Between Utopia and Reality: Stefan Zweig’s Europe
Stefan Zweig (1881-1942) is known for his humanistic and pacifistic attitude which is recognizable in all his writings. Zweig’s notion of humanism is deeply connected with his idea of a transnational Europe. Even though Zweig escaped continental Europe in 1934, four years before Hitler’s “Anschluss” with Austria, he was unable to metaphorically leave Europe, and especially the German-speaking world, behind. It is a well-documented fact that Zweig found his life in exile unbearable.”[L]ittle by little, the world refuses itself to the exiled,” he wrote to his newly-exiled friend, the author André Maurois in 1940.
Maria Schrader’s excellent drama Farewell to Europe (2016), which will be shown right after my presentation, aptly captures Zweig’s “impossible exile” (George Prochnik).