HomeGroupsTalkMoreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

The World of Yesterday

by Stefan Zweig

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,537755,747 (4.32)84
By the author who inspired Wes Anderson's film, The Grand Budapest Hotel Written as both a recollection of the past and a warning for future generations, The World of Yesterday recalls the golden age of literary Vienna--its seeming permanence, its promise, and its devastating fall. Surrounded by the leading literary lights of the epoch, Stefan Zweig draws a vivid and intimate account of his life and travels through Vienna, Paris, Berlin, and London, touching on the very heart of European culture. His passionate, evocative prose paints a stunning portrait of an era that danced brilliantly on the edge of extinction. This new translation by award-winning Anthea Bell captures the spirit of Zweig's writing in arguably his most revealing work.… (more)
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 84 mentions

English (32)  Spanish (10)  Dutch (6)  Catalan (6)  French (5)  German (4)  Italian (4)  Danish (2)  Swedish (2)  Norwegian (Bokmål) (1)  Norwegian (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (74)
Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
Outstanding and so beautiful to read! How could I ever have missed on Stefan Zweig before. Also valuable history lesson! Recommended in any way! ( )
  iffland | Mar 19, 2022 |
Stefan Zweig's autobiography is really the biography of a lost era - the years leading up to WW I until WW II. He mourns for the world that was lost to war and to fascism. The writing style of the book is amazing.

Zweig had become famous for his writing and seemed to have met with all of the leading cultural figures of his age. For example, he takes Salvador Dali to see his friend Sigmund Freud while Freud was dying in London. He also bumps into people like James Joyce. ( )
  M_Clark | Feb 25, 2022 |
During his productive years in the decades before and after WWI, the Austrian-Jewish writer Stefan Zweig enjoyed wide readership in Europe outside Britain. Not that his work was necessarily consecrated by critical acclaim; in fact he praised many writers who regarded him as a second-rate talent. Yet he wrote in a clear and lucid style, expressing himself easily. He was perhaps most appreciated for numerous novellas and his short biographies of distinguished people such as Mary, Queen of Scots, Magellan, and Erasmus. His work has seen something of a revival in recent years, at least partly due to the publication of a new translation of The World of Yesterday and to the success of the Wes Anderson film The Grand Budapest Hotel. Anderson cites the book as an inspiration for the film.

This is Zweig’s only memoir, and as the title conveys, its subject is the loss of the Europe and in particular the Austria of his youth. He wrote most of it a few steps from my door, a refugee from Hitler in Ossining, NY. Zweig paints an expansive portrait (one that some later termed “The Habsburg Myth”) of life in pre-war Austria. The first chapter “The World of Security” summarizes what had been lost: durability, continuity, safety, prosperity, a place for the flourishing of the arts. He details the educational process and sexual ethos of pre-War Austria. Zweig had been a fully engaged member of Viennese cafe culture of the early part of the century. It is hard not to sense a nostalgic romanticism in Zweig’s account, and yet I think he gets a pass for sentimentality having lived through the monstrosity of WWI, Fascist Europe, and for writing while contemporaneously fleeing the Third Reich.

This reflection is fascinating on several levels. First, Zweig had personal friendships with many of the great artists and thinkers of his day. We hear his deep interchanges with Rilke, Rodin, Freud, James Joyce, Maxim Gorky, Richard Strauss, Toscanini, H. G. Wells, George Bernard Shaw, Theodore Herzl, and Romain Rolland. If you saw the recent Beatles Get Backdocumentary, these conversations read like delicious eavesdropping, akin to listening to Paul and John at lunch, privately talking with a microphone secretly placed in the flowerpot between them.

Second, while we are familiar with the facts of the European catastrophe from 1914 through the late 1940s, personal accounts enrich one’s understanding of the events and their effect on individuals. In Zweig’s case, we hear the observations of an astute observer, a man who regarded himself as a citizen of the world, if Austrian in particular. He recounts his reaction as he heard about the German mobilization in 1914 while on a beach in Belgium; his despair at the restrictions in communicating with friends and fellow writers living outside the Central Powers even by letter; the proverbial wheelbarrows of cash to buy a loaf of bread after the war; the first time he heard the name Hitler; his sense of the increasing presence of menacing Brownshirts in Austria; his near relief to hear of the death of “my old mother” in 1938 Vienna, knowing she was now safe from further suffering. He had felt distraught after Nazi rules prevented Jews from sitting on public benches, depriving his weakened mother of her daily walk that required periodic rests.

