The complete stories of Stefan Zweig - synopses, comments and ratings

(actualisé le ) by Ray

Stefan Zweig (1881-1942), born and raised in the glorious pre-WW1 Vienna of the Belle Epoque, was one of the most outstanding European intellectuals of the 20th century, and a prolific writer of stories, biographies, historical studies, essays, travel journals, memoirs and letters – as well as several plays, two books of poetry, an opera libretto and one completed novel.

Of all his works there is no doubt that his stories have best weathered the test of time and that they are the portion of his legacy that is most read all over the world today.

Here you will find a complete list of all of his 44 short stories, novelettes and novellas in chronological order of initial publication, with for each entry:

  • the original title, with a translation in English;
  • identification of the publication in which it first appeared;
  • an overview of the story;
  • our comments on the literary merits of the text;
  • the number of words in the original German-language text;
  • a rating from 1-10, where :
    • 10=> a masterpiece of world literature;
    • 9=> a great story, one of his best;
    • 8=> a very good read;
    • others=> not in the same category as the above, for the reasons indicated.

The complete texts of stories for which the English title is highlighted in green are available elsewhere on the site and can be seen by clicking on the titles.









short story: < 7,500 words; novelette: 7,500-17,499 words; novella: 17,500-40,000 words; novel: > 40,000 words.

no. date 1st pub. English Title Original Title Synopsis/Comments______________________________ Rat-ing Words
1 1900-07 Forgotten Dreams Vergessene Träume [1] An elegant lady relaxing on the terrace of her magnificent mansion on the Riviera is called upon by a man she had known in her younger days, a man with whom her life might have evolved very differently. Leaving the next day for America, he has come to ask her for an explanation of why she had decided to marry into money rather than take her chances with him back then. She explains honestly the whys and the wherefores and the former beau leaves, but the lady’s self-contentment has evaporated too.
- almost a theatrical sketch, the setting and the atmosphere are nicely evoked by the nineteen-year-old author.
8 2,000
2 1900-10 Springtime in the Prater Praterfrühling [2] A young woman in an elegant building in the most select part of Vienna is quite beside herself with annoyance because the new gown that she has ordered for the most elegant dance of the year has failed to arrive on time, obliging her to miss the fancy event. Finally she decides to put on her oldest skirt and just go out for a walk on that lovely spring day, dressed anonymously like an average citizen of the poorer districts. When she is admired by a young student who finally works up the courage to ask her if he might accompany her she accepts out of a spirit of adventure, and they have a most enjoyable outing in the great Prater park. The simplicity of it all quite enchants her and one thing leads to another and so on.
- quite impregnated with the charm of Vienna on a lovely summer day and with an undercurrent of sociological analysis, this early tale manages to capture the reader’s interest through the quality of the prose, in spite of its simplicity and uneventfulness.
8 2,000
3 1901-08 In the Snow Im Schnee [3] A hair-raising account of the anguish that racks a Jewish ghetto in Germany on the Polish border in the late Middle Ages when news arrives of widespread and approaching pogroms by rampaging mobs blaming Jews for an outbreak of the plague.
- a grim tale masterfully recounted.
9 2,000
4 1901-11 A Loser Ein Verbummelter [4] A wayward student meditates on his unsatisfactory situation on his way to school, where he arrives late as usual to the general mockery of the high-school class. At twenty-one he is the oldest of the class, having had to repeat twice, and he is so utterly involved in his introverted resentment against the world in general and his professor, who was responsible for his having to repeat, in particular that he pays no attention whatsoever to what is being taught. And when he is challenged to repeat what the professor has just said, that sets of a storm that finishes very badly indeed.
- the reader cannot help but wish that the obviously talented author had devoted more care and intensity to this short investigation (with autobiographical connotations) of a subject of quite universal interest, a demotivated young man who is utterly disconnected with his school environment.
7 2,000
5 1901-11 Two Lonely Souls Zwei Einsame [5] A mass of workers, men and women, exits a factory’s gates at the end of the week’s work, streaming in a lively group towards the neighbouring village. They are followed at a distance by a disabled and outcast lad who trods his lonely way behind them. He stops at one point when he distinctly hears sobbing near the roadside: it’s one of the workers, a particularly ungracious girl who has been roughly treated and mocked by the others for her ugliness. A quite intense conversation ensues between the two outcasts when each of them consoles the others with examples of their own misfortunes, and the day and the story do not end badly at all.
- an early, particularly brief but nevertheless quite moving example of the author’s empathy for life’s underdogs.
8 1,330
6 1902-04 The Walking Tour Die Wanderung [6] A youth in a sultry oriental land in antiquity is sensitive to the widespread atmosphere of a coming great event that will change the world, and on waking up in the middle of one night after hearing a distant voice calling him to Jerusalem he leaves right away with only his staff to go on foot to see the coming Messiah in person. A long hard, weary trek awaits him and in the noonday heat the next day he stops at a house on the way to ask for something to drink, whereupon he faints from exhaustion. The lonely young wife who has sheltered and washed and fed him also tends to other needs and when he eventually sets out again on his pilgrimage, he has missed his chance to witness an event of great and universal significance.
- a short 8-page tale with a moral that is just too abruptly recounted to be as meaningful as it was no doubt meant to be.
7 2,050
7 1904-09 The Love of Erika Ewald Die Liebe der Erika Ewald [7] Erika is a young, lonely and innocent young woman who falls increasingly under the charm of a very gifted violinist whom she accompanies on the piano, and finally things come to a brink during a Sunday outing to the outskirts of Vienna where the owner of an establishment where they stop for refreshments politely addresses her as the violinist’s bride, which they both realise she almost is. One thing leads to another until that evening Erika finds herself on the doorstep of the admired and almost-adored young man. Her whole future is decided in that crucial instant.
- an intense and very convincing exploration of the profound emotional and psychological impulses of the central character, a quite masterful analysis of the feminine condition in the flourishing civilisation of pre-WW1 Vienna that rings ever so true over a century later. A remarkable achievement indeed for the very gifted 24-year old author.
9 14,500
8 1904 The Star Over the Forest Der Stern über dem Walde [8] François is a waiter in an elegant Riviera hotel who is suddenly and quite irremediably stricken with a slavish worship for the elegant countess Ostrovska when leaning over her shoulder to serve her. There followed a period of blissful adoration and loving care for her service that brutally comes to an end one day when he learns that she was leaving for Warsaw on the train the next day. His despair is so profound that he resolves on a final sacrifice in her honour, a desperate act witnessed only by a single star in the night sky.
- A convincing and almost surprisingly gripping account (with a beautiful title indeed!) of a tragic obsession that does not leave the reader unmoved.
8 3,000
9 1904 The Miracles of Life Die Wunder des Lebens [9] A painter is commissioned by a wealthy patron in sixteenth-century Antwerp, then under Spanish rule, to do a painting of a madonna with child for an altar in the cathedral. Lacking inspiration, the elderly painter finally finds a young Jewish girl to act as model and when that doesn’t quite click for him he arranges for the temporary “loan” of a young baby for her to hold in her arms while posing, thinking and hoping that that will induce the young non-believer to get into the right spirit and if possible convert to the true faith. Eventually she becomes enamoured with the child and with the blossoming of her maternal instincts the painter is finally inspired to create a true work of art. But all is not for the best as these are troubled times and rebellion is in the air and there are heretics who incite the envious scum of society to revolt against their masters and there is a dramatic final scene in the cathedral where the young girl has gone to worship the picture of what has become “her” baby.
- while the last few pages are dramatic enough, nothing much happens in the rest of this long, too-long opus other than the account of the painter searching for inspiration to actually begin his masterpiece, a pace which will not be to every reader’s taste. And the intensely Catholic tone of the story – we are told on the first page that “foreign heretics had entered the land” and on the second page that the Spanish occupation troops in the city were favourably looked upon by its inhabitants; the painter is obsessively concentrated on converting the Jewish girl to the Roman faith; and there are a truly excessive number of occurrences of the words “God” and “Mother of God” (77). This militantly religious and surprisingly inert, long-winded early work has not, in our humble opinion, well passed the test of time.
6 23,000
10 1906-01 The Cross Das Kreuz [10] A French officer is cut off behind enemy lines after an ambush during the Napoleonic War in Spain and desperately tries to survive amid the immeasurable hostility of the population.
- concise and powerful.
9 3,300
11 1906-08 The Fowler Snared Sommernovellette [11] An elderly man decides to enliven the summer holiday of a young girl in an Italian lakeside resort by writing her anonymous love letters purporting to be from a young and very enamoured Italian Romeo. And when a handsome young fellow does arrive on a boat in the port sparks do start to fly – but the story then ends rather abruptly in a most non-romantic fashion when the girl’s family intervenes.
- the narrator, to whom the elderly man in question recounts the incident in the same resort the following year, wonders at the end whether the man’s motivations wouldn’t have provided meat for a more meaningful story, a sentiment willingly echoed by the reader.
7 3,300
12 1907-12 The Governess Die Gouvernante [12] A young girl confides to her sister late at night that she had heard their governess crying in her room when she had gone to bid her good-night. They conclude that perhaps she is in love with their cousin Otto who is living with them during his studies and they decide to investigate the matter, which they do most effectively, and soon they overhear their governess telling Otto that she is expecting a child. Although they cannot understand how that is possible since the girl isn’t married, they rapidly discover the dark side of life that they hadn’t yet suspected when in rapid succession Otto leaves the house, the girl is dismissed and the chain of sombre events doesn’t even stop there. Their world and their relationship with it have been shattered forever.
- a simple tale about simple things told simply that finally explodes into a cry of outrage at the deception, falsehood and inhumanity covered under the outer sheen of normality in this comfortable world of ours.
9 5,150
13 1908-05 Scarlet Fever Scharlach [13] A young (seventeen-year-old!) medical student comes to Vienna and has enormous difficulties adjusting to life in the big town, not only because he is under-developed, immature and shy but also because he’s quite overwhelmed by the force of the extroverted and quite domineering older student in the next room, not to speak of the latter’s outspoken and somewhat aggressive girlfriend. But one day the woman nest door, to whom he had never paid any attention, comes to him in tears pleading for his help as a medical student to save her young daughter, who has come down with scarlet fever. He does his best to help the child’s doctor care for the young thing, sitting up night after midnight to help her, even though scarlet fever can rarely if ever be overcome by grownups…
- a story that starts off slowly about a perfectly-normal young man from the provinces quite unsure of himself in the hostile urban environment of a big city that builds up, thanks to the magic of the author’s smooth, incisive prose into a dramatic existential quandary that can leave no reader with a dry eye, quite impossible.
9 18,250
14 1909-05 Twilight Story Geschichte in der Dämmerung [14] A young English boy on holiday in the splendid Scottish castle of his relatives wanders into the grounds late at night, fascinated by its somewhat eerie atmosphere. Where he is quite abruptly accosted in the dark by a passionate young woman who vigorously enlaces and embraces him before fleeing. Unable to identify his mysterious and attractive aggressor he lurks under the same tree again the next night and has another encounter with the girl-thing, and although he cannot distinguish her features he clearly perceives a peculiar amulet that she wears on her bracelet. As there are several girls who might have been the passionate one in the woods he does identify the culprit so to speak because of her amulet, and thereafter he openly seeks to deepen the relationship. Eventually he realises that he is hopelessly in love with the girl with the amulet, even though he has – one might say of course – identified the wrong girl. The story ends as gloomily as it started, when the narrator had felt overcome by melancholy in the final hours of twilight on a summer day and remembered the incident.
- splendidly evoking the atmosphere of a summer adventure in sumptuous surroundings, the author effortlessly captures the attention and even the emotion on the reader throughout. A pleasant tale with a punch.
9 11,200
15 1908-05 Twilight Geschichte eines Untergangs [15] The young and vivacious Mme de Prie, mistress of the realm’s intendant during the reign of the young Louis XV and at twenty-five the most powerful woman in France, discovers one day that she is in disgrace after the fall from power of her lover, and that she must leave Paris and the court immediately, not to be allowed to come back to Paris for years, if ever. She puts on a bold face but is inwardly devastated by this banishment, and after only a few days of solitary isolation in her Normandy property she is already in the depths of despair. We follow her unsuccessful attempts to find distractions in the arms of a young but boorish local fellow and to recreate the gay and lavish atmosphere of Parisian festivities in her new realm, but her physical and mental conditions rapidly deteriorate until her ultimate and finally fruitless fatal gesture of resentment at her fate.
- this investigation of the psychological drama of a historical personage convincingly narrates in a smooth, flowing, precise style the process of decline and self-destruction of a woman suddenly excluded from the high society she has always known and flourished in, and even though the modern reader may feel less empathy for the plight of this very privileged person, despair and the temptation of suicide, so well analysed here, are of course matters of very general interest and even fascination.
9 12,000
16 1911 Burning Secret Brennendes Geheimnis [16] In a mountain resort an Austrian nobleman, an experienced lady-chaser, sets his sights on an attractive woman who has come there with her sickly twelve-year-old son for a cure, and cleverly first strikes up a friendship with the boy as a way to his mother’s heart. This stratagem is brilliantly successful, but the baron makes the mistake of ignoring the boy from then on and the story switches to an in-depth investigation of the boy’s evolving feelings of bewilderment, resentment, hostility and finally outright violence as he tries to understand what the baron’s aims are and why he has been ostracised and rejected by his mother. His crisis of adolescence finally bursts into violence and drama as he evolves into a new, more grown-up phase of his life.
- an interesting and engaging view of the battle of the sexes as seen through the innocent eyes of a young boy, most skilfully narrated.
10 23,400
17 1913-08 Fear Angst [17] The story of a respectably married woman who has faulted with a seductive young pianist and is blackmailed by an aggressive young woman who threatens to denounce her to her husband. The blackmail is increasingly successful and the lady is overcome with anguish and finally sees only one fatal way out of her dilemma.
- a remarkably convincing in-depth analysis of inner life-endangering turmoil, masterfully recounted.
10 21,000
18 1914-07 Moonbeam Alley Die Mondscheingasse [18] The narrator’s ship has sought haven from a storm in a small French port where he spends the day investigating the maze of little streets in the seamier part of town. Hearing a German song in one of the dives there he enters where the singer in question breaks off her efforts to entertain him by violently bad-mouthing, if you’ll pardon the expression, in her native tongue a somewhat wretched-looking fellow-countryman who had been lurking outside the establishment. Who accepts any humiliation the lady proffers him whatever, urging in vain his money on her until he is evicted from the establishment amid the laughter and scorn of all the bystanders save one. The narrator follows him out and learns the tragic story of his unrelenting passion for the lady.
- a very nice description of a coastal town at night evolves almost unexpectedly into a love story of impressive intensity.
9 6,400
19 1916-12 The Legend of the Third Pigeon Die Legende der dritten Taube [19] A mock-legendary account of what happened to Noah’s third pigeon: the first had come back empty-beaked so to speak, signifying that it hadn’t been able to find any land; the second a week later had returned with an olive branch, signifying that it had found the tip of an olive tree sticking out of the water, and the third hadn’t returned at all another week later, signifying that it had succeeded in finding dry land. The fate of the third in its leafy heaven where it had gained eternal life did not turn out as well as might be expected though, as its longevity brought it up to our own less-than-ideal period of the Earth’s evolution.
- a short 4-page parable of a certain fleeting charm.
8 1,300
20 1917-07 The Woman and the Countryside Die Frau und die Landschaft [20] On vacation in a valley in the Tyrol suffering from a long drought the narrator has a strange, almost mystical but very real nighttime experience with a young woman whom he had seen that day staring at the clouds in the distance seeming to pray for the summer storm that finally broke out during their unexpected nighttime encounter – that she had quite forgotten the next morning.
- a well-told tale of a strange encounter and a splendid evocation of the atmosphere – and the spectacular climate – in that mountainous region.
8 8,050
21 1919-07 The Refugee. Episode on Lake Geneva Der Flüchtling. Episode am Genfer See [21] At night on Lake Geneva during the First World War a fisherman comes across a fellow in the middle of Lake Geneva paddling a makeshift raft. He rescues the fellow, who is naked and cannot speak a word of French, and brings him back to his port, where the polyglot director of the local hotel finds that he is a Russian soldier who had been brought all the way to France with his division to combat on the Western front, where he had been wounded, had escaped, and was trying to make his way back to his homeland. He is housed and fed by the townspeople but the poor man, who is utterly lost and just wants to return to his wife and children and his status as semi-serf on the plains there, is utterly despairing when it is explained to him that he cannot leave until the end of the war at an indeterminate date in the future. The story does not end well for him.
- in spite of the brevity of the tale, its dispassionate but sensitive account of the plight of a homeless and homesick refugee is of considerable interest to the modern reader.
8 2,500
22 1920 Compulsion Der Zwang [22] Ferdinand is a German artist who has gone to live in an obscure village in Switzerland, avoiding contact with the local citizens in the hope that he will be able to escape the notice of the German authorities. But one day the postman delivers notice of his mobilisation and a convocation to the German consulate in Zürich, where he is told that he must return immediately to his fatherland for military service. As both he and his wife are convinced pacifists the decision to submit to – or refuse to obey – what they both consider a criminal enterprise is not an easy one to make.
- A passionate plea for pacifism written in 1916 in the middle of the war, that couldn’t be printed until the end of that gigantic conflict. Interesting as Ferdinand’s crisis of conscience and his passionate debates with his militantly antiwar wife are, this highly-politicised story nevertheless lacks narrative substance and even a certain amount of credibility.
8 12,000
23 1921-05 The Eyes of my Brother, Forever Die Augen des ewigen Bruders. Eine Legende [23]

