Beware of Pity

Beware of Pity

4.8 4
by Stefan Zweig
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Wes Anderson on Stefan Zweig:  "I had never heard of Zweig...when I just more or less by chance bought a copy of Beware of Pity. I loved this first book.  I also read the The Post-Office GirlThe Grand Budapest Hotel has elements that were sort of stolen from both these books. Two characters in our story

Overview

Wes Anderson on Stefan Zweig:  "I had never heard of Zweig...when I just more or less by chance bought a copy of Beware of Pity. I loved this first book.  I also read the The Post-Office GirlThe Grand Budapest Hotel has elements that were sort of stolen from both these books. Two characters in our story are vaguely meant to represent Zweig himself — our “Author” character, played by Tom Wilkinson, and the theoretically fictionalised version of himself, played by Jude Law. But, in fact, M. Gustave, the main character who is played by Ralph Fiennes, is modelled significantly on Zweig as well."

The great Austrian writer Stefan Zweig was a master anatomist of the deceitful heart, and Beware of Pity, the only novel he published during his lifetime, uncovers the seed of selfishness within even the finest of feelings.

Hofmiller, an Austro-Hungarian cavalry officer stationed at the edge of the empire, is invited to a party at the home of a rich local landowner, a world away from the dreary routine of the barracks. The surroundings are glamorous, wine flows freely, and the exhilarated young Hofmiller asks his host—s lovely daughter for a dance, only to discover that sickness has left her painfully crippled. It is a minor blunder that will destroy his life, as pity and guilt gradually implicate him in a well-meaning but tragically wrongheaded plot to restore the unhappy invalid to health.

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:
9781590176047
Publisher:
New York Review Books
Publication date:
02/29/2012
Series:
NYRB Classics Series
Sold by:
Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
392
Sales rank:
279,838
File size:
529 KB

Meet the Author

Stefan Zweig (1881–1942), novelist, biographer, poet, and translator, was born in Vienna into a wealthy Austrian Jewish family. During the 1930s, he was one of the best-selling writers in Europe, and was among the most translated German-language writers before the Second World War. With the rise of Nazism, he moved from Salzburg to London (taking British citizenship), to New York, and finally to Brazil, where he committed suicide with his wife. New York Review Books has published Zweig’s novels The Post-Office Girl and Beware of Pity as well as the novella Chess Story.

Joan Acocella is a staff writer for The New Yorker. She is the author of Mark Morris, Creating Hysteria: Women and Multiple Personality Disorder, and Willa Cather and the Politics of Criticism. She also edited the recent, unexpurgated Diary of Vaslav Nijinsky.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Beware of Pity 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
LINDA-LEVEN More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago