Beware of Pityby Stefan Zweig, Joan Acocella (Introduction), Phyllis Blewitt (Translator), Trevor Blewitt (Translator)
In 1913 a young second lieutenant discovers the terrible dangers of pity. He had no idea the girl was lame when he asked her to dance-his compensatory afternoon calls relieve his guilt but give her a dangerous glimmer of hope. Stefan Zweig's only novel is a devastatingly unindulgent realization of the torment of the betrayal of both honor and love, realized against the background of the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Author Biography: Stefan Zweig was born in 1881 in Vienna, a member of a wealthy Austrian-Jewish family. He studied in Berlin and Vienna and was first known as a poet and translator, then as a biographer. Zweig travelled widely, living in Salzburg between the wars. In 1934 he briefly moved to London, taking British citizenship. After a short period in New York he settled in Brazil in 1942.
Meet the Author
Stefan Zweig was born in 1881 in what then was Austria-Hungary and committed suicide with is wife in Brazil in 1942 after being forced to flee Nazi-held Europe. Before his books were banned by the Nazis, his biographies, plays, stories, and his only novel, Beware of Pity, established his reputation as one of the most widely read and translated authors in the world.
Phyllis and Trevor Blewitt's translations include Alfred Döblin's Men without Mercy.
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THE BOOK IS VERY BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN. AND MOST WONDERFUL, IT'S MOVING AND DRAMATIC! IT'S THE TALE OF A SOLDIER WHO EXPERIENCES FOR THE FIRST TIME THE FEELING OF "TRUE PITY" FOR A YOUNG CRIPPLED WOMAN. HE REALIZES HOW THIS EMOTION MAKES HIM FEEL APPRECIATED BY THE GIRL AND HER FAMILY, AND CAUSES HIM TO FEEL GOOD ABOUT HIMSELF ... AND HAPPY! SO HE BECOMES ALMOST DRUNK ON HIS NEW FOUND FEELING OF PITY. BUT, IT LEADS HIM INTO A PACK OF LIES AND TROUBLES AND SOON BECOMES A TORMENT WHICH HE TRIES TO RUN FROM. THUS THE TITLE, "BEWARE OF PITY." IN THE END, HIS NEW FOUND FEELINGS OF PITY ALMOST DESTROY HIM.
Beware of Pity is a fascinating study of how a young leutenant in the Austrian Army obsesses on the emotion of pity. Zweig's detailed anaylisis of how the the young hero of the novel swings back and forth between pity for an invalid girl and her father and his awareness that he is being trapped in an ever complex web of emotions that he must escape or perish. The conclusion is something of a let down but until then the rest of the book is a tour de force that overwhelms the reader page after page.
This book will leave you overwhelmed by it's grace and by the author's brilliant style and sensibility. Be prepared to be obsessed with Zweig's books.