aka: Virata
Introduced with quotes from the Hindu classic Bhagavad-Gita and beginning with the declaration: “This is the story of Virata that his people celebrated with the four names of the virtues…” the text recounts the various life-changing stages in the hero Virata’s career, from the moment, as the most renowned warrior of a mythical pre-Buddhist kingdom, he had led loyal forces on a daring and victorious nighttime attack on the headquarters of a rebel army – only to discover the dead body of his one and only elder brother whom he had mistaken for an enemy during the struggle. The impact of the eyes of his dead brother staring at him led him to renounce the king’s offer to assume leadership over all his armed forces, declaring that he now realised that nothing could aver justify taking the life of another man and that he wanted henceforth to only serve the cause of natural justice. Whereupon the king appointed him as the foremost judge of the realm, until a man he had condemned to life imprisonment and whippings for having slaughtered a whole family pointed out to him that he was unworthy of condemning others to punishments that he himself had never suffered and therefore could not understand. Renouncing his position of judge to deepen his understanding of the concept of justice, he thus embarks on a further series of transformations of his values and his occupations until the cycle is complete when the king one last time grants him his ultimate wish – that explains just why this hero who had been so famous in each of his previous life-stages was never chronicled in any of the historical chronicles and was finally utterly forgotten by humanity.
- recounted in a quite glorious hieratic style as if it were the archive that should have been written to celebrate Virata’s military and moral prowesses, the story has a most engaging pace and substance that make it almost surprisingly readable in spite of its didactic quasi-religious aura that somehow fades into the background behind the quality of the prose and the interest of the narrative itself.
9 12,900
24 1922-01 Letter From an Unknown Woman Brief einer Unbekannten [24] A well-known novelist returns home after a holiday in the mountains to find a long letter awaiting him there from a woman he had once known but quite forgotten. She on the other hand has never forgotten him, for good reasons as the letter explains.
- A very intense, very moving reading experience, a literary masterwork.
10 14,200
25 1922-05 Fantastic Night Die phantatische Nacht [25] We follow the events in one day of the life of a well-off, rather idle, somewhat bored and very blasé thirty-six-year-old reserve officer in Vienna in June 1914 as he quite by hazard finds himself at the races in the Prater, the great Viennese public park, and watches with a detached eye the excited behaviour of the crowd during the races. His day and his whole existence are thrown head over heels when he starts paying attention to an alluring person next yo him and rapidly goes through a life-changing experience that ends late that night when he finally comes home and on opening the door of his apartments and suddenly thinks: “I then felt overwhelmed by anguish at the idea that I would return to my previous ordinary life on entering the dwelling of the man I had been until then, in sleeping in his bed, on having contact with everything that this night had so effectively undone.
- a memorable account of the glories of a summer pre-WW1 Viennese day, of the festive atmosphere on a Sunday at the immense Prater park, of the passion of a large crowd at a major horse race, of the interplay between the different strata of society, and of one man’s existential quest for meaning in his life. One of the master’s finest masterpieces!
10 20,700
26 1922-06 Amok Amok [26]

