James's Reviews > The World of Yesterday

The World of Yesterday by Stefan Zweig
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Mar 09, 09

bookshelves: history, study-group, u-of-chicago, autobiography, mitteleuropa
Read in September, 2005 — I own a copy, read count: 2

A poet, novelist, dramatist and biographer, Stephan Zweig (1881-1942) was a brilliant writer, documenting both historical lives and his own. His non-fiction includes literary biographies that are seldom read today, but The World of Yesterday remains in print and is his personal memoir of growing up in fin de siecle Austria and the early years of the twentieth century. Written the year before he died, the book is a testament to his life - one that was formed in a world before the devastation of the twentieth century with its wars and other cultural shocks (on that topic see Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age by Modris Eksteins). Zweig lived a life of the mind and a life of letters - one that was at odds with the new world. Unfortunately, the last years of his life were spent as an exile from his homeland and in the year after finishing this memoir he and his wife committed suicide together.
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