British Library experts discuss Austrian writer Stefan Zweig

Stefan Zweig

In February 2017 the Barbican Centre staged Stefan Zweig’s play Beware of Pity (Ungeduld des Herzens) in a new production by Complicite, under director Simon McBurney, with the Schaubühne Berlin ensemble. In an interview for Complicite’s YouTube channel, Pardaad and Susan share their perspectives on Zweig’s significance today.

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Pardaad Chamsaz is completing a PhD at the Library under the AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnerships programme. His research is co-supervised by Susan Reed, Lead Curator for Germanic Collections at the British Library, and Dr Steffan Davies, Senior Lecturer in German at the University of Bristol.

Central to the project is the British Library’s Stefan Zweig Collection of musical and literary manuscripts, which contains over 200 items – drafts, proofs, scores, sketches – spanning 500 years of European culture. The prestige of the collection, donated to the library in 1986, is underlined by the presence of work by Beethoven, Mozart, Goethe, Kleist, Balzac, Wagner, Nietzsche, Dostoevsky, and Freud, to only name a selection.

Pardaad explains: “My work primarily seeks to understand the relationship between the collection and the writings of Stefan Zweig, situating collecting at the heart of his literary concerns. I am interested in his ideas around creativity and genius, and in how these categories mesh with concepts of authorship. My contention is that Zweig’s essays on manuscript collecting reveal ideas that recall more recent theories of re-writing, revision and genetic criticism, reframing Zweig’s work in a modern context more open to the author-figure.”

Read more about Pardaad’s research.

Stefan Zweig: The Magic of Manuscripts

Alongside his research, Pardaad has contributed to the digitisation of the literary manuscripts in the Zweig Collection, which has resulted in a new printed catalogue.

In addition, to mark the 75th anniversary of Zweig’s death, treasures from his collection are on display in the Library’s Treasures Gallery from 21 February to 11 June 2017. They include original manuscripts of Marie Antoinette, Schubert and Oscar Wilde, and drawings by Goethe.

The display is accompanied by two related events on 20 March 2017: Stefan Zweig: European, Humanist, Collector and Music and poetry from the Zweig Collection

Watch the interview with Susan and Pardaad here:

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