- Paperback: 480 pages
- Publisher: Pushkin Press; New edition (1 Jan. 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1906548676
- ISBN-13: 978-1906548674
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.7 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 29,073 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The World of Yesterday: Memoirs of a European (B-Format Paperback) Paperback – 1 Jan 2011
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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)
This absolutely extraordinary book is more than just an autobiography. (...) This is a book that should be read by anyone who is even slightly interested in the creative imagination and the intellectual life, the brute force of history upon individual lives, the possibility of culture and, quite simply, what it meant to be alive between 1881 and 1942. That should cover a fair number of you (Nicholas Lezard)
His memoir, The World of Yesterday, is one of his best works, a marvellous recapturing of a Europe that Hitler and his thugs destroyed. Zweig seems to have known everyone, and writes about the great figures of his day with insight, sympathy and, most unusually for a writer, modesty (John Banville)
About the Author
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.
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Top Customer Reviews
He was born, a Jew, in 1881 into a cosmopolitan and tolerant Vienna and into a world of utter political and economic security, confident in steady progress in society and in science. It knew the douceur de vivre (except that unmarried young men and especially young women led a sexual life which could find an outlet only in prostitution), and where culture - no longer under the patronage of the Court, but under that of the Jewish bourgeoisie - was more honoured throughout society than was wealth. The culture of the older generation was challenged by the avant-garde, with which Zweig and his fellow-students, even while still schoolboys in a stultifying educational system, were knowledgeably, passionately and actively engaged. Hugo von Hoffmansthal and Rilke were their lodestars. The universities were little better: Zweig was only a nominal student at the universities of Vienna and Berlin: his real intellectual life lay elsewhere. Already at the age of 19 he had the first of several articles accepted for the feuilleton section of the prestigious Neue Freie Presse in Vienna (of whose editor, Theodore Herzl, he gives a wonderful account). In Berlin he was looking for (and found) a wider circle - socially and intellectually - than in the somewhat inbred bourgeois and mainly Jewish milieu in which he had moved in Vienna.Read more ›
It is a shocking report about what he calls the 'Apocalypse': terror, war, revolutions, inflation, famine, epidemics, emigration, the rise of bolshevism, fascism and the most horrific plague of all: nationalism.
He gives us a compelling story of contrasts: the soldiers in the trenches and the arms merchants with their luxury life; English unemployed in five star hotels in Salzburg because they could afford a luxury life on the continent with their unemployment benefits; the brothels and the suicides because of syphilis (Eros Matutina); and the desertion of the Kaiser as a thief in the night at the end of the war, after driving millions of his compatriots into a certain death.
He also relates his encounters with fellow writers like Gide, Rolland, Rilke or Verhaeren.
A moving, outspoken, penetrating and emotional report.
Half the book is concerned with the Europe from 1895 to 1914. The son of a prosperous Jewish family, Zweig grew up in the Vienna of God and the Emperor Franz Josef. Being Jewish then was incidental to being Viennese. It was a city where opera, theatre and music were the basis of everyday life; news of catastrophes elsewhere did not penetrate the Viennese well-padded existence. The Austro-Hungarian empire's lingual and national differences were harmonised by the common love of music.
On leaving school, Zweig determined on a literary career and, while he travelled around Europe, rejoiced in the differences between countries. The Viennese landlady would always be helpful but not obsessed with tidiness, whereas in Berlin his apartment was spotlessly maintained by the Prussian landlady, who never forgot to add two pfennigs to his bill if she sewed a button on his trousers. Paris during the Belle Époque was a city for the young. There, they breathed the very atmosphere of youth. Like every young man who spent a year there, Zweig carried away an incomparably happy memory that lasted for all his time. London by contrast was polite and, if the truth were known, a bit stuffy.
Europe before the War may have been golden, but it was not Eden. European nations had become increasingly prosperous over the previous forty years. However the position of women had scarcely advanced. Even wealthy women were constrained by the dictate of fashion's handicapping their physical mobility.Read more ›
This book is much more then autobiography, it's a story of one time, it's a vivid, moving and nostalgic portrayal of Europe before wars, it's a story about intellectual brotherhood witch tried to prevent nationalistic madness that destroyed the Europe and the World, twice.
It is a story about what Zweig calls the "Apocalypse": war, revolutions, inflation, famine, epidemics, emigration, the rise of bolshevism, fascism and the most horrific of all: nationalism.
Zweig commits a suicide after he finished this work (1942), he stay in "World of Yesterday".
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Wonderful book. I understand Jewish people far better after reading this bookPublished 3 days ago by Amazon Customer
One of my favorite books. It is all about changing times and how a generation can feel disconnected from the times in which it lives. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Leah Charpentier
Simply one of the best book I've read in my life. It gives fascinating insights on how it was to live in Europe before WW1Published 4 months ago by Warrigal
This is a look back to the days of the Austro-Hungarian empire- and they were wonderful days for those who could afford the café society. And then it was gone.. gonePublished 5 months ago by Loessperson