Live and let dieBMJ 2007; 335 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39289.491343.59 (Published 13 September 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:567
- Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor
Stefan Zweig was an Austrian writer who was a close friend of Freud's. He occupies more or less the same place in German letters as the literary doctor Somerset Maugham in British—that is to say, he is viewed with suspicion by the literati because, although brilliantly intelligent and immensely cultivated, what he wrote was so intensely readable. To be really great, at least nowadays, you have to be difficult to understand.
Like Somerset Maugham he wrote short stories and novellas in which the most intense passion is described with almost clinical detachment. Like Maugham, Zweig understood that human nature was best examined in the petri dish of marginality and social isolation. Like Maugham, he is able to conjure …