longest fictional works--both are excellent if you plan on reading more of Zweig.

Tony

Definitely ones to try then. I've also heard a little about 'Angst', so that could be next :)

Caroline

I'm intrigued about what Anthea Bell wrote. Did she say why she thought he was difficult to translate?

Danielle

Tony--I especially loved Beware of Pity and it is on my list of books to reread. So many of his novellas are now being translated that I am not sure which one is "Angst"--my library is going to be getting in a slew of his books and I can't wait to start reading them! I'll be checking out that title as well.

Caroline--In her afterword Anthea Bell writes:
"Incidentally, Zweig's meticulous but at the same time condensed style makes him a challenge to translate, although an enjoyable challenge. You read him in the original and on the surface everything is limpid, lucid; then you start translating him, and you have to think hard about what exactly lies below the wording of every sentence."
So my wording is a bit off--not difficult exactly but challenging--I always wonder what it is like to translate works. I read somewhere that a book in translation (well something to this effect) has been written twice--first by the author and then by the translator--am guessing that means that the translator must take in not only the story but also the time and period it was written and the feeling of the story as well. That definitely sounds challenging!

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