Zweig at Fredonia 2016, October 3-5, 2016, “Zweig and Strauss: Artistic Collaboration in a Time of War”

 

Stefan Zweig, ca. 1938, The Stefan Zweig Collection, Daniel A. Reed Library Archives & Special Collections, State University of New York at Fredonia

Stefan Zweig, ca. 1938
The Stefan Zweig Collection
Daniel A. Reed Library
Archives & Special Collections
The State University of New York at Fredonia

 

Please join the Archives & Special Collections of Reed Library, the Department of English and the School of Music at The State University of New York at Fredonia in a celebration of Stefan Zweig and music at the upcoming Zweig at Fredonia 2016 schedule of events to be held October 3-5, 2016 on the campus of Fredonia in Fredonia, NY: “Zweig and Strauss: Artistic Collaboration in a Time of War”.

Matthew Werley

Matthew Werley

Highlighting Zweig’s lifelong fascination with music, this three-day event will commence October 3 on Fredonia’s campus with a panel discussion investigating the collaborative relationship between Zweig and German composer Richard Strauss. The panel will be led by noted historical musicologist and Zweig scholar Dr. Matthew Werley.  Currently a Research Fellow at the renowned Richard-Strauss-Institut in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, Dr. Werley is co-editing, together with Dr. Jeffrey B. Berlin, a forthcoming critical edition of newly translated correspondence between Strauss and Zweig.

A post-panel reception at Fredonia’s Reed Library on the evening of October 3 will open an exhibition featuring select items from Fredonia’s renowned Stefan Zweig Collection illustrating Zweig’s personal connections to contemporary composers (Strauss, Bruno Walter, Arturo Toscanini, among others) in both creative and intellectual terms. The exhibit will also attempt to portray Zweig’s position in relation to the increasingly hostile environment of Nazi Germany within which artistic and musical expression struggled to survive, including a somewhat cryptic telegram sent from Strauss to Zweig on the 1935 premiere in Dresden of Strauss’ opera Die schweigsame Frau (The Silent Woman) for which Zweig himself famously wrote the libretto.

On the evening of October 4, Fredonia School of Music faculty and students will perform excerpts from Die schweigsame Frau, which Strauss composed during his tenure as head of the Reichsmusikkammer under the Nazi regime. Strauss’ decision to commission Zweig as his librettist for the opera would ultimately harbinger his resignation from the post under acute Nazi pressure.

George Prochnik.

George Prochnik
© Elisabeth Prochnik

Finally, on October 5, Fredonia welcomes the return of renowned author and Zweig biographer George Prochnik (The Impossible ExileOther Press, 2014) as he delivers the keynote 4th Biennial Stefan Zweig Lecture in Fredonia’s Rosch Recital Hall. Prochnik previously participated in the 2009 Zweig Symposium at Fredonia where he presented his paper “The Netherworld of Yesterday: An Imaginary Conversation between Stefan Zweig and Hannah Arendt” (listen to the podcast here). A brief conversation between Prochnik and Paul Holdengräber at the New York Public Library can be viewed here.

Please subscribe to the Zweig at Fredonia blog or follow us on twitter (@FREDArchives) for regular updates on the Zweig at Fredonia 2016 events. Questions may be directed to Dr. Birger Vanwesenbeeck (Birger.Vanwesenbeeck@fredonia.edu), Associate Professor of English at Fredonia, or Kim Taylor (taylokr@fredonia.edu), Coordinator of Archives & Special Collections at Fredonia.

From the Zweig Collection at Fredonia

Letter from Stefan Zweig to Richard Strauss (13 December 1934) in which he expresses his concerns about a German premiere of Die schweigsame Frau.

The Stefan Zweig Collection, Correspondence Box 11, no. 292A-2
Reed Library Archives & Special Collections, The State University of New York at Fredonia

 

The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author(s).  The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by The State University of New York at Fredonia.

 

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New Film on the Life of Stefan Zweig, “Vor der Morgenröte” (“Stefan Zweig: Farewell to Europe”)

German director Maria Schrader’s new film on Stefan Zweig’s life as an exile in Brazil, “Vor der Morgenröte” (“Stefan Zweig: Farewell to Europe”), recently premiered in Leipzig and is continuing its run in theaters across Germany. In an interview with Deutsche Welle’s Jochen Kürten, Schrader comments on the correlation between Zweig’s own feelings of displacement as an émigré with that of the current refugee crisis in Europe and the resonance such themes hold for contemporary viewers. The film, featuring Austrian actor Josef Hader in the role of Zweig, further explores Zweig’s persistent refusal to take a political stance as events unfolded in wartime Europe. The topic is one of continued debate and interest among Zweig scholars today, and Schrader’s film offers a welcome reexamination of the internal conflict Zweig so obviously experienced during the final years of his life.

© X Verleih

Another brief trailer from DW, along with clips of interviews with Schrader and Hader can be viewed here.

