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Twilight and Moonbeam Alley (Pushkin Collection) Paperback – 27 Feb 2006

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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.

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"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." "-- "Paul Bailey, """""""""Times Literary Supplement"""""""""

About the Author

Stefan Zweig (1881-1942) was born in Vienna, into a wealthy Austrian-Jewish family. He studied in Berlin and Vienna and was first known as a poet and translator, then as a biographer. Zweig travelled widely, living in Salzburg between the wars, and was an international bestseller with a string of hugely popular novellas including Letter from an Unknown Woman, Amok and Fear.

In 1934, with the rise of Nazism, he moved to London, where he wrote his only novel Beware of Pity. He later moved on to Bath, taking British citizenship after the outbreak of the Second World War. With the fall of France in 1940 Zweig left Britain for New York, before settling in Brazil, where in 1942 he and his wife were found dead in an apparent double suicide.

Much of his work is available from Pushkin Press.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
More Unforgettable Storytelling! 20 Jun. 2008
By Jeff Abell - Published on
Format: Paperback
Pushkin Press is to be thanked for bringing the work of Stefan Zweig back into circulation in English. In a series of wonderful little books, they've restored Zweig's expert storytelling to those of us unable (or unwilling) to read him in the original German. The two included here indicate Zweig's grasp of history as well as his psychological insights into human character. "Twilight" explores the gradual mental and emotional collapse of a French aristocrat exiled from court to the countryside of Normandy. When she realizes that she has been forgotten by her friends at court, she conceives a plan to stage a spectacular suicide. (As someone who wrote a famed biography of Marie Antoinette, Zweig understood the French courts well.) The lesser "Moonbeam Alley" is the first-person narrative of a German man drawn into a sleazy little nightclub in a French port, where his life becomes tangled with the lives of the locals. I anxiously await the next installment of Pushkin's Zweig series!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Twilight & Moonbeam Alley by Stefan Zweig 5 Mar. 2010
By rainpebble - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Twilight" by Stefan Zweig

My thoughts and comments:

"Twilight" by Stefan Zweig is a wonderful short story about a woman who has for all practical intents and purposes ran the court of the King of France. It is based on the true life of Madame de Prie. It is not a pretty story but I am finding that Zweig writes nothing but great stories.
Madame de Prie is asked by the King to leave court and expels her to her country estate. I don't believe we ever truly find out the reason she falls out of favor unless it has to do with one of her lovers at court, the Duke of Bourbon, who is likewise dismissed from his duties as prime minister in charge the affairs of state.
At any rate, Madame de Prie finds living in the country and away from court to be unbearable and this is the story of her state of mind throughout her exile to her death.
It is not a pretty story, but it is a wonderfully written one and one I highly recommend.
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