Author bio

Stefan Zweig

Stefan Zweig - book author

Stefan Zweig was one of the world's most famous writers during the 1920s and 1930s, especially in the U.S., South America, and Europe. He produced novels, plays, biographies, and journalist pieces. Among his most famous works are Beware of Pity, Letter from an Unknown Woman, and Mary, Queen of Scotland and the Isles. He and his second wife committed suicide in 1942.

Zweig studied in Austria, France, and Germany before settling in Salzburg in 1913. In 1934, driven into exile by the Nazis, he emigrated to England and then, in 1940, to Brazil by way of New York. Finding only growing loneliness and disillusionment in their new surroundings, he and his second wife committed suicide.

Zweig's interest in psychology and the teachings of Sigmund Freud led to his most characteristic work, the subtle portrayal of character. Zweig's essays include studies of Honoré de Balzac, Charles Dickens, and Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Drei Meister, 1920; Three Masters) and of Friedrich Hölderlin, Heinrich von Kleist, and Friedrich Nietzsche (Der Kampf mit dem Dämon, 1925; Master Builders). He achieved popularity with Sternstunden der Menschheit (1928; The Tide of Fortune), five historical portraits in miniature. He wrote full-scale, intuitive rather than objective, biographies of the French statesman Joseph Fouché (1929), Mary Stuart (1935), and others. His stories include those in Verwirrung der Gefühle (1925; Conflicts). He also wrote a psychological novel, Ungeduld des Herzens (1938; Beware of Pity), and translated works of Charles Baudelaire, Paul Verlaine, and Emile Verhaeren.

Most recently, his works provided the inspiration for 2014 film The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Stefan Zweig is the author of books: Chess Story, Olağanüstü Bir Gece, Brief einer Unbekannten, The World of Yesterday, Amok Koşucusu, Beware of Pity, Angst, Amok and Other Stories, Vingt-quatre heures de la vie d'une femme, The Post-Office Girl

Author books

Chess Story, also known as The Royal Game, is the Austrian master Stefan Zweig's final achievement, completed in Brazilian exile and sent off to his American publisher only a matter of days before his suicide in 1942. It is the only story in which Zweig looks at Nazism, and he does so with characteristic emphasis on the psychological.

Travelers by ship from New York to Buenos Aires find that on board with them is the world champion of chess, an arrogant and unfriendly man. They come together to try their skills against him and are soundly defeated. Then a mysterious passenger steps forward to advise them and their fortunes change. How he came to possess his extraordinary grasp of the game of chess and at what cost lie at the heart of Zweig's story.

This new translation of Chess Story brings out the work's unusual mixture of high suspense and poignant reflection.
Ein Liebesbrief erreicht den Romancier und Lebemann R. an seinem einundvierzigsten Geburtstag – die leidenschaftliche Lebensbeichte einer Frau, deren Lebensmittelpunkt er war.

Doch sie ist für ihn nur eine belanglose Geliebte unter vielen geblieben, letztlich eine Unbekannte. »Ich klage Dich nicht an, mein Geliebter, nein, ich klage Dich nicht an«, verspricht sie, und doch stellen ihre glühenden Worten das Leben dieses Mannes, der »nur das Leichte, das Spielende, das Gewichtlose« lieben kann und vor Bindungen zurückscheut aus »Angst, in ein Schicksal einzugreifen«, vollständig in Frage.
Stefan Zweig's memoir, The World of Yesterday, recalls the golden age of prewar Europe - its seeming permanence, its promise and its devastating fall with the onset of two world wars. Zweig's passionate, evocative prose paints a stunning portrait of an era that danced brilliantly on the brink of extinction. It is an unusually humane account of Europe from the closing years of the 19th century through to World War II, seen through the eyes of one of the most famous writers of his era. Zweig's books (novels, biographies, essays) were translated into numerous languages, and he moved in the highest literary circles; he also encountered many leading political and social figures of his day.

The World of Yesterday is a remarkable, totally engrossing history. This translation by the award-winning Anthea Bell captures the spirit of Zweig's writing in arguably his most important work, completed shortly before his tragic death in 1942. It is read with sympathy and understanding by David Horovitch.
The great Austrian writer Stefan Zweig was a master anatomist of the deceitful heart, and Beware of Pity, the only novel he published during his lifetime, uncovers the seed of selfishness within even the finest of feelings.

