Montaigne

Front Cover
Pushkin Press, Aug 13, 2015 - Biography & Autobiography - 160 pages
0 Reviews

Zweig's highly personal last work, written during the Second World War-a biography of his hero, Michel de Montaigne, and a passionate argument for humanity in times of barbarity

'He who thinks freely for himself, honours all freedom on earth.'

Stefan Zweig was already an émigré - driven from a Europe torn apart by brutality and totalitarianism - when he found, in a damp cellar, a copy of Michel de Montaigne's Essais. Montaigne would become Zweig's last great occupation, helping him make sense of his own life and his obsessions - with personal freedom, with the sanctity of the individual. Through his writings on suicide, he would also, finally, lead Zweig to his death.

With the intense psychological acuity and elegant prose so characteristic of Zweig's fiction, this account of Montaigne's life asks how we ought to think, and how to live. It is an intense and wonderful insight into both subject and biographer.

Stefan Zweig was born in 1881 in Vienna, into a wealthy Austrian-Jewish family. He studied in Berlin and Vienna and was first known as a poet and translator, then as a biographer. Between the wars, Zweig was an international bestseller with a string of hugely popular novellas including Letter from an Unknown Woman, Amok and Fear. In 1934, with the rise of Nazism, he left Austria, and lived in London, Bath and New York - a period during which he produced his most celebrated works: his only novel, Beware of Pity, and his memoir, The World of Yesterday. He eventually settled in Brazil, where in 1942 he and his wife were found dead in an apparent double suicide. Much of his work is available from Pushkin Press.

What people are saying - Write a review

Montaigne

User Review  - Publishers Weekly

In the autumn of 1941, Zweig, a bestselling Austrian-Jewish novelist and biographer who had fled to Brazil to escape the Nazis, discovered a copy of Michel de Montaigne's Essays in a basement of his ... Read full review

Other editions - View all

About the author (2015)

Stefan Zweig was one of the most popular and widely translated writers of the early twentieth century. Born into an Austrian-Jewish family in 1881, he became a leading figure in Vienna's cosmopolitan cultural world and was famed for his gripping novellas and vivid psychological biographies.

In 1934, following the Nazis' rise to power, Zweig fled Austria, first for England, where he wrote his famous novel Beware of Pity, then the United States and finally Brazil. It was here that he completed his acclaimed autobiography The World of Yesterday, a lament for the golden age of a Europe destroyed by two world wars. The articles and speeches in Messages from a Lost World were written as Zweig, a pacifist and internationalist, witnessed this destruction and warned of the threat to his beloved Europe. On 23 February 1942, Zweig and his second wife Lotte were found dead, following an apparent double suicide.

Will Stone is a prize-winning poet, translator and essayist. His translations include works by Roth, Rilke, Trakl and Verhaeren. He also contributes reviews and essays to the TLS, The London Magazine and Poetry Review. His translation of Zweig’s Montaigne is also available from Pushkin Press.

Bibliographic information