a note on stefan zweig's brilliance


it is never until one realizes that one means something to others that one feels there is any point or purpose in one's own existence. stefan zweig (vienna, 1881- brazil 1942)
"beware of pity", written in the "civil, unexcited, hate-less atmosphere" of london, was the first zweig's novel i laid eyes on. this profoundly emotional drama analyzes and dissects human compassion in a way never before thought or considered or read by me, and clearly reveals the author's fascination for psychological issues and disturbances. the story narrates how a 17 year-old paralyzed girl emotionally blackmails a cavalry officer enticing his sense of commitment and officer-like qualities.
there are two kinds of pity. one, the weak and sentimental kind, which is really no more than the heart's impatience to be rid as quickly as possible of the painful emotion aroused by the sight of another's unhappiness, that pity which is not compassion, but only an instinctive desire to fortify one's own soul against the sufferings of another; and the other, the only one at counts, the unsentimental but creative kind, which knows what it is about and is determined to hold out, in patience and forbearance, to the very limit of its strength and even beyond. "beware of pity".
after completing the novel i felt compelled to know more about zweig and his literary work. his petite masterpiece -a short, one-hundred pages novel about the sickening fever of gambling and obsessive passion of mature, middle-aged women- "twenty-four hours in the life of a woman" positions you -the reader- as a psychologist who lends an ear to a patient who needs to free herself of her guilt by confessing past emotions.
life is futile unless it be directed towards a definite goal. [...] to grow old means to be rid of anxieties about the past. "twenty-four hours in the life of a woman".
stefan zweig's reading is a hidden treasure chest... dare to rediscover his chef-d'œuvre.
a dangerous thing pity, a dangerous thing!

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