Beware of Pity

Beware of Pity

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by Stefan Zweig
     
 

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"Beware of Pity is a novel which explores the complex hidden recesses of emotion. In 1913 a young second lieutenant discovers the terrible dangers of pity and eventually flees from them into the battlefield. His involvement begins with a faux pas: he had no idea the girl was lame when he asked to dance. Paying her an occasional afternoon call seemed to give him a new… See more details below

Overview

"Beware of Pity is a novel which explores the complex hidden recesses of emotion. In 1913 a young second lieutenant discovers the terrible dangers of pity and eventually flees from them into the battlefield. His involvement begins with a faux pas: he had no idea the girl was lame when he asked to dance. Paying her an occasional afternoon call seemed to give him a new sense of purpose and he did not notice how imperceptibly bound up with tenderness his concern might be. The girl's face brightened, her father doted, the young man's self-esteem rose. But he was gradually to learn that pity, like morphia, is only at first a solace to the invalid and unless one knows the exact dosage, and when to stop, it can become a virulent poison." Beware of Pity is Stephan Zweig's only novel and is a devastatingly unindulgent realisation of the torment of the betrayal of both honour and love, set against the background of the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Beware of Pity, his first venture in longer fiction, is original and powerful work...Zweig has chronicled a hopeless and tragic relationship in a manner that so holds the reader as never to dispirit him, telling a story full of psychological pitfalls that only an experienced writer, and an experienced human being could dare to attempt...Zweig remains, after Beware of Pity, what he seemed to be—in his novelettes and biographies—before he wrote it: a brilliant writer." —The New York Times

"Admired by readers as diverse as Freud, Einstein, Toscanini, Thomas Mann and Herman Goering." —The New York Times

"Herr Zweig presents this story with considerable skill, with compelling force...It is a good story." —The New York Times

"What is so impressive about Beware of Pity is Zweig's ability to make us feel the violently shifting emotions of all his characters as if they were our own. Only a writer of great sensitivity could do this. His theme, or moral, which he does not obtrude on us in any clumsy way, is that impulsive pity for others is a dangerous emotion with embroils us in false situations, often with disastrous results." —Sunday Telegraph

"Beware of Pity is an utterly unsparing dissection of the corruptions of false pity...In stripping away the lies with which we disguise our true desires from ourselves, Zweig lays bare the larger lies of the age: it was, in fact, the perfect novel for that 'low, dishonest decade,' as Auden termed it." —The New York Sun

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780452255128
Publisher:
Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date:
04/01/1984
Pages:
368
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 5.00(h) x 1.00(d)

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