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Balzac, Dickens, Dostoevsky: Master Builders of the Spirit
     

Balzac, Dickens, Dostoevsky: Master Builders of the Spirit

by Stefan Zweig, Laurence Mintz (Introduction)
 

Written over a period of twenty-five years, this first volume in a trilogy is intended to depict in the life and work of writers of different nationalities--Balzac, Dickens, and Dostoevsky--the world-portraying novelist. Though these essays were composed at fairly long intervals, their essential uniformity has prompted Zweig to bring these three great novelists of

Overview

Written over a period of twenty-five years, this first volume in a trilogy is intended to depict in the life and work of writers of different nationalities--Balzac, Dickens, and Dostoevsky--the world-portraying novelist. Though these essays were composed at fairly long intervals, their essential uniformity has prompted Zweig to bring these three great novelists of the nineteenth century together; to show them as writers who, for the very reason that they contrast with each other, also complete one another in ways which makes them round our concept of the epic portrayers of the world.

Zweig considers Balzac, Dickens, and Dostoevsky the supremely great novelists of the nineteenth century. He draws between the writer of one outstanding novel, and what he terms a true novelist--an epic master, the creator of an almost unending series of pre-eminent romances. The novelist in this higher sense is endowed with encyclopedic genius, is a universal artist, who constructs a cosmos, peopling it with types of his own making, giving it laws of gravity that are unique to these fi gures.

Each of the novelists featured in Zweig's book has created his own sphere: Balzac, the world of society; Dickens, the world of the family; Dostoevsky, the world of the One and of the All. A comparison of these spheres serves to prove their diff erences. Zweig does not put a valuation on the differences, or emphasize the national element in the artist, whether in a spirit of sympathy or antipathy. Every great creator is a unity in himself, with its own boundaries and specifi c gravity. There is only one specifi c gravity possible within a single work, and no absolute criterion in the sales of justice. This is the measure of Zweig, and the message of this book.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Long out of print, [Balzac, Dickens, Dostoevsky: Master Builders of the Spirit] features a new and informative introduction by Laurence Mintz who is their senior editor and currently directing a new series on European Cultural Studies. Zweig chose Balzac, Dickens, and Dostoevsky for his studies because the first drew from society for his subject matter, the second from the family, and their third from what Zweig described as 'of the One and of the All'. He drew comparisons, noted differences, and provided a wealth of insights and occasional iconoclastic observations that continue to have significant relevance to the study of these three men's literary work. "Balzac, Dickens, and Dostoevsky" is the first of a proposed three volume series which will prove to be a valued and important addition to academic library Literary Studies reference collections and supplemental reading lists.” -- Midwest Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781412810470
Publisher:
Transaction Publishers
Publication date:
12/20/2009
Pages:
291
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.62(d)

Meet the Author

Stefan Zweig (1881-1942) was an outstanding Austrian novelist, playwright, journalist, and biographer whose work became very popular in the US, South America, and Europe especially between the 1920s and 1930s. In 1904 he earned his doctorate degree in philosophy at the University of Vienna. Throughout his life he remained a pacifist, and instead of becoming a soldier at the start of World War I, he worked in the Archives of the Ministry of War. He became friends with notable people in history, including Romain Rolland, Sigmund Freud, and Arthur Schitzler. Among his most famous writings are Beware of Pity, Chess Story, and his memoir The World of Yesterday.

Laurence Mintz is an independent scholar and visual artist. He was senior editor at Transaction Publishers for more than fifteen years. His main area of interest is in European cultural studies.

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