aka: Der Amokläufer
An expatriate doctor on the verge of a nervous breakdown in a remote outpost in the Dutch East Indies after seven years of service in the jungle there receives the visit of an elegant lady from the European community in the area’s capital who offers him a large sum of money to perform an illegal operation. Although he does need the money, her arrogant and humiliating attitude provokes him into making her a dishonourable counter-proposition that she tauntingly refuses. Losing all sense of reason and his mental equilibrium, he runs amok – goes on what might be called a psychological rampage – and there is intense drama for him and the lady and her entourage from that instant onwards.
- a tale well told of a tragic sequence of events that casts an interesting light on the way of life in the European colonies in the Far East in the earlier part of the 20th Century, even if the weak moral fibre of the central personage lessens somewhat the impact of the tale.
9 19,200
27 1925-05 The Invisible Collection

(An episode from the German inflation)
Die unsichtbare Sammlung [27]

(Eine Episode aus der deutschen Inflation)
An art merchant travels to a small town in Germany during the period of ultra-inflation after WW1 in search of a former client of his gallery who had over the years amassed a fabulous collection of Renaissance art. He does find the old man, who recounts to him in great detail and with heartfelt emotion the wonders of his unique collection.
- an erudite exploration of the arcane world of art dealers, art collectors and art treasures, both real and imagined.
9 5,050
28 1925-12 Twenty-Four Hours in the Life of a Woman Vierundzwanzig Stunden aus dem Leben einer Frau [28] In this story within a story, both on the theme of deep-running sensual passions overriding all other considerations, subtly enlarged to encompass the overwhelming passion of gambling, a woman recounts a decisive moment in her life when she had tried to help a young nobleman whose passion for the roulette table had lead him to the brink of self-destruction.
- sensual passion over-riding all other considerations in the context of high-flying passion for the roulette table at Monte Carlo, soberly recounted with sensitivity and in-depth psychological penetration: a powerful, moving, thought-provoking story, a masterpiece.
10 21,000
29 1929 Rahel Confronts God Rahel rechtet mit Gott. Legende [29] The people of Jerusalem have been worshipping foreign gods and sullying the holy places of worship with their sacrilegious behaviour and bloody acts of violence for so long that He unleashes endless mighty storms that permanently darken the skies in punishment, disregarding all mankind’s lamentations and pleadings for forgiveness. His anger is so great that even the angels hide from his sight, and the violence of his retribution is so intense that the dead are awakened, but even the pleadings of the awakened bones of the most sacred of them all are ignored by the power on high. So the mother of Israel’s tribe, Rahel, gets up from her tomb too and reveals to Him in a dramatic speech how she had managed to forgive her own father and sister when they had plotted to substitute her ugly elder sister for her in the bridal ceremony with Jacob that she had been waiting for for seven years. She revolts against the Lord’s refusal to show misericord for his children when she herself had managed to overcome her repugnance at having to renounce her own love for Jacob out of pity for her beloved elder sister, and finally wins the day with her spirited reasoning.
- A quite astonishing rhetoric in quasi-biblical terms of considerable force and interest – the details here revealed of the biblical bridal night à trois are an addition to the reader’s biblical understanding without a doubt – that is a parable of interest in no way limited to the faithful of one or other of the biblical traditions.
8 5,300
30 1927-04 The Dissimilar Doubles Die gleich-ungleichen Schwestern [30] The narrator spots an unusual building with two identical towers in a southern town (in Aquitaine in France as it turns out) and asks a local citizen sipping wine at a nearby table for an explanation. Who obligingly explains the tale of the two identical twin sisters, whose father had been a very ambitious ruler fallen on hard times and their mother a strikingly beautiful local girl. The two girls were not only absolutely identical but also very accomplished and beautiful, always vying to outdo one another in everything. One day one of them ran away with a young lord she had seduced and launched herself on a career of wanton luxury that brought her renown among all the men and especially lords and the reprobation of all the women. In reaction, her sister devoted herself to caring for the aged and ill in a convent and became equally renowned for her dedication and sanctity. But the conflict between the two came to the flashpoint when the wanton one challenged the pure one to a test of her resistance to the lures of the flesh which was haughtily accepted, somewhat foolishly as it turned out, as the pure sister hadn’t reckoned with the wiles of her sister and the effect of wine and spices and perfumes and the charm and virility of the challenger to her virginity that the sister faced her with. So virtue lost the day and the battle against the urges of the flesh – or did it? – as the story doesn’t end there and the tale becomes less of a parable and more of a perfectly believable and credible tale with a moral of its own.
- An interesting and very readable experiment that is almost a study of the feminine condition throughout the ages in a lighter vein than what one might expect for such a momentous theme.
8 7,900
31 1927-08 The Wedding in Lyon Die Hochzeit von Lyon [31] This account of a nighttime marriage in the face of imminent death during the ferocious Stalinist-type repression of enemies of the State during the 1794 Terror period of the French Revolution so vividly recreates the atmosphere of those tragic days that anything else seems anticlimactic. 10 3,100
32 1927 Downfall of the Heart Untergang eines Herzens [32] An elderly man is deeply shocked when in the middle of the night he sees his nineteen-year-old daughter coming out of the bedroom of another guest of the hotel in an Italian coastal resort where he is on vacation with his family for health reasons. The shock is severe and affects both his physical and psychic equilibrium, driving him to desperate measures as he comes to grips with the relational and moral gulf between himself and the rest of his family. His mental and physical health rapidly decline as he and the reader realise that the end is rapidly approaching.
- A most credible account of the physical and moral downfall of a man who tries to face up to the emotional emptiness of his way of life that has suddenly been revealed to him, recounted through the thought process of the central figure.
8 10,700
33 1927 Confusion of the Sentiments Verwirrung der Gefühle [33] A university professor reflects on his career when honoured by his colleagues and students with an elaborate 200-page biography on the occasion of his sixtieth anniversary, and is struck by the contrast between the outward image he has represented to the world and his inner vision of himself. In particular he remembers his tumultuous first year as a student and his life-changing encounter with an inspired professor with whom he had had the most important relationship in his life, a relationship that evolved from enthusiastic collaboration on an editorial research project to an intense and passionate relationship between the two and that culminated in one final, unforgettable scene that was perhaps the most important moment in his life.
- an in-depth investigation into the psychological, emotional and sexual relationships between a young student and an older man of great intellectual authority that is finely analysed and precisely and elegantly described. For readers of all sexual orientations!
9 27,000
34 1929-11 Mendel the Bookdealer Buchmendel [34] The author recounts how he had taken shelter unexpectedly in a suburban café where he suddenly remembered having met twenty years beforehand Mendel, a book handler who possessed a phenomenal memory for the slightest details of any book he had ever seen or read about. Famous in his day, he was now quite forgotten by everyone in the café where he had officiated all day every day, except fpr the washerwoman, who recounts to the author the sad fate of the famous expert whose life, like so many others, had been utterly uprooted by the First World War.
- a charming evocation of the intensely active intellectual pre-WW1 climate in Vienna that rings so true one cannot help wondering if it isn’t a true story.
9 9,000
35 1929 Leporella Leporella [35] Crescentia is an awkward, ungainly and excessively introverted kitchen-maid from the mountains in Tyrol whose whole existence is uprooted when the lady of the house leaves for a cure and her handsome and frivolous husband, the baron F., treats her in a most friendly manner, involves her is his extra-marital escapades, and baptises her Leporella after the complacent servant of Don Juan, Leporello. But all good things come to an end and the high-strung madame returns one day and the tensions in the house and with Crescentia/Leporella explode.
- An in-depth portrait of the deep and potentially violent emotions and impulses that can and sometimes do lurk in the most unsophisticated souls, most convincingly and dramatically evoked.
9 8,300
36 1929 Fragment of a Novella Fragment einer Novelle [36] An engineer on a remote construction project in Mexico has been feverishly awaiting the long-awaited date of departure of his boat to return to Germany and his beloved fiancée whose letters he has read and reread so often that he knows them all by heart. Only to discover one catastrophic day that war has been declared in Europe and that his separation from his beloved will last far longer than he had imagined. Life carries on however and he builds a new life.
- this episode from The Resistance of Reality was the only portion of that story published by Stefan Zweig during his lifetime. In spite of its literary merits (smooth-flowing phrases albeit somewhat over-charged emotionally), it is not very satisfactory as a separate story, being too obviously part of a greater whole that is lacking. And the account of life in Mexico (white colonists?) before and during WW1 (no mention of the Revolution there?) and of the management and financing of a huge mining operation (by a young novice?) will not convince every reader.
7 2,700
37 1934-05 Casual Knowledge of a Craft Unvermutete Bekanntschaft mit einem Handwerk [37] Returning to Paris after a two-year absence, the narrator decides to just do nothing other than soak up the atmosphere of the boulevards and watch the crowds passing by there. Which enables him to identify a pickpocket and to study the fellow’s expert technique. When he follows the man on his peregrinations to the central auction house at the Hotel Druot the man passes into action and the narrator himself gets involved.
- A very Maupassant-like episode impregnated with the atmosphere of the time, the excitement of uncovering the secrets of a timeless profession and the author’s innate empathy with the underdogs of life.
9 12,050
38 1936-12 The Buried Candelabrum Der begrabene Leuchter [38] The story, or rather fable, starts with the detailed description of the meticulous looting of Rome of all its wealth by a Vandal army in the year 453, and the despair of the Jewish community as the looters take away the sacred candelabrum that the Romans had brought back with them from Jerusalem when they had conquered it – and destroyed the Temple there – almost four hundred years beforehand. A group of elders follows the last of the Germanic warriors down to the sea to try to somehow prevent the sacred candelabrum from being taken away over the seas, and the young boy Benjamin, whom they had brought with them as a witness of the scene for future generations, makes a mad rush at the very last moment to try to wrest the candelabra from a Vandal soldier’s grasp. To no avail, but he does touch the sacred object and is henceforth an object of worship throughout the Jewish communities everywhere for his brave deed. In his old age he is sent by his community to Constantinople where the Byzantine army that had just conquered the Vandals had brought the candelabrum. He is granted an interview with the mighty Emperor, who agrees to save the candelabrum from destruction, but refuses to sell it to the unbelieving Jews and orders it to be installed instead in a new church to be consecrated in Jerusalem. Although Benjamin and the other Jewish delegates are in despair at their failure to recuperate the precious relic of Solomon’s Temple, where there is a will there is a way and both the candelabrum and Benjamin end their peregrinations in the holy land.
- this religious morality tale with a historical tinge, infused with intense belief in God and in the special destiny of the oppressed Jewish people, this work will be of considerable interest to believers in the Jewish faith of an orthodox variety, but for those who do not adhere to those particular values, from a purely literary point of view it is just too devoutly dogmatic to retain a reader’s real interest over its long, very long, hundred-plus pages.
7 34,000
39 1939-10 An Unforgettable Man Ein Mensch, den man nicht vergißt [39] The narrator remembers Anton, a thirty-year-old poorly-dressed and penniless man who could always be found wandering about his little home town just helping people and even animals, doing odd jobs and living from day to day, accepting in payment for his friendly and efficient services only what he needed to get through the day, nothing more. He had been one of the most influential people in the narrator’s life.
- A short (10-page) but very charming story.
8 2,500
40 1941-06 The Debt Paid Late Die spät bezahlte Schuld [40] A middle-aged woman writes to an old friend to recount how during a brief holiday in the Tyrolean mountains she had encountered an actor they had both utterly worshipped in their adolescence and who had since fallen on hard times. She reveals to her old friend how the actor had played a key role in an absolutely crucial moment in her life, and how she had paid back the debt that she owed him during that encounter in the remote mountain village.
- in this posthumously-published, elegantly-recounted tale that builds up slowly but surely to a remarkably moving climax, the author strikes a high note reminiscent of the impact of his earlier epistolary masterpiece Letter From an Unknown Woman.
9 10,000
41 1942-12 Did He Do It? War er es? [41] Betsy has retired with her husband to a lovely spot on a small hillside overlooking an abandoned canal in the countryside near Bath in England, and she recounts their relationship with their young neighbours, an extraordinarily warm-hearted fellow and his wife, to whom Betsy had given a puppy for company as they had remained childless. The dog becomes the central figure in this increasingly-dramatic story as he assumes ever-greater mastery over his owner, who had soon become his willing slave/servant, until the arrival at last of a baby relegates the animal to a secondary role in the household that the arrogant, very clever and very powerful dog refused to accept, with tragic consequences.
- written in a straightforward, clear, flowing and uncomplicated style at the peak of the author’s powers in the thirties during his stay in England, this simple tale gradually becomes an in-depth study of two unusual personalities and a terribly impressive account of an avoidable tragedy. And this dog has a personality as striking and unusual as Jack London’s villainous dog-star Spot!
9 10,500
42 1942-12 Chess Story Schachnovelle [42] Having learnt that the world chess champion is on board the ship that is taking him from New York to Buenos Aires, the narrator organises a match at high stakes – the hard-nosed champion only plays for money – against the combined forces of the chess enthusiasts on the boat. The champion scornfully humiliates them but in the revenge match a bystander intervenes to prevent the group from playing the obvious move, and then plays the rest of the game to a draw. Recognizing the force of the newcomer the champion proposes another match just with him, which does take place in an atmosphere of great tension and drama, particularly for the narrator who had spent the previous afternoon listening to the newcomer recount how he had used mental chess in his cell to overcome the intense psychological torture that he had been submitted to by the Gestapo after the fall of the democratic government in Austria.
- a tour de force wherein the author vividly brings alive the charged political atmosphere of the time as well as the tenseness of a purely intellectual struggle that here rises to the heights in the form of a top-level chess match, that’s recounted without any technicalities and requires no chess knowledge whatsoever to become engrossed in this gripping masterpiece with deep literary, intellectual and political scope.
10 18,300
43 1987 Resistance of Reality Widerstand der Wirklichkeit [43]

