Confusion by Stefan Zweig

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An NYRB Classics Original

Stefan Zweig was particularly drawn to the novella, and Confusion, a rigorous and yet transporting dramatization of the conflict between the heart and the mind, is among his supreme achievements in the form.

A young man who is rapidly going to the dogs in Berlin is packed off by his father to a university in a sleepy provincial town. There a brilliant lecture awakens in him a wild passion for learning—as well as a peculiarly intense fascination with the graying professor who gave the talk. The student grows close to the professor, be­coming a regular visitor to the apartment he shares with his much younger wife. He takes it upon himself to urge his teacher to finish the great work of scholarship that he has been laboring at for years and even offers to help him in any way he can. The professor welcomes the young man’s attentions, at least on some days. On others, he rages without apparent reason or turns away from his disciple with cold scorn. The young man is baffled, wounded. He cannot understand.

But the wife understands. She understands perfectly. And one way or another she will help him to understand too.

About Stefan Zweig

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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.
Published July 25, 2012 by NYRB Classics. 177 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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