Updated: Jul 28
Birth: November 28, 1881, Austria
Death: February 22, 1942, Brazil
Stefan Zweig was born in 1881 in Vienna, Austria. In addition to being a novelist; was also a playwright, journalist and biography writer. His recognition in the world of literature provided with stories like The Burning Secret, Chess, Fear, Amok, Confusion...
I would like to share with you today; Fear by Stefan Zweig.
This is Zweig’s story about the unfaithfulness of a married woman. Irene Wagner, married to a high-ranking judge and the mother of two children, Irene Wagner lives a comfortable upper class life that meets the requirements of bourgeois morality outwardly. In reality, she has an affair with a musician, not out of passion but out of boredom, just to enjoy an adventure... But each time she leaves her lover, she is afraid someone will see her so that her husband may find out she is cheating as she doesn't want to loose her luxurious life. I'm not going to give any more information on this because it would be spoiler. The book is a sweet and short read and the ending to me while being conjecturable and which can be described as an easy way out. Service an significant point about marriage, love and maybe most importantly about men, that I can easily overlook the predictability of the end. Fear is a great psychological drama that ends with an ingenious twist. Stefan Zweig concretizes to me two movements. The last wave of high quality German literature that dominated the literature world and the 20th century wave of writers who were deeply influenced by Psychology , specifically Psychoanalysis.
“Fear is a distorting mirror in which anything can appear as a caricature of itself, stretched to terrible proportions; once inflamed, the imagination pursues the craziest and most unlikely possibilities... What is most absurd suddenly seems the most probable...” /Stefan Zweig
“Toughness is also no less provocative than starvation” /Stefan Zweig
“The extravagance of his clothing, the gypsy way in which he lived, the irregularity of his financial situation, always swinging between extravagance and embarrassment, were alien to her bourgeois mind.” /Stefan Zweig
“All religions are founded on the fear of the many and the cleverness of the few.” /Stefan Zweig
“She had met the young man, a pianist of some renown in what was admittedly still a small circle, at an evening entertainment, and soon, without really meaning to and almost without realising it, she had become his lover. Nothing in her blood had really responded to him, nothing sensual, let alone intellectual, had brought her body together with his; she had given herself to him without needing or really even desiring him very much, out of a certain apathetic lack of resistance to his will, and a kind of restless curiosity. Nothing in her had made taking a lover a necessity to her—neither her desires, which were perfectly well satisfied by marital life, nor the feeling so frequently found in women that their intellectual interests are withering away. She was perfectly happy with a prosperous husband whose intellect was superior to hers, two children, contentedly and even lazily at ease in her comfortable, calm, middle-class existence. But a kind of languor in the air may arouse sensuality just as sultry or stormy weather can, a sense of temperate happiness can be more provocative than outright unhappiness, and for many women their contentment itself proves more disastrous than enduring dissatisfaction in a hopeless situation. Satiety can be as much of an incitement as hunger, and it was the very safety and security of Irene’s existence that made her feel curious and ready for an adventure. There was no opposition anywhere in her life. She met with soft acceptance in all quarters, concern for her well-being, affection, mild love and domestic respect, and without understanding that such moderation of feeling did not arise from anything outside her, but reflected an absence of deeply felt relationships, in some vague way she felt cheated of real life by her own comfort.” /Stefan Zweig