(Die Reise in die Vergangenheit)
Ludwig is a young man from a poor background who’s hired as a specialist in an important chemical firm in Leipzig on graduating with a doctor’s degree in chemistry (at the age of twenty-three!). Soon afterwards the owner of the firm takes him on as his private secretary and he’s given a large room of his own in the ailing owner’s luxurious home, where he is received in a particularly friendly manner by the lady of the house, an elegant young woman with an eleven-year-old son. Ill at ease in such luxurious surroundings because of his lifelong poverty Ludwig nevertheless soon falls hopelessly in love with the lady, a feeling that was about to become mutual not to say consummated when Ludwig is sent on a two-year mission to oversee the creation and exploitation of a major mining operation in Mexico. He feverishly memorises all the long letters his almost-mistress sends him, and counts the days until his long-awaited return to the fatherland and the boy’s mother. But shortly before the date set for departure, war breaks out in Europe and Ludwig has to wait until the war ends to return. As the war drags on Ludwig carries on with his wheelings and dealings and acquires a family too, but one day at last, nine years after his departure, he does return to Germany on a business trip and arranges to meet at long last the desired one. They take the train to romantic Heidelberg but that doesn’t work out quite as well as planned and their passions sort of peter out on an undecided note.
- A brief extract, Fragment of a Novella, was published by the author in 1929, but the rest of the text was never published during the author’s lifetime, and one can understand his reluctance to undermine his stature as one of Europe’s most important writers with this tale of unconsummated love in a bizarre and unconvincing historical setting, with “white colonists” in Mexico in the 1910s, no mention of the epochal Revolution taking place there then, and a gigantic Nazi parade in Heidelberg in 1921 (the two have been separated for nine years, two of which were before the Great War).
7 10,500
44 1990 Wondrak Wondrak [44] Ruzena has always been an outcast from society because of her deformed (noseless) face from birth onwards, and lives far away from the nearest town in a forest. But she is aggressed brutally by three marauders and nine months later gives birth to a perfectly normal boy who is the central point of her life, even when he is taken away from her during the week to do his schooling. But when he becomes eighteen and is drafted at the height of the First World War, Ruzena obliges him to desert and to hide with her in the forest. Wondrak, the rather kindly secretary of the mayor, who had arranged for the boy to be christened, warns her that a special detachment of gendarmes is on its way to round up deserters, and even though she hides Karl (who had been given Wondrak’s forename) even deeper in the forest, the gendarmes root him out with a bloodhound and arrest Ruzena too when she violently assaults the squad’s officer. But when Karl and his mother are dragged bitterly protesting through the town, the Czech-speaking townsfolk, all of whom resent the oppression of their Austrian overlords and are waiting for the Russians to deliver them, group menacingly around the prison where the two have been imprisoned for the night. Unfortunately, this 35-page fragment, found in the author’s papers after his death, stops there.
- its sensitive empathy with the socially-ostracised central character and its exploration of the rise of national consciousness that finally exploded in the huge Austrian Empire after WW1 are particularly impressive.
8 8,700


