Stefan Zweig

About the Author

Stefan Zweig was born in Vienna on 28th November 1881, to a respected, wealthy family who ensured he was given the best education in both academic and cultural terms. Zweig quickly found his way into the intellectual and artistic circles of the Hapsburg capital. He studied philosophy, joined literary groups and then started writing poetry, which was soon published. Financially secure, Zweig went on to travel widely, form important contacts in literature and the arts across Europe and become an extremely prolific writer. He wrote dramas, short stories and novels and made translations of French poetry into German. As well as countless reviews, articles and introductions to books, he also wrote biographies and monographs on writers and historical figures who fascinated him and with whom he often felt a particular kinship. These and a series of arresting and psychologically penetrating novellas and short stories earned him worldwide fame by the thirties. A staunch pacifist, Zweig dreamt of a united Europe where nationalism was eradicated and cultural progress could flourish without borders. The First World War dealt a near fatal blow to this dream, which finally collapsed with the rise of Nazism and the second instalment of world war. Following a police raid on his Salzburg home, Zweig left Austria in 1934 and found sanctuary in England while in Germany his books burned. No longer able to publish in Germany, Zweig was definitively exiled and when war reached England in 1939, the Jewish pacifist writer was deemed an enemy alien due to his native sovereignty. He travelled to the USA and then decided to shelter in Brazil until the war ended. But prone to depression and cut off from his beloved Europe, which appeared to have destroyed itself, and increasingly pessimistic about the future, he committed suicide with his wife Lotte Altmann in their house near Petropolis on 22nd February 1942.


Books by the author