Stefan Zweig, Dr. Phil.

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Stefan Zweig, Dr. Phil.

Birthdate: (60)
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Death: February 23, 1942 (60)
Petropolis, Rio de Janiero, Brazil (Suicide)
Place of Burial: Petrópolis, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Immediate Family:

Son of Moritz Zweig and Ida Zweig
Husband of Charlotte (Lotte) Elizabeth Zweig
Ex-husband of Fridericke Maria [Fritzi] Von Winternitz, Zweig
Brother of Alfred Zweig

Occupation: Writer, Playwright
Managed by: Randy Schoenberg
Last Updated:

About Stefan Zweig, Dr. Phil.

Stefan Zweig (November 28, 1881, Schottenring 14, Innerestadt, Vienna, Austria – February 22, 1942, Petrópolis, Brazil) was an Austrian novelist, playwright, journalist and biographer.


Zweig was the son of Moritz Zweig, a wealthy Jewish textile manufacturer, and Ida (Brettauer) Zweig, from an Italian banking family. He studied philosophy and the history of literature, and in Vienna he was associated with the avant garde Young Vienna movement. Religion did not play a central role in his education. "My mother and father were Jewish only through accident of birth," Zweig said later in an interview. Yet he did not renounce his Jewish faith and wrote repeatedly on Jewish themes. Although his essays were published in the Neue Freie Presse, whose literary editor was the Zionist leader Theodor Herzl, Zweig was not attracted to Herzl's Jewish nationalism.

During the First World War he took a pacifist stand together with French writer Romain Rolland, summoning intellectuals from all over the world to join them in active pacifism, which led to Romain Rolland being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Zweig remained pacifist all his life - but also advocated the unification of Europe before the Nazis came, which has had some influence in the making of the European Union. Like Rolland, he wrote many biographies. He described his Erasmus of Rotterdam as a concealed autobiography.

Zweig fled Austria in 1934, following Hitler's rise to power in Germany. He then lived in England (in Bath and London) before moving to the United States. In 1941 he went to Brazil, where in 1942 he and his second wife Lotte (née Charlotte Elisabeth Altmann) committed suicide together in Petrópolis, despairing at the future of Europe and its culture. "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," he wrote. His autobiography The World of Yesterday is a paean to the European culture he considered lost.


Stefan Zweig was a prominent writer in the 1920s and 1930s. Though he is still well-known in many European countries, his work has become less familiar in the anglophone world. Since the 1990s there has been an effort on the part of several publishers (notably Pushkin Press and New York Review of Books) to get Zweig back into print in English.

Zweig is best known for his novels (notably The Royal Game, Amok, Beware of Pity, Confusion of Feelings, and the posthumously published The Post Office Girl) and biographies (notably Erasmus of Rotterdam, Conqueror of the Seas: The Story of Magellan, and Mary, Queen of Scotland and the Isles). At one time his works were published in English under the pseudonym 'Stephen Branch' (a translation of his real name) when anti-German sentiment was running high. His biography of Queen Marie-Antoinette was later adapted for a Hollywood movie, starring the actress Norma Shearer in the title role.

Zweig also provided the libretto for the 1934 opera Die schweigsame Frau (The Silent Woman) by his friend Richard Strauss. Strauss famously defended him from the Nazi regime, by refusing to remove Zweig's name from the posters for the work's première in Dresden. As a result, Hitler refused to attend as planned, and the opera was banned after three performances. Zweig later would collaborate with Joseph Gregor, to provide Strauss with the libretto for one other opera, Daphne, in 1937. At least one other work by Zweig received a musical setting: the pianist and composer Henry Jolles, who like Zweig had fled to Brazil to escape the Nazis, composed a song, "Último poema de Stefan Zweig", based on "Letztes Gedicht", which Zweig wrote on the occasion of his 60th birthday in November 1941.

There are important Zweig collections at the British Library and at the State University of New York at Fredonia. The British Library's Zweig Music Collection was donated to the library by his heirs in May 1986. It specialises in autograph music manuscripts, including works by Bach, Haydn, Wagner, and Mahler. It has been described as "one of the world's greatest collections of autograph manuscripts". One particularly precious item is Mozart's "Verzeichnüß aller meiner Werke" - that is, the composer's own handwritten thematic catalogue of his works.


The dates mentioned below are the dates of first publication in German.


The Love of Erika Ewald, 1904 (Original title: Die Liebe der Erika Ewald)

Burning Secret, 1913 (Original title: Brennendes Geheimnis)

Letter from an Unknown Woman, 1922 (Original title: Brief einer Unbekannten) - novel

Amok, 1922 (Original title: Amok) - novel, initially published with several others in Amok. Novellen einer Leidenschaft

Fear, 1925 (Original title: Angst. Novelle)

The Eyes of My Brother, Forever, 1925 (Original title: Die Augen des ewigen Bruders)

The Invisible Collection, 1926 (Original title: Die Unsichtbare Sammlung) - THIS REFERENCE IS UNCERTAIN

The Refugee, 1927 (Original title: Der Flüchtling. Episode vom Genfer See).