The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author(s).  The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by the State University of New York at Fredonia.
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Freud and the Iceberg Metaphor

The recent “Google doodle” celebrating the 160th anniversary of Sigmund Freud’s birth presents a welcome opportunity to highlight not the influence Freud exerted on Stefan Zweig, as seen in such works as Der Amokläufer (Amok, 1922) and Schachnovelle (The Royal Game, 1942), but the effect Zweig himself may have had on the legacy of psychoanalysis.

The iceberg metaphor attributed to this day to Freud as his visual explanation of the unconscious mind may well be more accurately ascribed to his longtime friend and correspondent Stefan Zweig. As pointed out by Fredonia Professor of English Birger Vanwesenbeeck in his essay, “A Stefan Zweig Revival?”, the symbol of the iceberg, which nowhere appears in Freud’s own writings, may well have stuck to psychoanalysis as a result of Zweig who employs it in his book on Freud, Die Heilung durch den Geist (Mental Healers, 1931).¹

In this work, Zweig describes “the destructive possibilities of an iceberg only upon the ground of what is visible above the surface of the water, whereas nine-tenths of the colossus lie beneath the waves” in reference to the unconscious depths and power of the human mind.² Vanwesenbeeck’s study underscores both the collaborative respect and influence both individuals had on one another, as well as the impact that Zweig may well have exerted on one of the most enduring tropes of modern-day psychology.

From the Zweig Collection at Fredonia

The first page of Worte am Sarge Sigmund Freuds, Zweig’s eulogy to Freud, given in London on 26 September 1939.

Freud eulogy001

The Stefan Zweig Collection, H206
Daniel A. Reed Library Archives & Special Collections
State University of New York at Fredonia

References

  1. Birger Vanwesenbeeck, “A Stefan Zweig Revival?” in Stefan Zweig and World Literature: Twenty-First-Century Perspectives, ed. Birger Vanwesenbeeck and Mark H. Gelber (Rochester, New York: Camden House, 2014), 16.
  2. Stefan Zweig, Mental Healers: Franz Anton Mesmer, Mary Baker Eddy, Sigmund Freud, trans. Eden and Cedar Paul (New York: Frederick Ungar, 1962), 292.
The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author(s).  The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by the State University of New York at Fredonia.
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“Messages from a Lost World” : new collection of Zweig essays reviewed in The Nation

Translated by Will Stone, Pushkin Press, 2016

Translated by Will Stone, Pushkin Press, 2016

A new collection of essays by Stefan Zweig, Messages from a Lost World (trans. Will Stone, Pushkin Press, 2016), allows readers considerable insight into Zweig’s persistent dedication to the notion of borderless existence, specifically within the countries of the European Union. Zweig penned these writings during a period starting around the outbreak of World War I and extending to a year before his death in 1942. They touch on his vision of European unity (a constant theme during his life), the crumbling of his cherished Viennese culture as fascism gained an ever greater hold, and the conflicted sentiments which attend a precipitate and necessary flight from one’s homeland. As Gavin Jacobson, writer and book critic for The Nation, explains in his recent review of the work, “Zweig’s transnational visions in Messages are a product of his displacement, and a sharp reminder to citizens about the agony of being stateless in the present age of the refugee.” Jacobson’s article traces with deft deliberation the correlation between Zweig’s reinvented Europe and the political climate of today’s EU which may have yet to endure its strongest test of the Schengen Agreement, underscoring Zweig’s prescience in these matters.

Stefan Zweig (standing) with his brother, Alfred, Vienna, ca. 1910. The Stefan Zweig Collection, Daniel A. Reed Library Archives & Special Collections, State University of New York at Fredonia.

Some of the writings in Messages have never before been published, and none of them have appeared in English before now – further testament to Pushkin’s dedication to the expansion of Zweig readership. The Archives & Special Collections at Fredonia holds typescripts and galley proofs for several of the pieces in this volume, including The Sleepless World (Die schlaflose Welt, 1914), The Vienna of Yesterday (Das Wien von gestern, 1940), The Unification of Europe (Einigung Europas, 1934), and History as Poetess (Die Geschichte als Dichterin, 1931), all of which offer researchers a unique opportunity to better understand Zweig’s creative process. Individuals wishing to consult the Stefan Zweig Collection are encouraged to contact the Coordinator of Archives & Special Collections, Kim Taylor.

 

The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author(s).  The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by the State University of New York at Fredonia.
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New English Translation of Weidermann Work: Ostende: 1936, Sommer der Freundschaft

A newly published English translation of the work Ostende: 1936, Sommer der Freundschaft (2014) by author and literary reporter for Der Spiegel, Volker Weidermann, centers on the relationship between Zweig and Austrian novelist Joseph Roth and their extensive circle of emigrant friends and acquaintances during the summer of 1936 in the Belgian seaside resort of Ostend.

