In the 1920s and 1930s, Stefan Zweig was probably the most popular writer in the world. He was extremely prolific and excelled at the novella, many of which served as the basis for films, including Max Ophül’s Letter from an Unknown Woman. His books were published in multiple languages, including English, and he was very famous here in the United States. Strangely his fame in the United States and other places decreased until he was essentially unheard of.
In the past decade or so, Zweig has experienced a quiet resurgence as his books slowly came back into print in English, often with fresh translations. His popularity might have hit a new high here might have hit a new height last year when Wes Anderson said his film The Grand Budapest Hotel was inspired in part by the life and work of Stefan Zweig.
NYRB Classics has published five of his works: Chess Story, Confusion, Journey into the Past, Beware of Pity, and The Post-Office Girl. We’ll be talking about Stefan Zweig and these books in Episode 15 of The Mookse and the Gripes Podcast.
This episode also features a lengthy conversation with George Prochnik, whose biography of Stefan Zweig, The Impossible Exile, was published last year and recently won the National Jewish Book Award for biography.
We don’t quite know what we’re going to do for Episode 16 since we initially were going to cover The Other for Halloween . . . and we missed that. If you have suggestions, we’d love to hear from you, though we promise we have plenty of choices we’re excited about.
We’ll be back soon!
Here are the shownotes:
00:00:00 – 00:16:04 — Introduction and general chatter
00:16:06 – 01:11:36 — Conversation with George Prochnik
01:11:37 – 02:12:10 — Brian and Trevor discuss Zweig