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Die Welt von Gestern: Erinnerungen eines…
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Die Welt von Gestern: Erinnerungen eines Europäers (edition 2013)

by Stefan Zweig (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,971676,264 (4.35)76
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)
Member:Leandra53
Title:Die Welt von Gestern: Erinnerungen eines Europäers
Authors:Stefan Zweig (Author)
Info:Anaconda Verlag (2013)
Collections:Biografien, Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:Österreichische Literatur, Literatur des 20. Jahrhunderts, Österreich, 19. Jahrhundert, Jahrhundertwende 19./20. Jahrhundert, 20. Jahrhundert, Amerika, 1. Weltkrieg, Nachkriegszeit. 1. Weltkrieg, Nationalsozialismus, Flucht, Exil, 2. Weltkrieg, Stefan Zweig, Autobiografie, EJ 1942

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The World of Yesterday by Stefan Zweig

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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 |
I will keep this very short. I found Zweig's writing style mesmerizing; it is fluent, clear, simple and at the same time elegant. This book was a real treat! ( )
  Javi_er | May 28, 2020 |
Audio. Short version. Guter Einblick in die Geschichte. ( )
  kakadoo202 | Mar 7, 2019 |
(Original Review from the German and English editions, 2002-06-05)

"The World of Yesterday" has its flaws - some of the scenes that Zweig claims to have witnessed, particularly around the outbreak and conclusion of the Great War seem such extraordinary coincidences as to be barely credible. And on the subject of style, it's hard for a non-native German speaker to judge, so the opinion of Michael Hofmann - who's such a magnificent and sympathetic translator of Zweig's far greater contemporary Joseph Roth - has to carry some weight.

But I can't help suspecting that Zweig's paying the price for his popularity here: the fact that his novellas were made into "women's pictures", that he was so fascinated with the past, and with the nuances of social hierarchy; that he dared suggest that the pre-1918 European order might, on reflection, have been a rather better world than what succeeded it. (It's not just Zweig; Roth's modern champions, including Hofmann, invariably play down, or appear properly embarrassed by his passionate late-flowering monarchism). Absolute anathema to "progressive" intellectuals then and now (though you can see why an Austrian Jew might have preferred the world of 1913 to that of 1938. And why an eloquent, readable advocate of those values could have had a massive inter-war following).

Which is not to deny a certain "pulp" quality in some of his writing. But still, while he may not have been a great stylist, he does have an ear for the telling phrase, and - in "Beware of Pity", for example - he evokes the values, social structures, tastes and feelings of an entire vanished civilisation to wonderfully vivid effect. In my view, it's second only to "The Radetzky March" as an evocation of the moment of the Austro-Hungarian apocalypse; and as a history teacher, I recommended it to students for evoking a "feel" of the period in a way that I simply couldn't with the less readable, but more intellectually respectable, Broch or Musil.

And let's face it, Zweig is hardly outselling Dan Brown in the English-speaking world. Better, surely, that he's read than not - and it'd be a shame if this academic spat deterred a single genuinely curious reader. ( )
  antao | Nov 20, 2018 |
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Det är en kulturgärning av ansenligt format, att den här boken åter gjorts tillgänglig.

 

» Add other authors (25 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stefan Zweigprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bell, AntheaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gleichmann, GabiAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hagerup, AndersTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hagerup, IngerTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heerikhuizen, F.W. vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Toorn, Willem vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Toorn, Willem vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zohn, HarryIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
"Let's withdraw
And meet the time as it seeks us."
Shakespeare: Cymbeline

Dedication
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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.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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.

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