Hofmiller, an Austro-Hungarian cavalry officer stationed at the edge of the empire, is invited to a party at the home of a rich local landowner, a world away from the dreary routine of his barracks. The surroundings are glamorous, wine flows freely, and the exhilarated young Hofmiller asks his host's lovely daughter for a dance, only to discover that sickness has left her painfully crippled. It is a minor blunder, yet one that will go on to destroy his life, as pity and guilt gradually implicate him in a well-meaning but tragically wrongheaded plot to restore the unhappy invalid to health.

"Stefan Zweig was a dark and unorthodox artist; it's good to have him back." —Salman Rushdie
Irene Wagner, verheiratet und Mutter zweier Kinder, lebt vordergründig ein Leben, das den Anforderungen bürgerlicher Moralvorstellung vollauf genügt. Im Widerspruch zu diesem Leben steht ihr Verhältnis mit einem Musiker. Sorgsam um Geheimhaltung bemüht, wird sie bei einem Treffen mit ihrem Liebhaber von einer vermeintlichen Nebenbuhlerin gestellt und erpresst. Als auch ihr Ehemann Verdacht zu schöpfen scheint, entsteht aus dem Konflikt zwischen individueller Leidenschaft und gesellschaftlicher Norm ein Sog, der Irene, getrieben von Angst und Schuld, schließlich zum Äußersten treibt.

Die Novelle des österreichischen Schriftstellers Stefan Zweig entstand 1910 in Wien. Sie exemplifiziert am Charakter der Irene die Freudschen Theorien zur Psychoanalyse.
A doctor in the Dutch East Indies torn between his medical duty to help and his own mixed emotions; a middle-aged maidservant whose devotion to her master leads her to commit a terrible act; a hotel waiter whose love for an unapproachable aristocratic beauty culminates in an almost lyrical death, and a prisoner-of-war longing to be home again in Russia. In these four stories, Stefan Zweig shows his gift for the acute analysis of emotional dilemmas. His four tragic and moving cameos of the human condition are played out against cosmopolitan and colonial backgrounds in the first half of the twentieth century.
Scandale dans une pension de famille « comme il faut », sur la Côte d'Azur du début du siècle : Mme Henriette, la femme d'un des clients, s'est enfuie avec un jeune homme qui pourtant n'avait passé là qu'une journée... Seul le narrateur tente de comprendre cette « créature sans moralité », avec l'aide inattendue d'une vieille dame anglaise très distinguée, qui lui expliquera quels feux mal éteints cette aventure a ranimés chez elle.
Ce récit d'une passion foudroyante, bref et aigu comme les affectionnait l'auteur d'Amok et du Joueur d'échecs, est une de ses plus incontestables réussites.
2009 PEN Translation Prize Finalist

The logic of capitalism, boom and bust, is unremitting and unforgiving. But what happens to human feeling in a completely commodified world? In The Post-Office Girl, Stefan Zweig, a deep analyst of the human passions, lays bare the private life of capitalism.

Christine toils in a provincial post office in post–World War I Austria, a country gripped by unemployment. Out of the blue, a telegram arrives from Christine’s rich American aunt inviting her to a resort in the Swiss Alps. Christine is immediately swept up into a world of inconceivable wealth and unleashed desire. She feels herself utterly transformed: nothing is impossible. But then, abruptly, her aunt cuts her loose. Christine returns to the post office, where yes, nothing will ever be the same again.

Christine meets Ferdinand, a bitter war veteran and disappointed architect, who works construction jobs when he can get them. They are drawn to each other, even as they are crushed by a sense of deprivation, of anger and shame. Work, politics, love, sex: everything is impossible for them. Life is meaningless, unless, through one desperate and decisive act, they can secretly remake their world from within.

Cinderella meets Bonnie and Clyde in Zweig’s haunting and hard-as-nails novel, completed during the 1930s, as he was driven by the Nazis into exile, but left unpublished at the time of his death. The Post-Office Girl, available here for the first time in English, transforms our image of a modern master’s achievement.