Stefan Zweig

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Stefan Zweig
BirthplaceVienna, Austria-Hungary
Novelist, playwright, journalist and biographer
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Zweig, Stefan


Born Nov. 28, 1881, in Vienna; died Feb. 22, 1942, in Petrópolis, Brazil. Austrian writer.

Zweig studied Romance and Germanic philology at the universities of Vienna and Berlin. He did a great deal of traveling in Europe, Indochina, North America, and South America. In 1928 he visited the USSR and followed with interest the successes of the building of socialism. During World War I he adopted a pacifist position. He lived abroad from 1934, in Great Britain, the USA, and Brazil. Unable to bear separation from his native country and driven to despair because of the war, Zweig committed suicide.

In his collections of short stories Erstes Erlebnis (1911), Amok (1922), and Conflicts (1927), Zweig sought to penetrate the dark corners of psychology, portraying—sometimes with a touch of melodrama—the complex conflicts in the personal lives of his heroes. His social vision as a writer, however, was limited: his relation to the “little man” did not go beyond compassion and the condemnation of the ugliness of bourgeois mores. The novel Beware of Pity (1939) is similar in tone to his short stories.

An important place in Zweig’s work is occupied by his biographical novels, essays, and sketches. Although not always factually accurate and often arbitrary (sometimes even oversimplified) in describing the life and work of historical persons, such as Stendhal, L. N. Tolstoy, Freud, and Nietzsche, Zweig’s subjective biographies win one over with their inventiveness of critical thought, ability to re-create historical color, and understanding of the psychology of the creative personality. These traits can be seen in his essays about E. Verhaeren (1917) and R. Rolland (1921) and in the cycle of biographies Master Builders (1920–28). Zweig worked for about 30 years on a biography of Balzac, which was published in 1946. The abstractness of Zweig’s humanist views is especially evident in his memoirs, The World of Yesterday (published 1944), and in the collection of speeches, essays, and critical articles entitled Meetings With People, Books, and Cities (1937). His final flashes of faith in courage and the daring of human genius in the novels Conqueror of the Seas: The Story of Magellan (1938) and Americo (published 1942) could not resolve the crisis that for long had dominated Zweig’s work and world outlook.


Ausgewählte Werke, vols. 1–2. Düsseldorf, 1960.
St. Zweig, Fr. Zweig: Briefwechsel. Bern [1951].
R. Strauss, St. Zweig: Briefwechsel. [Frankfurt am Main] 1957.
M. Gorki, St. Zweig: Briefwechsel. Leipzig, 1971.
In Russian translation:
Sobr. soch., vols. 1–12. Foreword by M. Gorky. Leningrad, 1928–32.
Sobr. soch., vols. 1–7. Moscow, 1963. (Introductory article by B. L. Suchkov.)


Lunacharskii, A. V. Foreword to Stefan Zweig, Sobr. soch., vol. 10. Leningrad [1932].
Fedin, K. Pisatel’, Iskusstvo, Vremia. Moscow, 1961.
Suchkov, B. L. Liki vremeni. Moscow, 1976.
Zweig, F. R. Stefan Zweig: Eine Bildbiographie. [Munich, 1961.]
Prater, D. A. European of Yesterday: A Biography of Stefan Zweig. Oxford, 1972.
Klawiter, R. J. Stefan Zweig: A Bibliography. Chapel Hill, N.C. [1965].


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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" Peter Zadek's Production of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice and Marlowe's The Jew of Malta at Vienna's Burgtheater" (305-36): Susanne Vill, "Displaying Midsummer Night's Dreams" (337-70); Rudolf Weiss, "The Return of The Silent Woman: Stefan Zweig's Ben Jonson Adaptation for Richard Strauss and Ronald Harwood's Collaboration" (371-406); W.
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"The Grand Budapest Hotel," combines a 20th century middle Europe setting with the fantasy world of helmer Wes Anderson, who drew inspiration from the writings of Stefan Zweig. Locations, buildings, decorations, artifacts and costumes--all meticulously created --don't exactly reproduce the period but rather embellish upon it and give it a surreal air.
Can't wait to read it!" Ceri Shore, Ty Newydd Venue Co-ordinator: The Lives of Others by Neil Mukherjee; Stoner by John Williams and Enduring Love by Ian McEwan Elena Schmitz, Head of Strategy: Chess Story by Stefan Zweig (originally Die Schachnovelle); Down There On A Visit by Christopher Isherwood; I'm Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen by Sylvie Simmons - "Best accompanied by listening to lots of his music."
For the renowned Austrian writer Stefan Zweig they were shots "that in a single second shattered the world of security and creative reason".
Harvey Keitel, Lea Seydoux, Mathieu Amalric and many other faces familiar from indie and European film turn up in the sets of the Hotel Borse (in Gorelitz, Germany) and Potsdam of this quirkier-than-quirky movie, which Anderson says in the credits was inspired by the Austrian Belle Epoch novels of Stefan Zweig. The Max Ophuls film of Zweig's Letter from an Unknown Woman is one of the great triumphs of sentimental 1940s period piece production design, just as Budapest is the greatest expression of Anderson's love of ornate buildings, old money, older furniture, tiny models and modish, saturated colours.
Of course, it is somewhat fictionalized (Antoinette never told du Barry: "I have not walked the streets of Paris, but that is something upon which you can enlighten us -- royalty always likes an occasional roll in the gutter!'') But the facts remain remarkably true to the life and death of Marie Antoinette, based heavily on Stefan Zweig's great biography of the queen.
Inspired by Viennese writer Stefan Zweig, this is a cross between the inventiveness of the French cinema pioneer Georges Melies (who inspired Scorsese's Hugo), The Pink Panther and Benny Hill - hence the agreeably enduring lightness of spirit.