Friderike Maria von Winternitz (born Burger) (1920-1938; divorced) Lotte Altmann (1939-1942; his death)
Moritz Zweig (1845–1926) Ida Brettauer (1854–1938)
Alfred Zweig (1879–1977) (brother)
Stefan Zweig (German: [tsvaɪk]; 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.
Zweig was born in Vienna, the son of Moritz Zweig (1845–1926), a wealthy Jewish textile manufacturer, and Ida Brettauer (1854–1938), from a Jewish banking family. Joseph Brettauer did business for twenty years in Ancona, Italy, where his second daughter Ida was born and grew up, too. Zweig studied philosophy at the University of Vienna and in 1904 earned a doctoral degree with a thesis on "The Philosophy of Hippolyte Taine". 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 Jews and Jewish themes, as in his story Buchmendel. Zweig had a warm relationship with Theodor Herzl, the founder of Zionism, whom he met when Herzl was still literary editor of the Neue Freie Presse, then Vienna's main newspaper; Herzl accepted for publication some of Zweig's early essays. Zweig believed in internationalism and in europeanism; Herzl's Jewish nationalism could not therefore have had much attraction, as The World of Yesterday, his autobiography, makes clear. The Neue Freie Presse did not review Herzl's Der Judenstaat. Zweig himself called Herzl's book an "obtuse text, [a] piece of nonsense".
Zweig was related to the Czech writer Egon Hostovský. Hostovský described Zweig as "a very distant relative"; some sources describe them as cousins.
At the beginning of World War I, patriotic sentiment was widespread, and extended to many German and Austrian Jews: Zweig, as well as Martin Buber and Hermann Cohen, all showed support. Zweig, although patriotic, refused to pick up a rifle; instead, he served in the Archives of the Ministry of War, and soon acquired a pacifist stand like his friend Romain Rolland, recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature 1915. He then moved to Switzerland until the end of the war. Zweig remained a pacifist all his life and advocated the unification of Europe. Like Rolland, he wrote many biographies. His Erasmus of Rotterdam he called a “concealed self-portrayal” in The World of Yesterday.
Zweig married Friderike Maria von Winternitz (born Burger) in 1920; they divorced in 1938. As Friderike Zweig she published a book on her former husband after his death. She later also published a picture book on Zweig. In 1939 Zweig married his secretary Lotte Altmann.
Zweig left Austria in 1934, following Hitler's rise to power in Germany. He then lived in England (in London first, then from 1939 in Bath). Because of the swift advance of Hitler's troops into France and all of Western Europe, Zweig and his second wife crossed the Atlantic Ocean and traveled to the United States, where they settled in 1940 in New York City, and traveled. On August 22, 1940, they moved again to Petrópolis, a town in the conurbation of Rio de Janeiro. Feeling more and more depressed by the growth of intolerance, authoritarianism, and Nazism, and feeling hopeless for the future for humanity, Zweig wrote a note about his feelings of desperation. Then, in February 23, 1942, the Zweigs were found dead of a barbiturateoverdose in their house in the city of Petrópolis, holding hands. He had been 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.
The Zweigs' house in Brazil was later turned into a museum and is now known as Casa Stefan Zweig.
Zweig was a prominent writer in the 1920s and 1930s, befriending Arthur Schnitzler and Sigmund Freud. He was extremely popular in the United States, South America and Europe, and remains so in continental Europe; however, he was largely ignored by the British public, and his fame in America has since dwindled. Since the 1990s there has been an effort on the part of several publishers (notably Pushkin Press and the New York Review of Books) to get Zweig back into print in English. Plunkett Lake Press Ebooks has begun to publish electronic versions of his non-fiction as well.
Criticism over his oeuvre is severely divided between some English-speaking critics, who despise his literary style as poor, lightweight and superficial, and some of those more attached to the European tradition, who praise his humanism, simplicity and effective style.
Zweig enjoyed a close association with Richard Strauss, and provided the libretto for Die schweigsame Frau (The Silent Woman). Strauss famously defied the Nazi regime by refusing to sanction the removal of Zweig's name from the program for the work's première on June 24, 1935 in Dresden. As a result, Goebbels refused to attend as planned, and the opera was banned after three performances. Zweig later collaborated 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 "Letztes Gedicht", which Zweig wrote on the occasion of his 60th birthday in November 1941. During his stay in Brazil, Zweig wrote Brasilien, Ein Land der Zukunft (Brazil, Land of the Future) which was an accurate analysis of his newly adopted country and in his book he managed to demonstrate a fair understanding of the Brazilian culture that surrounded him.
Zweig was a passionate collector of manuscripts. There are important Zweig collections at the British Library and at the State University of New York at Fredonia. The British Library's Stefan Zweig 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 aller meiner Werke" – that is, the composer's own handwritten thematic catalogue of his works.
Moonbeam Alley, 1922 (Original title: Die Mondscheingasse)
Amok, 1922 (Original title: Amok) – novella, initially published with several others in Amok. Novellen einer Leidenschaft
The Invisible Collection, 1925 (Original title: Die unsichtbare Sammlung)
Downfall of the Heart, 1927 (Original title: Untergang eines Herzens")
The Invisible Collection see Collected Stories below, (Original title: Die Unsichtbare Sammlung, first published in book form in 'Insel-Almanach auf das Jahr 1927')
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) – novella initially published in the volume Verwirrung der Gefühle: Drei Novellen
Short stories, 1930 (Original title: Kleine Chronik. Vier Erzählungen) – includes Buchmendel
Did He Do It?, published between 1935 and 1940 (Original title: War er es?)
Leporella, 1935 (Original title: Leporella)
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
Incident on Lake Geneva, 1936 (Original title: Episode an Genfer See Revised version of "Der Flüchtung. Episode vom Genfer See" published in 1927)
Amerigo, 1944 (Original title: Amerigo. Geschichte eines historischen Irrtums) – written in 1942, published the day before he died ISBN 4-87187-857-0
Balzac, 1946 – written, as Richard Friedenthal describes in a postscript, by Zweig in the Brazilian summer capital of Petrópolis, 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).
^"Died". Time magazine. March 2, 1942. Retrieved 2010-06-30. "Died. Stefan Zweig, 60, Austrian-born novelist, biographer, essayist (Amok, Adepts in Self-Portraiture, Marie Antoinette), and his wife, Elizabeth; by poison; in Petropolis, Brazil. Born into a wealthy Jewish family in Vienna, Zweig turned from casual globe-trotting to literature after World War I, wrote prolifically, smoothly, successfully in many forms. His books banned by the Nazis, he fled to Britain in 1938 with the arrival of German troops, became a British subject in 1940, moved to the U.S. the same year, to Brazil the next. He was never outspoken against Naziism, believed artists and writers should be independent of politics. Friends in Brazil said he left a suicide note explaining that he was old, a man without a country, too weary to begin a new life. His last book: Brazil: Land of the Future."
^Fowles, John (1981). Introduction to "The Royal Game". New York: Obelisk. pp. ix.