Academic journal article German Quarterly

Stefan Zweig--Schriftsteller und literarischer Agent: Die Beziehungen zu seinen deutschsprachigen Verlegern (1901-1942)

Academic journal article German Quarterly

Stefan Zweig--Schriftsteller und literarischer Agent: Die Beziehungen zu seinen deutschsprachigen Verlegern (1901-1942)

Article excerpt

Buchinger, Susanne. Stefan Zweig-- Schriftsteller and literarischer Agent: Die Beziehungen zu seinen deutschsprachigen Verlegern (1901-1942). Frankfurt am Main: Buchhandler-Vereinigung, 1998. 411 pp. DM 168.00.

To call Stefan Zweig a "literarischer Agent" is reductive, misleading, and semantically unjustifiable. It is not clear what prompted Buchinger to change the title of her 1996 Mainz dissertation from Stefan Zweig-Schriftsteller, Vermittler and literarischer Berater: Eine Untersuchung der Beziehungen zu seinen deutschsprachigen Verlegern, but this lapse in good judgment is the only flaw in a magisterial study. This reviewer gratefully acknowledges that it is the ultimate expansion and validation of his unpublished Harvard dissertation "Stefan Zweig as a Mediator in Modern European Literature" (1952). The author has made intensive and skillful use of hitherto unpublished or otherwise inaccessible letters from and to the Austrian writer. As she presents him in his full stature as a "Mittler and Forderer der neueren europaischen Literatur" and "Integrationsfigur des europaischen Geisteslebens," she makes an important contribution not only to literary history but also to Verlags-, Rezeptionsund Zeitgeschichte. In addition, this book is a treasure trove of reliable information on writers and book illustrators whom Zweig befriended and promoted for publication: Frans Masereel, Romain Rolland, Felix Braun, Emile Verhaeren, Richard Friedenthal, Joseph Roth, and Walter Bauer-to mention only a few.

Buchinger offers valuable information on Zweig's early publishers, Schuster & Loeffler and Egon Fleischel. In 1901 the first house brought out Zweig's first collection of poetry, Silberne Saiten, and the author's first group of Jugendstil novellas, Die Liebe der Erika Ewald, was issued by Fleischel in 1904. Buchinger regards Zweig's Verlaine anthology, published by Schuster & Loeffler in 1902, as "ein Beweis dafur', daB die erstmals erprobte [...] Tatigkeit des Initiierens, Organisierens and Redigierens seinem konzilianten Temperament and vermittelnden Wesen ausgezeichnet entsprach."

The author properly gives pride of place to Zweig's long relationship with the renowned Insel-Verlag and the "Herr der Insel," Anton Kippenberg. This relationship, from 1906 to 1933, bore rich literary and human fruit, but it was not always harmonious. There was a lively rivalry between Zweig and Kippenberg, who were both collectors (the latter especially of Goetheana). Zweig was not only one of the most prominent Insel authors, but also the publisher's foremost literary advisor. Buchinger provides impressive evidence that Zweig was the creator of the famed Insel-Bucherei (though Kippenberg later took credit for it) and also the inspirer and in some cases even manager of such series as Bibliotheca Mundi, Orbis Litterarum, Pandora, and Libri Librorum. …

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