Stefan Zweig
November 17, 2010 6:55 PM   Subscribe

Stefan Zweig (November 28, 1881 – February 22, 1942) was an Austrian novelist, playwright, journalist and biographer. At the height of his literary career, in the 1920s and 1930s, he was one of the most famous writers in the world.

Not everyone was a fan.

But [Robert Musil] would never let go of the idea that Mann was a popularizer, a species of intellectual that he could not abide. He had nothing but contempt for the likes of Stefan Zweig. Critic Hans Mayer relates how he once suggested to Musil that he emigrate to South America. Musil simply shook his head: "Stefan Zweig is in South America." - Sven Birkerts, An Artificial Wilderness
posted by Joe Beese (8 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
'I was mildly amused, as I walked up the hill, to see this, a US mailbox'

some cool pics of Zweig.
posted by clavdivs at 7:34 PM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

Lowenstein.... Lowenstein....
posted by fleetmouse at 7:50 PM on November 17, 2010

Michael Hofmann remains not a fan.
posted by Football Bat at 7:58 PM on November 17, 2010 [2 favorites]

Zweig's been increasingly in the air since the good people at Pushkin Press started putting him back on the shelves a few years ago. Here's a great review of The Post-Office Girl from William Deresiewicz, written near the start of Zweig's renaissance; here's the inevitable backlash, courtesy of the LRB's Michael Hofmann:
There is something touchingly wrong about Zweig. He had a trammelled life and preached freedom; he gave himself to public causes and had little to say; he was obtuse and hypersensitive and worshipped at the altar of friendship. He is like someone walking up a down escalator, his eyes anxiously fixed on Parnassus – all those people and friends whose manuscripts he collected – toiling away and not coming close.
Naturally, the backlash had its own backlash.
posted by Iridic at 7:59 PM on November 17, 2010 [2 favorites]

You can find his story Buchmendel here.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:32 PM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

For those of us in my line of work - printmaking - the mere mention of Zweig's name sends shivers down the spine. For us, his short story The Invisible Collection is the most horrific thing we could ever read ...
posted by woodblock100 at 8:39 PM on November 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

And here's "Letter from an Unknown Woman."
posted by Iridic at 9:22 PM on November 17, 2010

I know nothing of Zweig bar recently reading of the republication of his autobiography, but that Hoffmann piece is quite the tour de force of invective. Obviously not in any position to say whether any of it was justified, but in a riposte linked at one of the blogs Iridic links there's a good point made, ' retrospect I feel he has achieved something by stirring up this debate, for at least after half a century of neglect we are talking about Zweig.' Only thing worse than being talked about and all that.
posted by Abiezer at 11:00 PM on November 17, 2010

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