Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Lighted squares

Stefan Zweig, Diaries (1931–1940). Trans. from the German by Ediciones 98 (Madrid: Ediciones 98, 2021).

A 1935 visit to New York lets us see Stefan Zweig as a spectator-tourist, visiting Radio City, the Savoy Ballroom, and “a self-service café” — no doubt the Automat. This passage’s description of “a geometric composition of lighted squares” made me think of the miniature cityscape in a 1947 film noir.

Elsewhere the diary entries veer from everyday details — letters, reviews, visits with friends and publishers — to an everpresent dread, as Zweig, the citizen of the world, watches the rise of totalitarianism: “I am sure there’s another coup brewing, and I think it will be successful.”

But I think of what our friend Eva Kor said: “Never give up.”

Related reading
All OCA Zweig posts (Pinboard)

[I’m glad that I got a copy of this book when I did: it has already disappeared from Amazon’s listings. Also available from Ediciones 98, in Spanish: Diarios (1931–1940) and Diarios (1912–1914).]

comments: 2

Chris said...

Zweig seems to be big in Spain for some reason (more so than here, I think?). Editorial Acantillado has dozens of his titles (in Spanish only).

Michael Leddy said...

I know his work is available in many languages, but I didn’t know about these translations. New York Review Books and Pushkin have made much of his work available in English. And there’s the Wes Anderson influence. I really don’t know about relative popularity though. His anti-authoritarian, anti-nationalist outlook and anticipation of a European Union would make him interesting to many European readers today.

I should have mentioned that this book is also available in Spanish. I’ll add it to the post.