Stefan Zweig (1881-1942) was the most widely read German-language author of the twentieth century. Zweig was a secular Jew, a Pan-European and a pacifist. He was born in Vienna on November 28, 1881 and studied there and in Berlin. As a young man, he translated French poetry by Verlaine, Baudelaire, and Verhaeren into German. He quickly branched out into journalism, fiction, biography and writing for the theater. His plays, including the anti-war Jeremiah, were produced throughout Europe. His books were eventually translated into over 50 languages. Today, he is best known for his many works of non-fiction. They include the classic memoir The World of Yesterday and many biographical essays on famous writers and thinkers such as Erasmus, Tolstoy, Balzac, Stendhal, Nietzsche, Dostoevsky, Dickens, Freud and Mesmer. He lived in Salzburg with his first wife Friderike until 1933, when his books were burned by the Nazis. In 1934, he emigrated to England where he continued writing and met his second wife Lotte Altmann. In 1941, the couple moved to Brazil where they committed suicide in 1942.
Balzacby Stefan Zweig
This biography of one classic author by another is filled with Zweig's
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Zweig devoted ten years of research and writing to Balzac, which he regarded as his crowning achievement. This late work reads like a picaresque novel, with Balzac's quest for "a woman with a fortune" and recurrent episodes of the author chasing an elusive pot of gold driving the story.
This biography of one classic author by another is filled with Zweig's characteristic psychological insights. He portrays the energy and "exuberance of imagination" that produced some two thousand characters in La comédie humaine, as well as the daily details of the coffee-chugging writer's life, his manic writing schedule, method of correcting proofs, dealing with publishers and reviewers, signing contracts, doing marketing and publicity.
Balzac blends biography and literary history in a highly readable volume that will teach you French cultural history as you laugh out loud.
"[Balzac] is sure to entertain, instruct and charm ... It is a work of art, ... alive with the teeming life of its model ... It is true both to facts and to the more elusive psychological and spiritual truth of a man who ... has remained one of the most mysterious of great creators." – Henri Peyre, Sterling professor of French Literature, Yale University, The New York Times
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