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Stefan Zweig’s Clinical Biography, 1930–1932

  • T. Lawrence LarkinEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter treats with the origins, research process, and argumentative development of Stefan Zweig’s Marie Antoinette: Bildnis eines mittleren Charakters (Marie Antoinette: The Portrait of an Average Woman) of 1932. It begins by situating Zweig’s biographical output of the late 1920s in relation to contemporaneous trends in psychological biography and French Revolutionary history. It then discusses the author’s dual scenario of a Dauphine’s unfulfilled sexual longings subsumed in extravagant amusements at court and a queen’s belated assumption of official obligations, culminating in self-actualization through suffering and then acceptance of fate during the most radical phase of the Revolution. The essay further considers the contradictions inherent in the author’s determination to avoid a direct statement against the rise of fascism in Germany and forward a message of “inward hope” constitutive of passive acceptance of fate. Finally, it addresses the book’s enormous appeal to the public despite a mixed reception by critics.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Art History, School of ArtMontana State UniversityBozemanUSA

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