Arnold Zweig (tsvihk) was born into a Jewish middle-class family in 1887. His father, Adolf Zweig, was a saddler and grocer; his mother was Bianca von Spandow. He was educated at the technical school in Kattowitz, Upper Silesia, and then at several German universities, including Breslau, Munich, Berlin, Göttingen, Rostock, and Tübingen, where he studied philosophy and languages and developed an interest in psychology, history, and the arts.
Arnold Zweig had planned to be a teacher, but during his education he began to devote considerable time to writing; his earliest short stories date from 1909. His first novel, a series of episodes unified by a central character, Claudia, appeared in 1912. Traces of his careful, ironic style are apparent in that early work, an experimental book in which he portrayed the sufferings and growth of a sensitive, upper-class woman as she strives, while married to a shy professor, to free herself from her inhibitions and release her natural forces. Zweig’s interest in the psychology of the individual continued to govern most of his work.
During World War I he was a private in a labor battalion in France and Serbia, and from 1917 to the armistice he worked in the press section of the German army at the eastern front. He had already attracted some attention with his short stories and plays. Abigail und Nabal was presented in 1913, and Ritualmord in Ungarn, written in 1914; it was revised and...
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