THE WORLD OF YESTERDAY
Stefan Zweig’s memoir The World of Yesterday, recalls the golden age of pre-war Europe – its seeming permanence, its promise and its devastating fall with the onset of two world wars. Zweig’s passionate, evocative prose paints a stunning portrait of an era that danced brilliantly on the brink of extinction. It is an unusually humane account of Europe from the closing years of the 19th century through to World War II seen through the eyes of one of the most famous writers of his era. Zweig’s books (novels, biographies, essays) were translated into numerous languages and he moved in the highest literary circles; he also encountered many leading political and social figures of his day. The World of Yesterday is a remarkable, totally engrossing history. This translation by the award-winning Anthea Bell captures the spirit of Zweig’s writing in arguably his most important work, completed shortly before his tragic death in 1942. It is read with sympathy and understanding by David Horovitch.
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David Horovitch’s sublime narration of Zweig’s haunting memoir matches excellence with excellence, style with style. Completed the day before he committed suicide in 1942, Zweig’s narrative is a bittersweet medley of nostalgia and despair, starting with the golden turn-of-the-century years when Vienna was the center of European intellectual and artistic activity, all of which was destroyed with the Nazi ascent in Austria. Film director Wes Anderson has reawakened interest in Zweig, an artist who was once Europe’s bestselling novelist—and who, in time, saw his books burned in public. Horovitch sounds as you imagine Zweig would sound and portrays Zweig’s sensibility, style, and moral compass perfectly, and indelibly. And, happily, if you are new to Zweig, a long list of his slim, elegant novellas awaits you on audio, in English, German, and French. D.A.W.
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