A New World of Yesterday: Stefan Zweig?s Utopian Nostalgia
April 30, 2010 | Austrian Cultural Forum | New York City
With Michael Hofmann, Paul Holdengräber, George Prochnik, and Klemens Renoldner; moderated by Jonathan Taylor
Co-sponsored by the Austrian Cultural Forum
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Stefan Zweig, possibly the best-selling “serious” author of the first half of the 20th century, mined cultural history for lessons in civilization for a humanity plunging into barbarity. In his portraits of elite Europe, the approach of modernity is experienced with a view fixed on the disappearing past; meanwhile, the unfolding present drove him to the New World, and suicide in Brazil in 1942. Zweig, a perennial nominee for “rediscovery” as a great writer, has been praised as a keeper of the flame of humanism and dismissed as blindly apolitical.
While Zweig’s nostalgic relationship to his World of Yesterday has become legendary, Klemens Renoldner, George Prochnik, Paul Holdengräber and Michael Hofmann will also look at the Austrian writer’s thoughts about the future during his final years in the Americas.
• Alta Ifland: The panel on Stefan Zweig at the Austrian Cultural Forum, moderated by Jonathan Taylor, was probably the most successful panel I attended during these past several days … [more]