Zweig, who was born in Vienna on November 28, 1881, was always involved in cultural activities due to his father’s elite circle. From a young age, he took language, literature, and culture lessons, learning English, French, Italian, Latin, and Greek. Later in life, he also engaged in translation activities.
He was greatly influenced by the cultural environment he grew up in during his early years, and devoted himself to art and literature. In addition to the stories we know him for, he wrote biographies, plays, and was interested in journalism.
My first encounter with Zweig was through the translation of “Letter from an Unknown Woman” by Ahmet Cemal. I read his other books in sequence, including “The Royal Game,” “Amok,” “Burning Secret,” and others.
The quotes I’ve listed below are my favorite sentences, underlined by me as a good Zweig reader, arranged in the order I read them.
1) “Who are you to me, who never, never knew me, who passed by me like a puddle, stepped on me like a stone, always, always continuing on your way, leaving me in infinite waiting?”
Stefan Zweig, Letter from an Unknown Woman
2) “Nothing was done to us, we were simply thrown into a complete emptiness, for as is known, nothing in the world can oppress the human soul as much as emptiness.”
Stefan Zweig, The Royal Game
3) “Among thousands of laughing, chatting people, I was looking for that lost person within myself.”
Stefan Zweig, Fantastic Night
4) “To leave! To leave! To leave this city, to distance myself from myself, to go back home, to the people I belong to, to my old life!”
Stefan Zweig, Twenty-Four Hours in the Life of a Woman,
5) “Can a single word extinguish the infinite fire that burns in one’s heart?”
Stefan Zweig, Fear
6) “If there is a hell, I am not afraid of it, because it cannot be worse than the hours I spend from morning till night.”
Stefan Zweig, Amok
7) “The pre-love excitement that is seen in all great affairs of the heart is the dark, deep pit of disappointments and loneliness.”
Stefan Zweig, Burning Secret
8) “Laughing is the happy and free expression of emotion.”
Stefan Zweig, Moonbeam Alley
9) ”Here, don’t you see the meaninglessness when you look at the other side, at the war from the midst of peace?”
Stefan Zweig, Compulsion
10) “He couldn’t figure out what to do; everything inside him had gone silent, the meaningful music of his heart had died like a music box with a lost key.”
Stefan Zweig, The Post Office Girl