Stefan Zweig


Austrian Author, Novelist, Playwright, Journalist and Biographer

Author Quotes

As I walked home I noticed all of a sudden in front of me my own shadow as I saw the shadow of another war behind the current one. He is gone through all this time not by me this shadow hanging over my every thought he day and night may be dark outline is also on some pages of this book. But every shadow is in the past but also a child of light; and only those who climb light and dark war and peace, and fall out of the only truly lived.

For I regard memory not as a phenomenon preserving one thing and losing another merely by chance, but as a power that deliberately places events in order or wisely omits them. Everything we forget about our own lives was really condemned to oblivion by an inner instinct long ago.

In history as in human life, regret does not bring back a lost moment and a thousand years will not recover something lost in a single hour.

No guilt is forgotten so long as the conscience still knows of it.

The life of our generation is now set. We do not have the power to influence the flow of events, and no right to offer advice to the next generation.

Whatever a woman's reason may say, her feelings tell her the truth.

Being sent to bed is a terrible command to all children, because it means the most public possible humiliation in front of adults, the confession that they bear the stigma of childhood, of being small and having a child's need for sleep.

For the more a man limits himself, the nearer he is on the other hand to what is limitless; it is precisely those who are apparently aloof from the world who build for themselves a remarkable and thoroughly individual world in miniature, using their own special equipment, hermit-like.

In history, the moments during which reason and reconciliation prevail are short and fleeting.

Nothing is quite as splendidly uplifting to the heart as the defeat of a human being who battles against the invincible superiority of fate. This is always the most grandiose of all tragedies, one sometimes created by a dramatist but created thousands of times by life.

The organic fundamental error of humanism was that it desired to educate the common people (on whom it looked down) from its lofty stance instead of trying to understand them and to learn from them.

When it looks at great accomplishments, the world, bent on simplifying its images, likes best to look at the dramatic, picturesque moments experienced by its heroes.... But the no less creative years of preparation remain in the shadow.

Besides, isn't it confoundedly easy to think you're a great man if you aren't burdened with the slightest idea that Rembrandt, Beethoven, Dante or Napoleon ever lived?

For this quiet, unprepossessing, passive man who has no garden in front of his subsidized flat, books are like flowers. He loves to line them up on the shelf in multicolored rows: he watches over each of them with an old-fashioned gardener's delight, holds them like fragile objects in his thin, bloodless hands.

In some mysterious way, once one has gained an insight into human nature, that insight grows from day to day, and he to whom it has given to experience vicariously even one single form of earthly suffering acquires, by reason of this tragic lesson, an understanding of all its forms, even those most foreign to him, and apparently abnormal.

Nothing that has ever been thought and said with a clear mind and pure ethical strength is totally in vain; even if it comes from a weak hand and is imperfectly formed, it inspires the ethical spirit to constantly renewed creation.

The soul is made of stuff so mysteriously elastic that a single event can make it big enough to contain the infinite.

When one does another person an injustice, in some mysterious way it does one good to discover (or to persuade oneself) that the injured party has also behaved badly or unfairly in some little matter or other; it is always a relief to the conscience if one can apportion some measure of guilt to the person one has betrayed.

But everyone is in the shade but also the last child of the light, and find out just who is light and dark, war and peace, rise and fall, but has truly lived.

Freedom is not possible without authority - otherwise it would turn into chaos and authority is not possible without freedom - otherwise it would turn into tyranny.

In this instant, shaken to her very depths, this ecstatic human being has a first inkling that the soul is made of stuff so mysteriously elastic that a single event can make it big enough to contain the infinite.

Nothing whets the intelligence more than a passionate suspicion; nothing develops all the faculties of an immature mind more than a trail running away into the dark.

The strength of a love is always misjudged if we evaluate it by its immediate cause and not the stress that went before it, the dark and hollow space full of disappointment and loneliness that precedes all the great events in the heart's history.

When they are preparing for war, those who rule by force speak most copiously about peace until they have completed the mobilization process.

But often the presence of mind and energy of a person remote from the spotlight decide the course of history for centuries to come.

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Austrian Author, Novelist, Playwright, Journalist and Biographer