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.
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.