Beware of Pity, by Stefan Zweig

The author is Stefan Zweig. I picked up this book after reading Leo Carey’s discussion of him in the New Yorker, and because Beware of Pity was published as an NYRB Classic. I wanted to learn more about Austria in the ‘20s – there was such a concentration of talents: Freud, Mahler, Hayek, Schumpeter, Schiele, Klimt, Wittgenstein, Kraus, Berg, Schoenberg, Popper, Kafka, Rilke, Carnap, and more. So: psychoanalysts, musicians, logicians, satirists, artists all talking with each other.

It’s a book about feelings. There are some vivid descriptions of pity and guilt. And the narrator shares in too great detail his feelings of pride and shame. No surprise that it gets so strong: Zweig’s characters are obsessed with suicide.

Good read if you like the above and if you want to know what Austria was like before the First World War.