Page 157 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 49

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L IP T Z IN /R E M EM B E R IN G S T E F A N ZW E IG
149
that has won tragic actuality th rough his death, which we still
feel painfully. I d on ’t believe that his
Nachlass
(except for his
Diaries) contains anything that will basically expand the ro u n d ­
ed and complete image which you delineate, and so I hope that
your book will be not only the first English book about Schnitzler
but also that it will endu re . I am not very patriotic but I am
overcome by a feeling o f gra titude to you that you presented
so vividly and affectionately this person whom I have been
proud and privileged to call my friend and who symbolizes
Austria in the eyes o f the world. Everywhere that I find an
opportun ity to direct attention to this, your unusual book, I
shall do so.”
I mentioned that my own evaluation o f Zweig as an epigone
o f
Jungwien,
the literary movement whose fou r pillars were
Herm ann Bahr, A r thu r Schnitzler, Hugo von Hofmannsthal
and Richard Beer-Hofmann and whose influence extended to
you n g T h e o d o r H e rz l , who d iscov e red th e ta le n t o r
“Ta len tchen” o f the nineteen-year-old Zweig and published his
early contributions in the influential
Neue Freie Presse.
O ther
well known literary personalities influenced by this movement
included Felix Salten, best remembered as the au tho r o f
Bambi,
Peter Altenberg, Rainer Maria Rilke and Jakob Wassermann.
Zweig himself was too young to participate in the brilliant dis­
cussions that were carried on in the heyday o f Young Vienna,
the 1890’s, at Cafe Grienstadl. However, he grew up und e r its
hegemony and never completely emancipated himself from it.
HIS HELPFULNESS
T h roughou t his life, he loved to discover and to fu r th e r o ther
writers. During the years, which the Austrians now re fe r to as
“Die Schreckenszeit,” he devoted a considerable par t o f his in­
come to help less fo rtuna te writers. He was a pillar o f strength
to many o f them , bu t few were aware how depressed he was
in his last years. This depression was the climax o f a lifelong
feeling o f inadequacy, o f modesty that verged on timidity, o f
a straining toward saintliness that was beyond his grasp, o f a
feeling o f helplessness that he could do so little to arrest the
headlong plunge o f his beloved Europe into the abyss.
Word o f Zweig’s suicide reached me after I had concluded