Friday, September 2, 2016

“Somewhere in the invisible”

Stefan Zweig, The World of Yesterday . 1943. Trans. Benjamin W. Huebsch and Helmut Ripperger (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1964).

This passage strikes me as perhaps the saddest in The World of Yesterday : a picture of an intellectual worker, one for whom individual freedom and European unity were the highest values, powerless as he watches the world fall apart once again.

This passage reminds me of an observation from the writer Romain Rolland, as quoted by Zweig: “Art can bring us consolation as individuals, but it is powerless against reality.” That sentence struck both Elaine and me; she wrote about it in this post.


3:57 p.m.: A comment from a reader makes me want to add: If this passage makes you think about the upcoming U.S. presidential election, well, me too. As does what Zweig says elsewhere about a desire for “order.”

Other Zweig posts
Happy people, poor psychologists : Little world : School v. city : “A tremendous desire for order” : Urban pastoral, with stationery : Zweig’s last address book

comments: 6

Fresca said...

Just to say I'm liking your Stefan Zweig posts--I'd never heard of him. Thanks.

Michael Leddy said...

You’re welcome. Before May, I knew his name in the only vaguest way. We saw some of his fiction in a bookstore (reissued by New York Review Books, which to me is a good sign) and decided to try it. Interest in his work has been growing for a few years, so we are behind the Zeitgeist.

Fresca said...

The Zeitgeist has definitely left me in the dust.

Oh, and there's a new film? Have you seen? (sorry, maybe you mentioned this and I miswed it?)
Stefan Zweig, Adieu l'Europe

Fresca said...

P.S. Heh, Stefan Zweig even has a tumblr:

Michael Leddy said...

No, I had no idea that there’s a movie coming. I’d better set up a Google Alert. Stat!

Fresca said...

Hurry! You're late! :)