Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Life and work
Zweig wrote novels and short stories, and several biographies, of which his most famous is probably the one of Mary Stuart. This was published in German as Maria Stuart and in English as (The) Queen of Scots or Mary, Queen of Scotland and the Isles. At one time his works were published in English under the pseudonym "Stephen Branch" (a translation of his real name), when anti-German sentiment was running high.
Zweig studied philosophy and the history of literature. Being a Jew, he fled Austria in 1934. He was famously defended by the composer Richard Strauss who refused to remove Zweig's name (as librettist) from the posters for the premiere, in Dresden, of his opera Die schweigsame Frau (The Silent Woman). This led to Hitler refusing to come to the premiere as planned; the opera was banned after three performances.
Zweig then lived in England (in Bath and London), before moving to the USA. In 1941 he went to Brazil, where he and his wife Lotte committed suicide together in Petrópolis, 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." His book The World of Yesterday is a paean to the European culture he considered lost.
There are significant Zweig collections at the British Library and at Fredonia College , State University of New York (SUNY). The BL Zweig collection, given to the library by its trustees in May 1986, includes a wide range of items of surprising variety and rarity, among them Mozart's own Verzeichnüss, that is, the composer's own handwritten thematic catalogue of his works.
Zweig and Zionism
Jewish 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. Zweig devoted his early life to aesthetic matters. Although his essays were accepted by the Zionist leader Theodor Herzl, literary editor of the Neue Freie Presse , Zweig was not attracted to Herzl's Jewish nationalism.
Novels and short stories include:
- Buchmendel (1929)
- Beware of Pity
- Twenty-Four Hours in the Life of a Woman
- Burning Secret
- The Royal Game (Schachnovelle) about a man's obsession with chess, formed in the captivity of the German SS.
- Letter From An Unknown Woman
- Amok (1922)
- Joseph Fouché (1929)
- Mental Healers (Franz Mesmer, Mary Baker Eddy, Sigmund Freud) (1932; German: Heilung durch den Geist, 1931)
- Marie Antoinette (1932)
- Erasmus (1934)
- Paul Verlaine
- World of Yesterday (memoir; Die Welt von Gestern)
- British Library
- Zweig collection at the Daniel A Reed Library, Fredonia College, SUNY
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