Beware of Pity

Beware of Pity

A Novel

Book - 1939
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Publisher: New York : The Viking Press, 1939
Characteristics: 5 p. ., 3-498 p. 2l cm

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lukasevansherman
Mar 27, 2015

"It always demands a far greater degree of courage for an individual to oppose an organized movement than to let himself be carried along with the stream-individual courage, that is, a variety of courage that is dying out in these times of progressive organization and mechanization."
I've read a number of the Austrian writer Stefan Zweig's books recently because Wes Anderson, one of my favorite directors, cited him as an influence on "The Grand Budapest Hotel." This 1939 novel is one of his longest and one of his most psychologically astute. Also check out "Confusion" and "The Post-Office Girl." Zweig fled the Continent when the Nazis took power and settled with his wife in Brazil, where they killed themselves in 1942.

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harrietz
Nov 11, 2012

A blogger who I follow mentioned Stefan Zweig and this particular novel, which led me to read it. What a find! This is one of the best novels I've every read. It tells the story of a young, raw lieutenant in the Austrian army before World War I, whose pity for a young, lame woman leads him deeper and deeper into a crisis of conscience. The book has a page-turning pace, keen psychological observations shown through action rather than words (Zweig was a friend of Freud's and gave the eulogy at Freud's funeral), and gut-wrenching raw emotions. Stefan Zweig was one of Europe's most popular and highly regarded writers during the 1920s and 30s. A Jew, he warned about the horrors to come. but his intellectual friends did not listen. He and his wife emigrated to England and then Brazil, where in the late 1930s their despair for the future led them to jointly commit suicide. Zweig is still well regarded in Europe, but has fallen into limbo in the United States. From reading this novel, it is obvious he was one of the finest writers in Europe during the 20th century. I intend to read much more of his prolific work. Unfortunately the library has many titles in German. There are many English translations of these and other books, and I hope the library will get some of them soon.

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