Other Literary Forms

(Poets and Poetry, Complete Critical Edition)

Stefan Zweig, one of the most prolific and, in his time, most widely read authors of the twentieth century, began his literary career as a poet, but his lyric poetry is not among his most important or most enduring achievements. His reputation rests largely on his short fiction, his biographies, his essays, and one of his plays. Zweig the storyteller is noted for his vivid, virtuosic style and his skillful psychological penetration of his characters. His work in the novella form ranges from Die Liebe der Erika Ewald (1904; Erika Ewald’s love) to his last completed work, Schachnovelle (1942; The Royal Game, 1944), which poignantly foreshadows a time of increasing specialization, mechanization, and dehumanization in which men of mind are doomed to be checkmated by brutish technocrats. The collection Erstes Erlebnis (1911; first experience) contains sensitive stories of childhood and adolescence; the stories in Verwirrung der Gefühle (1927; Conflicts, 1927) and Amok (1922; English translation, 1931) deal with adult passions and problems. Zweig’s only completed novel, Ungeduld des Herzens (1938; Beware of Pity, 1939), is a haunting portrayal of a crippled girl and her love. Recently discovered and published in 1982, Rausch der Verwandlung (intoxication of transformation) is a fragmentary novel about a lowly Austrian post-office clerk whose penurious life is transformed when she...

(The entire section is 557 words.)