A Loser (Ein Verbummelter)
An Unforgettable Man (Ein Mensch, den man nicht vergißt)
Beware of Pity (Ungeduld des Herzens)
Burning Secret (Brennendes Geheimnis.)
Casual Knowledge of a Craft (Unvermutete Bekanntschaft mit einem Handwerk)
Chess Story (Schachnovelle)
Compulsion (Der Zwang)
Confusion of the Sentiments (Verwirrung der Gefühle)
Did He Do It? (War er es?)
Downfall of the Heart (Untergang eines Herzens)
Fantastic Night (Die phantatische Nacht)
Fear (Angst )
Forgotten Dreams (Vergessene Träume)
Fragment einer Novelle (Fragment of a Novella)
In the Snow (Im Schnee)
Letter From an Unknown Woman (Brief einer Unbekannten)
Mendel the Bookdealer (Buchmendel)
Moonbeam Alley (Die Mondscheingasse)
Rahel Confronts God (Rahel rechtet mit Gott. Legende)
Resistance of Reality (Widerstand der Wirklichkeit)
Scarlet Fever (Scharlach)
Snow Winter (Schneewinter)
Springtime in the Prater (Praterfrühling)
The Buried Candelabrum (Der begrabene Leuchter)
The Cross (Das Kreuz)
The Debt Paid Late (Die spät bezahlte Schuld)
The Dissimilar Doubles (Die gleich-ungleichen Schwestern)
The Eyes of my Brother, Forever (Die Augen des ewigen Bruders. Eine Legende)
The Fowler Snared (Sommernovellette)
The Governess (Die Gouvernante)
The Invisible Collection (Die unsichtbare Sammlung )
The Legend of the Third Pigeon (Die Legende der dritten Taube)
The Love of Erika Ewald (Die Liebe der Erika Ewald)
The Miracles of Life (Die Wunder des Lebens)
The Post Office Girl (Rausch der Verwandlung)
The Refugee. Episode on Lake Geneva (Der Flüchtling. Episode am Genfer See)
The Sealed Train (Der versiegelte Zug)
The Star Over the Forest (Der Stern über dem Walde)
The Walking Tour (Die Wanderung)
The Wedding in Lyon (Die Hochzeit von Lyon)
The Woman and the Countryside (Die Frau und die Landschaft)
Twenty-Four Hours in the Life of a Woman (Vierundzwanzig Stunden aus dem Leben einer Frau)
Twilight Story (Geschichte in der Dämmerung)
Twilight (Geschichte eines Untergangs)
Two Lonely Souls (Zwei Einsame)
Virata (Die Augen des ewigen Bruders. Eine Legende)


Brennendes Geheimnis
Brief einer Unbekannten
Das Kreuz
Der Amokläufer
Der begrabene Leuchter
Der Flüchtling. Episode am Genfer See
Der Stern über dem Walde
Der versiegelte Zug
Der Zwang
Die Augen des ewigen Bruders. Eine Legende
Die Frau und die Landschaft
Die gleich-ungleichen Schwestern
Die Gouvernante
Die Hochzeit von Lyon
Die Legende der dritten Taube
Die Liebe der Erika Ewald
Die Mondscheingasse
Die phantatische Nacht
Die Reise in die Vergangenheit
Die spät bezahlte Schuld
Die unsichtbare Sammlung
Die Wanderung
Die Wunder des Lebens
Ein Mensch, den man nicht vergißt
Ein Verbummelter
Fragment einer Novelle
Geschichte eines Untergangs
Geschichte in der Dämmerung
Im Schnee
Rahel rechtet mit Gott. Legende
Rausch der Verwandlung
Ungeduld des Herzens
Untergang eines Herzens
Unvermutete Bekanntschaft mit einem Handwerk
Vergessene Träume
Verwirrung der Gefühle
Vierundzwanzig Stunden aus dem Leben einer Frau
War er es?
Widerstand der Wirklichkeit
Zwei Einsame


date 1st
English_Title______ Original_Title____________ Status__________________________________________
1939 Beware of Pity Ungeduld des Herzens the only novel he completed and the only one published during his lifetime.
1981 Clarissa Clarissa unfinished
1982 The Post Office Girl Rausch der Verwandlung unfinished


date 1st
English Title___________ Original Title__________ Genre_______ Comments_____________________________________
1911 First Experience Erstes Erlebnis

aka: Die Kette (The Chain)
short-story collection This is the title of a collectIon of four short stories (Geschichte in der Dämmerung, Die Gouvernante, Brennendes Geheimnis and Sommernovellette), preceded by a poem.
1925 The Struggle With the Devil Der Kampf mit den Dämon historical essays This is a series of literary analyses of the works of Kleist, Hölderlin and Nietzsche, and not a work of fiction.
1940 The Sealed Train Der versiegelte Zug historical essay This account of Lenin’s trip across Germany in the middle of WW1 (with the approval of the German authorities) on his way to destroy the Russian empire is not (unfortunately, one might say) a work of fiction.
2016 Snow Winter Schneewinter poetry This is a collection of poetry, not a work of fiction.


6.1. SITES

- Stefan Zweig in Wikipedia (English version)

- Project Gutenberg: downloadable Stefan Zweig stories in German


- Stefan Zweig - Gesammelte Werke (Paperless, digital edition; 6,802 pages)

- Stefan Zweig – Romans, nouvelles et récits (Bibliothèque de la Pléiade, 3012 pages)

- The Collected Stories of Stefan Zweig (Pushkin Press, 720 pages)

- The Collected Novellas of Stefan Zweig (Pushkin Press, 384 pages)


[1Vergessene Träume was first published in the July 22, 1900 issue of the Berlin weekly magazine Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung.

[2Praterfrühling was first published in the October and November 1900 issues of the Berlin monthly review Stimmen der Gegenwart (“Voices of the Present”).

[3Im Schnee was first published in the August 2nd issue of the Viennese (Zionist) weekly Die Welt.

[4Ein Verbummelter was first published in the November 16, 1901 issue of the Berlin monthly review Das Magazin für die Literatur des In- und Auslandes (“Magazine of Domestic and Foreign Literature”).

[5Zwei Einsame was first published in the November 1901 issue of the Berlin monthly review Stimmen der Gegenwart (“Voices of the Present”).

