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Beware of Pity (New York Review Books Classics)


Beware of Pity (New York Review Books Classics) Cover

ISBN13: 9781590172001
ISBN10: 1590172000
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"Stefan Zweig was a dark and unorthodox artist; it's good to have him back."--Salman Rushdie

The great Austrian writer Stefan Zweig was a master anatomist of the deceitful heart, and Beware of Pity, the only novel he published during his lifetime, uncovers the seed of selfishness within even the finest of feelings.

Hofmiller, an Austro-Hungarian cavalry officer stationed at the edge of the empire, is invited to a party at the home of a rich local landowner, a world away from the dreary routine of the barracks. The surroundings are glamorous, wine flows freely, and the exhilarated young Hofmiller asks his host's lovely daughter for a dance, only to discover that sickness has left her painfully crippled. It is a minor blunder that will destroy his life, as pity and guilt gradually implicate him in a well-meaning but tragically wrongheaded plot to restore the unhappy invalid to health.

About the Author

STEPHAN ZWEIG (1881-1942) spent his youth studying philosophy and the history of literature in Vienna and belonged to a pan-European cultural circle that included Hugo von Hofmannsthal and Richard Strauss. 1n 1934, under National Socialism, Zweig fled Austria for England, where he authored several novels, short stories, and biographies. In 1941 Zweig and his second wife traveled to Brazil, where they both committed suicide. New York Review Books recently republished his novel, Chess Story, in Fall 2005.

JOAN ACOCELLA is a staff writer for The New Yorker and contributes regularly to the New York Review of Books. Her latest books is Willa Cather and the Politics of Criticism.

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Suffolkgirl, October 14, 2012 (view all comments by Suffolkgirl)
It is 1913 and a poor lowly second lieutenant in the Austro Hungarian army is invited to a dance at the schloss near his garrison. He is aware of the social cachet it will give him with his fellow soldiers. Noticing the daughter of the owner seated at a table he asks her for a dance and discovers to his acute embarrassment that she is disabled. To make amends he spends much of the evening in conversation with her and to his surprise he is invited back for a second visit. From this point Lieutenant Hofmiller is sucked into the family's attempts to mollify the controlling daughter Edith. He has no sense of attraction to the young woman but pity and the rigid sense of duty leave him powerless to escape.
This is a compelling and beautifully crafted novel of emotional blackmail in an era of rigid social codes. The corrosive effects of compassion makes this a novel that never leaves its reader.
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Truman, January 10, 2010 (view all comments by Truman)

The greatest books tell us who we are as mortal individuals, and who
we are as a species. Stefan Zweig's novel is so profound in its originality
and so gracefully written, it has brought new depth to my understanding
of man's responsibilities to man, and the unforeseen consequences of
living up to them.
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Product Details

Acocella, Joan
New York Review of Books
Blewitt, Phyllis
Blewitt, Trevor
Acocella, Joan
Acocella, Joan
Blewitt, Phyllis
Zweig, Stefan
Blewitt, Trevor
Historical - General
World War, 1914-1918
General Fiction
Literature-A to Z
fiction;novel;austria;austrian literature;literature;1930s;austrian;german;german literature;20th century;disability;suicide;literary fiction;stefan zweig
fiction;novel;austria;austrian literature;literature;austrian;1930s;german;20th century;german literature;disability;suicide;wwi;literary fiction;stefan zweig
Edition Description:
Trade paper
New York Review Books Classics
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
7.98x5.04x1.02 in. .85 lbs.

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