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Stefan Zweig (1881 – 1942)


Austrian novelist, playwright, journalist and biographer.
Stefan Zweig
Malice is always lucky.
Zweig quotes
In times of exceptional stress, nature will often give people's behavior so tragical a complexion that neither a picture nor a verbal description is competent to represent its titanic energy.
Zweig
And I said to myself: From now on help anyone and everyone so far as it lies within your power. Cease to be apathetic, indifferent! Exalt yourself by devoting yourself to others, enrich yourself by making everyone's destiny your own, by enduring and understanding every facet of human suffering through your pity. And my heart, astonished at its own workings, quivered with gratitude to the sick girl whom I had hurt unwittingly and who, through her suffering, had taught me the creative magic of pity.




Zweig Stefan quotes
Pain is a coward. He flees when faced by the irresistible power of the will-to-live, which is more strongly rooted in the flesh than the intensest passion is rooted in the spirit.
Zweig Stefan
England rose before our eyes; the island girdled by the stormy waters in which all the continents of the globe are laved. In that sea-girt isle, the ocean holds sway. The cold and clear gaze of the watery element is reflected in the eyes of the inhabitants. Every one of the dwellers in that land is one of the sea-folk, is himself an island. The storms and dangers of the sea have left their mark, and live on to-day in these English, whose ancestors for centuries were vikings and sea-raiders. Now peace broods over the isle. But the dwellers therein, used to storms, crave for the lie of the sea with its daily perils. When it is denied them, they create its stormy likeness for themselves in blood-sports. They build wooden lists for beast-baiting. The voluptuous horror of the spectators is stimulated in bestial fashion by watching cock-fights or by looking on while bears are torn by dogs. Soon here is a demand for a loftier tension of the senses, such as can be derived from the spectacle of heroic human conflicts. Thus there grows out of the medieval religious mysteries, the great drama of human effort, in which the adventures and the voyages of earlier days are depicted - voyages no longer sailed on a real sea, but on the inner sea of man's feelings. A new infinity, another ocean with spring tides of passion and an uprush of the spirit; a determination to steer a course through the waters on which heretofore they were driven at the mercy of winds and waves - such are the new longings of the late-born and vigorous Anglo-Saxon race. Such is the origin of the Elizabethan drama.
Stefan Zweig quotes
Why is it that the stupidest people are always the most good-natured?
Stefan Zweig
It is never until one realizes that one means something to others that one feels there is any point or purpose in one's own existence.
Zweig Stefan quotes
It is only at first that pity, like morphine, is a solace to the invalid, a remedy, a drug, but unless you know the correct dosage and when to stop, it becomes a virulent poison. The first few injections do good, they soothe, they deaden the pain. But the devil of it is that the organism, the body, just like the soul, has an uncanny capacity for adaptation. Just as the nervous system cries out for more and more morphine, so do the emotions cry out for more and more pity, in the end more than one can give. Inevitably there comes a moment when one has to say 'no', and then one must not mind the other person's hating one more for this ultimate refusal than if one had never helped him at all. Yes, my dear Lieutenant, one has got to keep one's pity properly in check, or it does far more harm than any amount of indifference we doctors know that, and so do judges and myrmidons of the law and pawn-brokers; if they were all to give way to their pity, this world of ours would stand still - a dangerous thing pity, a dangerous thing!
Zweig
It is not the healthy, the confident, the proud, the joyous, the happy, that one must love - they have no need of one's love! Arrogant and indifferent, they accept love only as homage that is theirs to command, as their due. The devotion of another is to them a mere embellishment, an ornament for the hair, a bracelet on the arm, not the whole meaning and bliss of their lives. Only those with whom life has dealt hardly, the wretched, the slighted, the uncertain, the unlovely, the humiliated, could really be helped by love. He who devotes his life to them atones to them for what life has taken from them. They alone know how to love and be loved as one should love - gratefully and humbly.
Zweig Stefan
The instinct for self-deception in human beings makes them try to banish from their minds dangers of which at bottom they are perfectly aware by declaring them non-existent.
Stefan Zweig
The heart is able to bury deep and well what is urgently desires to forget.




Stefan Zweig quotes
The only respect in which man is superior to animals is that he can die when he wants to, not just when he has to. Maybe it's the one freedom you can always count on the freedom to throw your life away.
Stefan Zweig
The subject of a rumor is always the last to hear it.
Zweig quotes
Our decisions are to a much greater extent dependent on our desire to conform to the standards of our class and environment than we are inclined to admit. A considerable proportion of our reasoning is merely an automatic function, so to speak, of influences and impressions which have become part of us, and anyone who has been brought up from childhood in the stern school of military discipline is particularly apt to succumb to the hypnotic and compulsive force exercised by an order of word of command; a force which is logically entirely incomprehensible and which irresistibly undermines his will. In the straitjacket of a uniform, even though fully aware of their absurdity, an officer will carry out his instructions lie a sleep-walker, unresistingly and almost unconsciously.
Zweig Stefan
The dressmaker doesn't have problems unless the dress has to hide rather than reveal.
Zweig Stefan quotes
If you are going to sell yourself, you should at least get a good price.
Stefan Zweig
Gratitude is a rare frame of mind; and those who are grateful can seldom find a way to express what they feel. They are overwhelmed by silence; are shamefaced; and, sometimes, actually try to hide their feelings.
Stefan Zweig quotes
Adultery is in most cases a theft in the dark. At such moments almost every woman betrays her husband's innermost secrets; becomes a Delilah who discloses to a stranger, discloses to her lover, the mysteries of her husband's strength or weakness. What seems to me treason is, not that women give themselves, but that a woman is prone, when she does so, to justify herself to herself by uncovering her husband's nakedness, exposing it to the inquisitive and scornful gaze of a stranger.
Stefan Zweig
No guilt is forgotten so long as the conscience still knows of it.
Zweig Stefan
There's an inherent limit to the stress that any material can bear. Water has its boiling point, metals their melting points. The elements of the spirit behave the same way. Happiness can reach a pitch so great that any further happiness can't be felt. Pain, despair, humiliation, disgust, and fear are no different. Once the vessel is full, the world can't add to it.


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