[6[Die Wanderung was first published in the April 11, 1902 issue of the Viennese daily newspaper Neue Freie Presse.

[7Die Liebe der Erika Ewald was first published in five issues of the Viennese daily newspaper Neue Freie Presse. on September 18, 25 and Oct. 2, 9 and 16, 1904.

[8Der Stern über dem Walde was first published in Berlin in the collection Die Liebe der Erika Ewald (“The Love of Erika Ewald”) by Egon Fleishel & Co. in 1904.

[9Die Wunder des Lebens was first published in Berlin in the collection Die Liebe der Erika Ewald by Egon Fleishel & Co. in 1904.

[10Das Kreuz was first published on January 6, 1906 in the Berlin weekly review Die Nation.

[11Sommernovellette was first published on August 25, 1906 in the Viennese daily newspaper Neue Freie Presse..

[12Die Gouvernante was first published in the December 25, 1907 Christmas literary supplement of the Viennese daily newspaper Neue Freie Presse.

[13Scharlach was first published in the May 1 and June 15, 1908 issues of the Viennese literary periodical Österreichische Rundschau. (“Austrian Review”)

[14Geschichte in der Dämmerung was first published in the May 1908 issues of the Berlin monthly Neue Deutsche Rundschau. (“New German Review”).

[15Geschichte eines Untergangs was first published in the May 1908 edition of the literary periodical Neue Deutsche Rundschau.

[16Brennendes Geheimnis was first published in the collection Erstes Erlebnis published in Leipzig in 1911 by the editor Insel-Verlag.

[17Angst was first published in the daily Viennese newspaper Neue Freie Presse in nine instalments between August 3 and September 21, 1913.

[18Die Mondscheingasse was first published in Stuttgart in the July 1914 edition of the magazine Der Greif.

[19Die Legende der dritten Taube was first published on December 5, 1916 in the Berlin review Der Bildermann.

[20Die Frau und die Landschaft was first published in July 1917 in the review Donauland in Vienna.

[21Der Flüchtling. Episode am Genfer See was first published in July 1919 in the review Modern Welt in Vienna.

[22Der Zwang was first published in July 1919 in the book of the same name by Insel-Verlag in Leipzig.

[23Die Augen des ewigen Bruders. Eine Legende (literally: “The Eyes of the Eternal Brother”) was first published in May 1921 in the Berlin literary monthly Die Neue Rundschau.

[24Brief einer Unbekannten was first published in May and June 1922 in the Berlin literary monthly Die Neue Rundschau.

[25Die phantatische Nacht was first published in May and June 1922 in the Berlin literary monthly Die Neue Rundschau.

[26Amok was first published on May 1, 1908 in the daily Viennese newspaper Neue Freie Presse under the name Der Amokläufer (“The Man Run Amok”). It was republished later that same year as Amok in the collection of the same name by the Leipzig publisher Insel-Verlag, certainly with the permission of the author, and has been known under that name ever since.

[27Die unsichtbare Sammlung was first published in the May 31, 1925 issue of the Viennese daily Neue Freie Presse.

[28Vierundzwanzig Stunden aus dem Leben einer Frau was first published on December 23, 1925 in the Viennese daily newspaper Neue Freie Presse.

[29Rahel rechtet mit Gott was first published in March 1927 in the Berlin quarterly periodical Die Neue Rundschau.

[30Die gleich-ungleichen Schwestern was first published in the April 27, 1927 edition of the Viennese daily newspaper Neue Freie Presse.

[31Die Hochzeit in Lyon was first published in August 1927 issue of the Berlin monthly magazine Uhu.

[32Untergang eines Herzens was first published in 1927 in the collection of stories Verwirrung der Gefühle published by the editor Insel-Verlag in Leipzig.

[33Verwirrung der Gefühle was first published in 1927 in the short-story collection of the same name published by Insel-Verlag in Leipzig.

[34Buchmendel was first published in the November 1st, 2nd and 3rd issues of the Viennese daily newspaper Neue Freie Presse.

[35Leporella was first published in 1929 in the collection Kleine Chronik. Vier Erzählungen. (“Little Chronicle. Four Stories.”) by the editor Insel-Verlag in Leipzig. In that first edition it is dated 1925 (possibly the date of composition), with no other precision.

[36Fragment einer Novelle was published in Vienna in 1929 in a literary publication Der Buch de Gesamtverbandes schaffender Kunstler Österreichs (The Book of the Union of Creative Austrian Writers).
This is a chapter of the story Widerstand der Wirklichkeit (Resistance of Reality), the only one that was published during the author’s lifetime.

[37Unvermutete Bekanntschaft mit einem Handwerk was first published in four instalments in the Viennese daily Neue Freie Presse on May 20, May 27, June 3 and June 17, 1914.

[38Der begrabene Leuchter was first published in 1936 in the collection of stories Kaleidoskop, simultaneously in Leipzig, Vienna and Zurich. It was also published in the Jüdische Rundschau ("Jewish Review") in Berlin on January 19, 1937 (!).

[39Ein Mensch, den man nicht vergißt was first published in English in New York in the October 1939 issue of The Reader’s Digest under the title Anton, Friend of all the World. The Most Unforgettable Character I Ever Met!

[40Die spät bezahlte Schuld was first published in English in June 1941 in the Chicago Sunday Times under the name The Debt. An augmented version was published in Portuguese in 1942 in Rio de Janeiro under the name Divida tardiamente paga, and that augmented version was published in German in the Viennese newspaper Die Presse on September 15, 22, 29 and October 6 and 13, 1951.

[41War er es? was first published in a Portuguese translation under the title Seria ele ? in the collection As três paixões (“The Three Passions”) in Rio de Janeiro in 1942. The original German-language text was first published posthumously in Leipzig in 1987.

[42Schachnovelle was first published in Buenos Aires, Argentina (in German) at the end of 1942.

[43Widerstand der Wirklichkeit was first published posthumously in Frankfort in 1987 by S. Fischer-Verlag in the collection of stories Brennendes Geheimnis.
An extract from the story, the central part in Mexico with some differences, had been published in Vienna in 1929 under the title Fragment einer Novelle (see above).

[44Wondrak is an uncompleted fragment, composed between 1914 and 1916, that was discovered in the author’s papers by the editor Kurt Beck, who added some passages, notably at the end. It was first published in the collection of stories Buchmendel in Leipzig in 1990.