Finally, there is the question of his suicide. Zweig mailed the manuscript to his publisher the day before his suicide in February 1942. He was not in hiding, like some who fled the Nazis. He was living north of Rio de Janeiro, in safety, facing East as he contemplated Europe. He was found dead with his wife, double suicides, of a barbiturate overdose. A final testament read “I think it better to conclude in good time and in erect bearing a life in which intellectual labour meant the purest joy and personal freedom the highest good on Earth.” And yet one need only read The World of Yesterday to appreciate - though perhaps not anticipate - this sentiment and its implications. It permeates the book. His beloved Europe irretrievably broken. His sense of beggardom as a man without a country. The enormity of the losses. He conveys a conversation with Gorky, who asserted that no one in exile had yet produced worthy art. And yet, it is only fair to wonder why Zweig was unprepared to look to the future. To continue his work, as so many other artists and thinkers did. To mention only a few: Einstein, Chagall, Mondrian, Schönberg, Hannah Arendt, Levi-Strauss, Thomas Mann. And the hordes who started life again after surviving the concentration camps. While it permeates the book, it’s also in the title. The World of Yesterday. By 1942, and probably long before, Zweig was a man of the past. His love, his passion, his sense of belonging, his core identity were in the Europe destroyed. He saw no more for himself but to bear the unbearable weight of what was irretrievably gone. He saw no future. But he left a remarkable memoir, a testament to what he loved and lost. ( )
  stellarexplorer | Dec 27, 2021 |
Eyewitness To A Cultural Death

Stefan Zweig was one of the most acclaimed European public intellectuals at the dawn of the Twentieth Century. By 1940, his books had been burned in his native Austria, he had fled that country for his own safety, and the culture he had loved had been wiped away by the onslaught of totalitarianism. What happened?

Most readers will know that World War I depleted the European powers of resources. That the settlement of that conflict subjected Germany to financial requirements that drove it to hyperinflation and social distress. That fascism arose in the ensuing climate. Zweig, however, phrases these events in vivid particulars: he recounts how his own property was confiscated; he describes the feeling in the public marketplace when key events unfolded; he tells of his discussions with Sigmund Freud once Freud too had departed Austria for safety abroad. In the course of it all, the reader is introduced to many prominent European (and a few American) authors, musicians and artists of the time, because Zweig appears to have known them all well.

The brief book is not, however, an autobiography. Zweig's two marriages are hardly discussed, for example. The story, rather, is the collapse of European high culture in the face of unavoidable economic and political forces. And what it feels like to live through such a cultural revolution.

Zweig's perspective is, in a sense, old-fashioned, as he mourns the passing of the Golden Age and looks rather contemptuously at the the forces of modernism rushing in to supplant the old masters. Whether you agree with his value judgments, however, his narrative is one of the best ways I've found to understand the causes and effects of the period of the World Wars in Europe.

Immediately upon mailing the completed manuscript of the book to his publisher, Zweig and his wife committed suicide. The world he had loved and in which he had labored to become a leading participant was gone; he apparently felt he could not continue. It is unfortunate that he did not live on to see the end of the war, and to give us all more insight into the changes that the war brought. ( )
1 vote TH_Shunk | Jul 6, 2021 |
zweig recounts his life before, between, and during world wars -- crisply written.

before WWI: viennese coffee houses, hating school, loving poetry, the absurd gowns worn by women, uptight attitudes toward sex, widespread prostitution, embarrassed at feelings inspired by moment of wwi beginning.

between wars: french justice permits zweig to drop charges against suitcase thief who then offers to carry it for him, embarrassment of soldiers unsure whether to salute fleeing emperor, austrian inflation insanity, export controls cannot stop people from crossing border to get drunk if cheap beer, the great satisfaction of leaving things out of writing to improve pace, rebellion in taste after first war, visiting soviet union.

beginning of WWII: elite underestimated hitler precisely because he was so stupid, zweig (jewish) writing lyrics of opera for strauss under nazis, nurse leaving his dying mother because cannot stay the night under same roof as jewish man, loss of austrian passport and becoming stateless, the loss of self with loss of citizenship, all fo the stupid paperwork subjected to, obtaining license for his second marriage interrupted by war. ( )
  leeinaustin | May 17, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
Det är en kulturgärning av ansenligt format, att den här boken åter gjorts tillgänglig.

 

» Add other authors (25 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Zweig, Stefanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bell, AntheaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gleichmann, GabiAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hagerup, AndersTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hagerup, IngerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heerikhuizen, F.W. vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Paladino, LorenaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Toorn, Willem vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Toorn, Willem vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zohn, HarryIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Related movies
Epigraph
"Let's withdraw
And meet the time as it seeks us."
Shakespeare: Cymbeline

Dedication
First words
When I attempt to find a simple formula for the period in which I grew up, prior to the First World War, I hope that I convey its fullness by calling it the Golden Age of Security.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

By the author who inspired Wes Anderson's film, The Grand Budapest Hotel Written as both a recollection of the past and a warning for future generations, The World of Yesterday recalls the golden age of literary Vienna--its seeming permanence, its promise, and its devastating fall. Surrounded by the leading literary lights of the epoch, Stefan Zweig draws a vivid and intimate account of his life and travels through Vienna, Paris, Berlin, and London, touching on the very heart of European culture. His passionate, evocative prose paints a stunning portrait of an era that danced brilliantly on the edge of extinction. This new translation by award-winning Anthea Bell captures the spirit of Zweig's writing in arguably his most revealing work.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Current Discussions

None

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (4.32)
0.5 3
1 2
1.5
2 8
2.5 2
3 37
3.5 20
4 129
4.5 41
5 204

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 201,943,499 books! | Top bar: Always visible