Stefan Zweig and Josef Roth in Ostende, Belgium. Photography. 1936. (Photo by Imagno/Getty Images)

Currently enjoying heightened attention from literary critics both here in the United States and abroad, Ostend: Stefan Zweig, Joseph Roth, and the summer before the dark (Pantheon Books, 2016) is reviewed here by New York Times book critic Jennifer Senior as “light on its feet, a reverie in a way; when it’s over, you’ll half wonder if you’ve dreamed it … [Weidermann] writes the book as a novel, almost, recreating scenes and channeling characters’ thoughts.” A slightly more extensive review by Tara Isabella Burton for the New Republic can be found here.

Joseph Roth died in Paris in 1939 just before the outbreak of the Second World War, a fact noted by Zweig in his last letter to Friderike dated 22 February 1942: “… remember the good Josef Roth and Rieger, how glad I always was for them, that they had not to go through those ordeals.” Whereas Roth died by natural causes (attributed to his alcoholism), Zweig chose to quietly take leave by his own volition. Ostend recounts an effort, albeit an ultimately doomed one, to reclaim a shred of the familiar and a life as the two friends would have known it prior to the rise of fascism within 20th-century Europe.

Listen to English actor Peter Firth read an abridged version of Ostend on BBC Radio 4.

 

The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author(s).  The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by the State University of New York at Fredonia.
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Faculty Workshop Focuses on Interdisciplinary Reach of Stefan Zweig Collection at Fredonia

As part of Fredonia’s spring 2016 Professional Development Day, held on February 5, 2016, Associate Professor of English Dr. Birger Vanwesenbeeck held the inventively titled session “Who’s Afraid of Stefan Zweig? : Stimulating Undergraduate Research Across the Disciplines” in the Williams Center on Fredonia’s campus. The workshop was attended by fifteen faculty members from the departments of Music, English, Political Science, Curriculum & Instruction, World Languages, History and staff from Reed Library and the Archives & Special Collections.

BirgerVanwesenbeeck

Dr. Birger Vanwesenbeeck, Associate Professor of English at Fredonia

Intended to promote the use of primary source materials from the Stefan Zweig Collection in the Archives & Special Collections at Reed Library to support curricular needs, Dr. Vanwesenbeeck used high-resolution, laminated printouts of select items from the collection that touched upon a variety of themes, including the first page of the handwritten eulogy Zweig composed for Sigmund Freud’s funeral in London (Worte am Sarge Sigmund Freuds, 26 September 1939); the Bescheid über die Judenvermögensabgabe (a special levy imposed by the Nazis upon Jewish assets) sent to Zweig on 20 February 1939; a letter to Zweig from a 30-year-old Erich Maria Remarque expressing his gratitude to Zweig for encouraging him during the creative and existential crisis Remarque had experienced several years earlier; and a telegram sent by Richard Strauss to Stefan Zweig relating the successful Dresden Staatsoper premier of Strauss’ opera, Die schweigsame Frau, for which Zweig had written the libretto – it would be banned by the Nazis after a mere four performances.

Although most of the documents in the collection are written in Zweig’s native tongue, German, Dr. Vanwesenbeeck encouraged attendees, working in small groups, to push the limits of their interpretive skills by concentrating on key words, phrases, names and dates to uncover a document’s hidden meaning. Personal devices (e.g., smartphones, tablets) enabled rudimentary, though surprisingly effective, translation and assisted in providing historical context for the materials, all of which was meant to illustrate the level of engagement that students, particularly those without notable language skills, could establish of their own accord.

Dr. Vanwesenbeeck will continue his use of the Zweig Collection throughout the remainder of his spring 2016 course titled “European Literary Landmarks” (ENGL 300). Fredonia faculty interested in scheduling class visits to use the Zweig Collection, or for their own research, are encouraged to contact the Coordinator of Archives & Special Collections, Kim Taylor.

 

The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author(s).  The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by the State University of New York at Fredonia.
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New Stage Adaptation from Laurent Seksik

French novelist Laurent Seksik, who delivered the 3rd Biennial Zweig Lecture at Fredonia in Fall 2014, has completed a stage adaptation of Zweig’s autobiography Die Welt von Gestern (1941; translated into English as The World of Yesterday, 1943) to be premiered at the Théâtre des Mathurins in Paris on March 17, 2016.

Laurent Seksik in Paris on September 2, 2015. (AFP PHOTO / JOEL SAGET)

Seksik is the author of the internationally bestselling novel Les derniers jours de Stefan Zweig (2010; translated into English as The Last Days, 2013), which was adapted into both a theatre play and a graphic novel. A staged reading of the theatre play, directed by Fredonia Theatre and Dance faculty member Jessica Hillman and translated by English faculty member Birger Vanwesenbeeck, was performed on the Fredonia campus in October 2014.

 

The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author(s).  The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by the State University of New York at Fredonia.

 

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