Recently he had married a loving woman, nearly thirty years his junior.
And he had chosen of his own free will to leave the United States and take refuge in Brazil, a hospitable nation that had fired his imagination. Why had exile proved so intolerable to Stefan Zweig when other artists drew a new vigor and inspiration from it?
Prochnik notes that Claude Levi-Strauss,. What made [its charm], he wrote, was the way the….
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Vienna, the most fantastical and psychologically fraying. On my last visit, I literally walked into a glass wall: the hotel where I was staying had unexpectedly shut a glass door over the entrance to the dining room. Everyone looked horrified, and no one moved a muscle, even when I stumbled to the floor.
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London can still feel at once utterly cosmopolitan and as closed as a bank after hours: a few years into his exile in England, Zweig wrote to a friend that nowhere in the world made him feel so isolated. Rio still offers a disarmingly extravagant panorama; Zweig likened the city to an open book whose pages you never grew tired of turning.
The Impossible Exile - George Prochnik - - Allen & Unwin - Australia
How can anyone know? It was a tonic reminder of the limits to any literal reconstruction of the past with which historians and biographers must grapple.
Even when objects touched by our subjects do still exist, these individual talismans only carry us a tiny distance into the welter of vanished circumstances informing past lives. The dash and verve of his handwriting in these pages is a perfect counterpoint to the beguiling letterheads from grand hotels, which many of them carry.
*The Impossible Exile: Stefan Zweig at the End of the World*
But the quarry of my travels is an aura, rather than any one particular icon. And, through dense constellations of relics and sensory perceptions, I think we can sometimes trick the atmosphere of another era back into legibility. Wherever I went, I would wander for hours and try to get lost. If I really knew what I was seeking, for my purposes it would be dead on arrival.