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Burning Secret and Other Novels
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978-619-02-0453-4
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244 gr.
Pages
168
Published
28 February 2020

Burning Secret and Other Novels

Over the years, Stefan Zweig's short novels have been repeatedly published in various types of collections. He himself compiled three collections in which he presented his works on a thematic basis. The first one, "Burning Secret"(1911), with the original title, "The First Experience. Four Novels from the World of Childhood", includes works dedicated to maturation and first love thrills.

A suave baron takes a fancy to twelve-year-old Edgar's mother, while the three are holidaying in an Austrian mountain resort. His initial advances rejected, the baron befriends Edgar in order to get closer to the woman he desires. The initially unsuspecting child soon senses something is amiss, but has no idea of the burning secret that is driving the affair, and that will soon change his life for ever.

About the Author
Stefan  Zweig

Born in Vienna, Zweig was the son of Moritz Zweig, a wealthy Jewish textile manufacturer, and Ida (Brettauer) Zweig, the daughter of an Italian banking family. He studied philosophy and the history of literature, and in Vienna he was associated with the avant garde Young Vienna movement. Jewish religion did not play a central role in his education. "My mother and father were Jewish only through accident of birth," Zweig said later in an interview. Although his essays were published in the Neue Freie Presse, whose literary editor was the Zionist leader Theodor Herzl, Zweig was not attracted to Herzl's Jewish nationalism.

During the First World War he took a pacifist stand together with Romain Rolland from Switzerland, summoning intellectuals from all the world to join them in active pacifism, which actually led to Romain Rolland being awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. Zweig remained pacifist all his life but also advocated the unification of Europe before the Nazis came, which has had some influence in the making of the EU.

Like Rolland, he wrote many biographies but considered the one on Erasmus Rotterdamus his most important one, which he described as a concealed autobiography.

Zweig fled Austria in 1934 following Hitler's rise to power. He was famously defended by the composer Richard Strauss who refused to remove Zweig's name (as librettist) from the posters for the premiere, in Dresden, of his opera Die schweigsame Frau (The Silent Woman). This led to Hitler refusing to come to the premiere as planned; the opera was banned after three performances.

Zweig then lived in England (in Bath and London), before moving to the United States. In 1941 he went to Brazil, where in 1942 he and his second wife Lotte (née Charlotte Elisabeth Altmann) committed suicide together in Petrópolis using the barbiturate Veronal, despairing at the future of Europe and its culture. "I think it is better to conclude in good time and in erect bearing a life in which intellectual labour meant the purest joy and personal freedom the highest good on earth," he wrote. His autobiography The World of Yesterday is a paean to the European culture he considered lost.

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