New Stefan Zweig

Everyone other than Michael Hofmann owes NYRB Classics a debt of gratitude for bringing to much of Stefan Zweig’s writing into print in English. The latest is Journey Into the Past. Reviewed here:

The latest novella available to English-speaking readers, Journey Into the Past—found among Zweig’s papers after his death and now published by New York Review Books Classics in a masterly translation by Andrea Bell and with an introduction by André Aciman—is no exception. This dissection of an unconsummated love affair is bleakly affecting, its nuanced sadness leavened by a belief in an eternal, idealized romantic love that contemporary readers might justifiably envy, just as Zweig envied his father’s faith in the inevitability of world peace.

I’m intrigued to see what Aciman made of this book. He knows a thing or two about love affairs, consummated and otherwise.

AA: One cannot “explain” or “justify” sexual attraction. To use a cliché: it is what it is. Part of the creative process seeks to provide something that comes close to being an answer to the question: Why am I attracted? Why do I crave? Why do I want? Writing is a way not even of providing answers, but of beginning the process that may ultimately lead to a repetition of the situation when desire first sprouted, a way of going back to the “source.”

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Scott – have you read CHESS STORY? Your thoughts?


The Surrender is Veronica Scott Esposito’s “collection of facts” concerning how she embraced her true gender.


Two long essays of 10,000 words each on sex in—and out of—literature . . .

The first essay dives in to Nicholson Baker’s “sex trilogy,” explaining just what Baker is up to here and why these books ultimately fail to be as sexy as Baker might wish.

From there the book moves on to the second essay, which explains just why Spaniard Javier Marías does right what Baker does wrong . . .


5 essays. 2 interviews.

All in all, over 25,000 words of Latin American literary goodness.

3 never-before-published essays, including “The Digression”—a 4,000-word piece on the most important digression in César Aira’s career.

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