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In memoriam Izabela Kestler

The German tour of Stefan Zweig in the Land of the Future

Stefan Zweig State School

15 Decisive Months


Review: Serpa Pinto, the Ship of Destiny

Zweig-Segall Correspondence

A vast oeuvre, a dog called Kaspar and suicide at the age of 60

Stefan Zweig, bridge for a life

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caixa postal 50060
Rio de Janeiro/RJ - Brasil



A vast oeuvre, a dog called Kaspar and suicide at the age of 60

I’m writing this e-mail with all my love and admiration for and interest in Zweig, the man and his works.
When I read one of his novellas for the first time (Vierundzwanzig Stunden aus dem Leben einer Frau – Twenty-Four Hours in the Life of a Woman), which I later found out was his first novella published in Brazil, I didn’t like it. I confess that just like Zweig’s distorted vision of Brazil in 1936, when on the way to Buenos Aires he first got to know the land of his future, my essay about the author’s work as also mistaken – I had never heard of Stefan Zweig. After penetrating the skin of his work a little I began to see how extensive the worlds which Zweig’s thoughts inhabited were.
I’m no expert on Stefan Zweig, just an aficionado with a deep interest in acquiring more knowledge. I’m 25 years old, a graduate of the German Language and Literature course at Santa Catarina State Federal University (UFSC) and am interested in writing my final thesis about Zweig. I met him reading Twenty-Four Hours in the Life of a Woman, during the German course and, as mentioned, I didn’t like it. Some months later I read the novella Amok and The Royal Game. With these two texts I began to view Zweig afresh, since I began to see similarities to things which happened and were going on in my own family. These adaptations we make in our own lives when we’re reading something interesting. It was this which, to begin with, awoke my great interest in Stefan Zweig.
When, some time later, the moment came to choose a graduation subject, I opted for literature. All this was of course inspired by the wish to penetrate Stefan Zweig’s work. Later, the work itself became obsolete and I put it aside, but my reading became more and more interesting. Zweig captivated me, he is an Author with a capital “A” who speaks “volumes”. A vast oeuvre, a dog called Kaspar and suicide at 60 years of age. An intriguing and fascinating figure.
The little I know about Zweig comes from the readings of some of his works, Dines’s biography, Zweig’s personal memoirs (The World of Yesterday), a few sites, some quotes, the odd conversation with professors at the course, the wonderful film by director Sylvio Back (Lost Zweig), which is also based on Dines’s book, a book I found through the archives at the National Library; that is all I recall at the moment, but there can’t be much else.
A year ago I set the graduation work aside, but I’m interested in taking it up again, and regardless of that, Zweig is always interesting. I haven’t yet been able to see the archives at the National Library. I hope to do so soon, and also visit Casa Stefan Zweig in Petrópolis. I’ve also heard about the school in São Paulo, (I don’t now recall whether state or municipal) which carries the name Stefan Zweig.
I’d be interested in exchanging and/or receiving information about Zweig, since here I cannot find people to talk about him to, or even who know of his existence. My personal archives about Stefan Zweig are tiny, I didn’t buy his complete works, stupidly so, since I did find them last year in a secondhand bookshop in Porto Alegre; the price was a good one, but I was only passing through and didn’t want the extra weight, and didn’t even think of having them sent or even sending them myself by mail. Since we have the complete works at the library at UFSC I’ve been able to take them out. Also while I was in Porto Alegre I found the first Brazilian edition of Fouché. In Curitiba, I found the first Brazilian edition of the book Begegnungen mit Menschen, Büchern, Stadten. And here in Florianópolis I found the first edition of The Chains. All in good condition. I also managed to find a hardcover edition (black cover) of Zweig’s only novel, Beware of Pity, which has no date inside, but was probably before 1960, because I have an edition which looks much newer/more recent.
So there we are, I do apologize for such a long e-mail from a stranger. I’d be so pleased if you would reply.
Yours faithfully,
Bruno Felipe Rothbarth Decker