Fantastic Night is the story of one transforming evening in the life of a rich and bored young man. He spends a day at the races and an evening in the seedy but thrilling company of the dregs of society. His experiences jolt him out of his languor and give him a newfound relish for life, which is then cut short by the Great War. The Invisible Collection and Buchmendel, two of Zweig's most powerful works, explore lives led in the single minded pursuit of art and literature against a backdrop of poverty and corruption. Letter from an Unknown Woman is a poignant and heartbreaking tale of the strength and madness of unrequited love. This story was made into a film by Max Ophuls starring Joan Fontaine (1948). In The Fowler Snared, it is the man whose passion remains unrequited. Twenty-Four Hours in the Life of a Woman is the story of a middle-aged English widow who travels to escape loneliness and boredom. One evening while enjoying the elegant atmosphere of the Monte Carlo Casino, she becomes mesmerised by the obsessive gambling of a young Polish aristocrat. This fateful encounter leads to passion, despair and death, changing their lives forever.
Translated from the German by Eden and Cedar Paul, Stefan Zweig's Selected Stories is published by Pushkin Press.
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Stefan Zweig was born in 1881 in Vienna, a member of a wealthy Austrian-Jewish family. He studied in Berlin and Vienna and was first known as a translator and later as a biographer. Zweig travelled widely, living in Salzburg between the wars, and enjoying literary fame. His stories and novellas were collected in 1934. In the same year, with the rise of Nazism, he briefly moved to London, taking British citizenship. After a short period in New York, he settled in Brazil where in 1942 he and his wife were found dead in bed in an apparent double suicide.Review:
“What did Zweig have that brought him the fanatical devotion of millions of readers, the admiration of Herman Hesse, the invitation to give the eulogy at the funeral of Sigmund Freud? To learn that, we would have to have a biography that illuminated all aspects of his work, that read all of his books, and that challenged, rather than accepted, the apparent modesty of his statements about his life and work.” – Benjamin Moser, Bookforum
"Zweig’s readability made him one of the most popular writers of the early twentieth century all over the world, with translations into thirty languages. His lives of Mary Stuart and Marie Antoinette were international bestsellers." — Julie Kavanagh, The Economist Intelligent Life
"Zweig’s accumulated historical and cultural studies, whether in essay or monograph form, remain a body of achievement almost too impressive to take in... Full-sized books on Marie-Antoinette, Mary Stuart, and Magellan were international best sellers." — Clive James, Cultural Amnesia
"Touching and delightful. Those adjectives are not meant as faint praise. Zweig may be especially appealing now because rather than being a progenitor of big ideas, he was a serious entertainer, and an ardent and careful observer of habits, foibles, passions and mistakes." — A.O. Scott, The New York Times
'Stefan Zweig cherished the everyday imperfections and frustrated aspirations of the men and women he analysed with such affection and understanding','Zweig belongs with those masters of the novella - Maupassant, Turgenev, Chekhov - of whom he was in awe. He was formidably well read, but in his fiction he is as much at ease with the unlettered as the learned... Stefan Zweig cherished the everyday imperfections and frustrated aspirations of the men and women he analysed with such affection and understanding." — Paul Bailey, Times Literary Supplement
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