Confusion of Feelings or Confusion: The Private Papers of Privy Councillor R. Von D, 1927 (Original title: Verwirrung der Gefühle) - novel initially published in the volume Verwirrung der Gefühle: Drei Novellen

Twenty-Four Hours in the Life of a Woman, 1927 (Original title: Vierundzwanzig Stunden aus dem Leben einer Frau) - novel initially published in the volume Verwirrung der Gefühle: Drei Novellen

Short stories, 1930 (Original title: Kleine Chronik. Vier Erzählungen) - includes Buchmendel

Collected Stories, 1936 (Original title: Gesammelte Erzählungen) - two volumes of short stories:

1. The Chains (Original title: Die Kette)

2. Kaleidoscope (Original title: Kaleidoskop). Includes: Casual Knowledge of a Craft, Leporella, Fear, Burning Secret, Summer Novella, The Governess, Buchmendel, The Refugee, The Invisible Collection, Fantastic Night and Moonbeam Alley

Beware of Pity, 1939 (Original title: Ungeduld des Herzens)

The Royal Game or Chess Story (Original title: Schachnovelle; Buenos Aires, 1942) - novella written in 1938-41, published posthumously

Clarissa, 1981 unfinished novel, published posthumously

The Post Office Girl, 1982 (Original title: Rausch der Verwandlung. Roman aus dem Nachlaß; The Intoxication of Metamorphosis) - unfinished novel, published posthumously, and in 2008 for the first time in English.

Biographies and Historical Texts

Béatrice Gonzalés-Vangell, Kaddish et Renaissance, La Shoah dans les romans viennois de Schindel, Menasse et Rabinovici, Septentrion, Valenciennes, 2005, 348 pages.

Emile Verhaeren, 1910

Three Masters: Balzac, Dickens, Dostoeffsky, 1920 (Original title: Drei Meister. Balzac – Dickens – Dostojewski)

Romain Rolland. The Man and His Works, 1921 (Original title: Romain Rolland. Der Mann und das Werk)

Nietzsche, 1925 (Originally published in the volume titled: Der Kampf mit dem Dämon. Hölderlin – Kleist – Nietzsche)

Decisive Moments in History, 1927 (Original title: Sternstunden der Menschheit)

Adepts in Self-Portraiture: Casanova, Stendhal, Tolstoy, 1928 (Original title: Drei Dichter ihres Lebens. Casanova – Stendhal – Tolstoi)

Joseph Fouché, 1929 (Original title: Joseph Fouché. Bildnis eines politischen Menschen)

Mental Healers: Franz Mesmer, Mary Baker Eddy, Sigmund Freud, 1932 (Original title: Die Heilung durch den Geist. Mesmer, Mary Baker-Eddy, Freud)

Marie Antoinette: The Portrait of an Average Woman, 1932 (Original title: Marie Antoinette. Bildnis eines mittleren Charakters)

Erasmus of Rotterdam, 1934 (Original title: Triumph und Tragik des Erasmus von Rotterdam)

Mary, Queen of Scotland and the Isles or The Queen of Scots, 1935 (Original title: Maria Stuart)

The Right to Heresy: Castellio against Calvin, 1936 (Original title: Castellio gegen Calvin oder Ein Gewissen gegen die Gewalt)

Conqueror of the Seas: The Story of Magellan, 1938 (Original title: Magellan. Der Mann und seine Tat)

Amerigo, 1944 (Original title: Amerigo. Geschichte eines historischen Irrtums) - written in 1942, published posthumously

Balzac, 1946 - written, as Richard Friedenthal describes in a postscript, by Zweig in the Brazilian summer capital of Petrópolis, without access to the files, notebooks, lists, tables, editions and monographs that Zweig accumulated for many years and that he took with him to Bath, but that he left behind when he went to America. Friedenthal wrote that Balzac "was to be his magnum opus, and he had been working at it for ten years. It was to be a summing up of his own experience as an author and of what life had taught him." Friedenthal claimed that "The book had been finished," though not every chapter was complete; he used a working copy of the manuscript Zweig left behind him to apply "the finishing touches," and Friedenthal rewrote the final chapters (Balzac, translated by William and Dorothy Rose [New York: Viking, 1946], pp. 399, 402).


Tersites, 1907 (Original title: Tersites)

Das Haus am Meer, 1912

Jeremiah, 1917 (Original title: Jeremies)


The World of Yesterday (Original title: Die Welt von gestern; Stockholm, 1942) - autobiography

Brazil, Land of the Future (Original title: Brasilien. Ein Land der Zukunft; Bermann-Fischer, Stockholm 1941)

Books on Stefan Zweig

Elizabeth Allday, Stefan Zweig: A Critical Biography, J. Philip O'Hara, Inc., Chicago, 1972

Alberto Dines, Morte no Paraíso, a Tragédia de Stefan Zweig, Editora Nova Fronteira 1981, (rev. ed.) Editora Rocco 2004

Alberto Dines, Tod im Paradies. Die Tragödie des Stefan Zweig, Edition Büchergilde, 2006

Randolph J. Klawiter, Stefan Zweig. An International Bibliography, Ariadne Press, Riverside, 1991

Donald A. Prater, European of Yesterday: A Biography of Stefan Zweig, Holes and Meier Publ., (rev. ed.) 2003

Marion Sonnenfeld (editor), The World of Yesterday's Humanist Today. Proceedings of the Stafan Zweig Symposium, texts by Alberto Dines, Randolph J. Klawiter, Leo Spitzer and Harry Zohn, State University of New York Press, 1983

Friderike Zweig, Stefan Zweig, Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1946 (An account of his life by his first wife)

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Stefan Zweig, Dr. Phil.'s Timeline

November 28, 1881
Vienna, Austria
February 23, 1942
Age 60
Petropolis, Rio de Janiero, Brazil
Petrópolis, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil