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The Society of the Crossed Keys (B-Format Paperback) Paperback – 19 Feb 2014

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Pushkin Press (19 Feb. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1782271074
  • ISBN-13: 978-1782271079
  • Product Dimensions: 19.9 x 1.8 x 13.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 14,509 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Stefan Zweig (1881-1942) was an Austrian writer who, at the height of his fame in the 1920s and 30s, was one of the most famous authors in the world. Zweig was born into a wealthy Austrian-Jewish family in Vienna, where he attended school and university before continuing his studies on Berlin. A devotee of Hugo von Hoffmanstahl, he had published his first book of poetry by the age of 19. After taking a pacifist stance during the First World War he travelled widely and became an international bestseller with a string of hugely popular novellas including Letter from an Unknown Woman, Amok and Fear. He also developed friendships with great writers, thinkers and artists of the day, including Romain Rolland, Rainer Maria Rilke, Arturo Toscanini and, perhaps most importantly, Sigmund Freud, whose philosophy had a great influence on Zweig's work.

In 1934, with the rise of Nazism, he moved to London. There he began proceedings for the divorce of his first wife Frederika, whom he had left for his secretary Lotte Altmann, a young German-Jewish refugee. In London he also wrote his only novel - his most famous and arguably greatest work, Beware of Pity - before moving to Bath, where, with the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, he and Lotte took British citizenship. With the German occupation of France in 1940, Zweig, a committed pacifist and advocate of European integration, was devastated. "Europe is finished, our world destroyed," he wrote. Zweig and Lotte married and left Europe for New York, before finally settling in Petrópolis, Brazil, where in 1942 the couple were found dead in an apparent double suicide.

Product Description


The World of Yesterday is one of the greatest memoirs of the twentieth century, as perfect in its evocation of the world Zweig loved, as it is in its portrayal of how that world was destroyed. (David Hare)

Beware of Pity is the most exciting book I have ever read...a feverish, fascinating novel (Antony Beevor)

One of the joys of recent years is the translation into English of Stefan Zweig's stories. (Edmund de Waal, author of The Hare with the Amber Eyes)

I defy anyone to read these tasters of Zweig's work without being compelled to read on. Pushkin might as well do their readers all a favour and sell The Society of the Crossed Keys with a complete Zweig back catalogue. (Independent)

About the Author

Stefan Zweig was born in 1881 in Vienna. He studied in Berlin and Vienna and, between the wars was an international bestselling author. With the rise of Nazism, he left Austria, and lived in London, Bath, New York and Brazil, where in 1942 he and his wife were found dead in an apparent double suicide.

Wes Anderson's films include Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic, The Darjeeling Limited, Fantastic Mr Fox, and Moonrise Kingdom. He directed and wrote the screenplay for The Grand Budapest Hotel.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By R. Vowles on 24 Mar. 2014
Format: Paperback
This book has been published to coincide with the release of the Grand Budapest Hotel unlike other film related books this maintains the simple styling of the other Zweig books published by Pushkin Press.
Stefan Zweig was a massive name in literature in the first half of the twentieth century although his fame seems to have missed Britain. He wrote novellas and novels, plays and biographies; and his work was adapted for stage and film both in Europe and in Hollywood. He was a star, but by the start of the 21st century his work was virtually unknown. That is until the wonderful Pushkin Press started republishing his works. Now an extensive collection of his writing is available in English. I first came across Zweig when a copy of Beware of Pity came into the shop, as a massive fan of central European literature and of anything relating to the Hapsburg empire especially I knew that I would enjoy this novel about the concept of honour in the Austrian officer class in the run up to the First World War. I was right, the novel is wonderful I urge anyone who has any interest in the period to read it. Since then I've been able to read a fair few of Zweig's other works, some of his biographies and a few of his novellas, each one has been a perfect self contained piece of writing.
When I heard that there was going to be a new film made to encapsulate the essence of Zweig I got rather excited; even more so when I discovered that it was to be filmed at the incomparable Grandhotel Pupp in the old imperial spa town Karlovy Vary (Carlsbad during the Hapsburg period) and would be starring Ralph Fiennes. It all sounded perfect. So I was very keen to read the accompanying book that was published to go alongside the film.
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Format: Paperback
There’s been a huge amount of buzz about Stefan Zweig since the release of Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, a film greatly influenced by his work. I’m ashamed to say I hadn’t read any of his stuff before seeing the film and this book certainly struck me as a good place to start.

This collection from Pushkin Press features Wes Anderson’s selection of Zweig’s writing and includes an interview with him about the extent of the influence. He took many of the ideas expressed or explored in the film directly from Zweig’s work, with a number of characters in the film modelled on the man himself.

The extract from The World of Yesterday sees him describing being brought up in a time he calls the Golden Age of Security, the years before the First World War. In spite of all that happens after the beginning of the war he holds optimism for upward progression.

He paints Vienna as a wonderfully cosmopolitan place, its people more concerned with cultural matters than other topics. He’s grateful to Vienna for the fact that learnt early to love the idea of community as the highest ideal and is grateful to his father for giving him his sense of inner freedom. His thoughts and memories are magnificently conveyed and I certainly want to read on to spend more time with this great man.

Twenty-Four Hours in the Life of a Woman is published in full and is a total joy to read. It tackles the emotions that can run through a person in a short space of time, the willingness to gamble our lives, money and love. The endless cycle of addiction is here, the expressions of a gambler, the signs of hope and the dreadful loss.

The section from Beware of Pity was all too short.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By gill on 2 Aug. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Got it as a present for a Wes Anderson devotee after seeing the film. She loves it.
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By joan campbell on 11 Jun. 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An interesting book.
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