A History of the Stefan Zweig Bibliography

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By Randolph J. Klawiter, presented at the Stefan Zweig Conference which was held at the State University of New York at Fredonia, Fredonia, NY, 1-3 October 2009

The whims of fate can have sweeping effects upon the life of any given individual. I am a good example thereof. In January 1953, I graduated a semester early from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and I immediately enrolled in the Department of History at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Since I was very interested in the history of France, I had hoped ultimately to write my future doctoral dissertation on some aspect of the French Revolution and its effects on our developing nation here in North America. That summer, a friend and I decided to travel by bicycle from Holland down to Italy and back. Thus, when the boat docked in Rotterdam at the end of June, we bought ourselves some sturdy bikes and headed south.

All went extremely well until we arrived in Innsbruck sometime in the middle of July. As fate would have it, the annual Föhn descended upon the area at the same time and for two weeks it rained, night and day. To occupy my time, I went to a local bookstore and asked if there happened to be a new volume on the French Revolution. The lovely young lady behind the counter said that, although there wasn’t any recent volume on the Revolution itself, there was a new edition of Stefan Zweig’s biography of Marie Antoinette. To my shame, I had to admit that I had never even heard of Zweig but I was nevertheless interested in finding out what he had to say about the poor queen who had fallen victim to a hatred and stupidity engendered by fanaticism. With the book tucked inside my jacket, I returned to the youth hostel and during every waking hour for the next two weeks I literally devoured the most fascinating volume that I had ever read. When John and I returned to the University, I transferred my allegiance from the Department of History to the German Department so that - sometime in the future - I could write my doctoral dissertation on some aspect of Zweig and his works.

After I received my M. A. in June 1954, I entered the army and was stationed in Eschwege, Germany, where I functioned as an interpreter in the local American Military Intelligence Unit. Since my work hours were rather limited, I had more than enough free time on my hands during which I read one Zweig volume after another. It was indeed surprising how many Zweig volumes were available in the local bookstore only 12 years after the defeat of Nazism.

In August 1956, I returned to the University of Michigan where I began my doctoral studies in the German Department. I chose Dr. Frank Braun - a truly admirable teacher and a lifelong friend - as my Doktorvater. He agreed that some aspect of Stefan Zweig’s fiction as the underlying theme of my future dissertation was an excellent choice and he suggested that I immediately begin to assemble a basic Zweig bibliography that would eventually be added to my completed dissertation. This I did with wholehearted enthusiasm. Whenever I was not studying or attending some class, or teaching beginning German to some 25 “eager” freshmen, I was in the University Library searching for ever more Zweig references. As we are all well aware, before the 1980s, there was no such thing as a personal computer, with Internet and email capabilities, thus every reference had be found by literally perusing volume after volume of such works as histories of literature, universal encyclopedias, publishers’ books in print in various languages, indices of scholarly articles in print, etc. This was indeed a very time consuming task, added to which was the fact that all of the obtained data had to be written by hand on index cards and then typed and retyped again at a later date [in my case, it was my beloved wife Marilyn who did all of the typing for me, while at the same time caring for our five little children and doing all of the housework]. When I finally submitted my dissertation to Dr. Braun, he informed me that the bibliographic section of some 150 typed pages was far too extensive and he suggested, therefore, that I select entries for some 25 or 30 pages to be included in the dissertation and use the rest as the basis for a future and comprehensive Zweig bibliography. I, of course, followed Dr. Braun’s suggestion and after another five years of intensive research, my first Zweig bibliography appeared in print in 1965 as Number Fifty of the University of North Carolina Studies in the Germanic Languages and Literatures.

Although I continued to read and enjoy Zweig’s fiction, his biographical studies, and his copious essays, I decided that my bibliographic preoccupation with the Master had come to an end and thus I embarked on wholly new forms of scholarly endeavors. In 1967, the University of Notre Dame Press published my annotated translation of Max Dvořák’s Realismus und Naturalismus in der gothischen Skulptur und Malerei [Idealism and Realism in Gothic Art] and then ten years later the Notre Dame Press published my annotated translation of Ulrich von Hutten’s “Expostulatio cum Erasmo” and Erasmus’response “Spongia Erasmi adversus aspergines Hutteni” [The Polemics of Erasmus and Ulrich von Hutten]. During these ten years, I had also written various essays and book reviews while, at the same time, collecting hundreds of xeroxed articles on Ulrich von Hutten, material that was to form the basis of an international Hutten bibliography that I had hoped to publish someday, a bibliography that has never materialized and undoubtedly never will.

At this point, fate intervened once again, this time in the form of a letter I received from Dr. Marion Sonnenfeld, a professor in German here at SUNY Fredonia. In her letter, Marion informed me that a symposium in honor of the centennial of Zweig’s birth was to be held in SUNY Fredonia from 30 March until 2 April 1981 and she asked me if I would be willing to give an update on Zweig’s published works, translations thereof, and scholarly research since the publication of my Zweig bibliography in 1965. With only a slight hesitation, I agreed to her request and after some indeed very intensive bibliographic research, I was able to contribute a lengthy survey of all that had happened in the world of Zweig’s writings and the research dedicated to his life and works between 1965 and 1980 [See: “The State of Zweig Research. An Update” in Stefan Zweig. The World of Yesterday’s Humanist Today. Proceedings of the Stefan Zweig Symposium. Edited by Marion Sonnenfeld. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1983, pp. (324)-340]. The biblio bug had suddenly repenetrated my scholarly blood stream and it is still with me to this very day!

In the early 1980s, when I reentered the Zweig bibliographic arena on a full-time basis, the fundamental research techniques had not significantly changed, although the amount of primary and secondary literature had increased momentously. With the veritable explosion of new literature devoted to Zweig’s life and works - an explosion ignited by the centennial of his birth - there were now literally dozens of new books and articles plus hundreds of footnotes for me to examine in detail from a bibliographer’s perspective. This was indeed a wholly exhausting cause for rejoicing - both mentally and physically.

In addition to this new wealth of material at my disposal, I made the acquaintance of four Zweig colleagues who became my very close friends - three of whom even visited me and my family in our home in South Bend, Indiana. Thanks to the generosity of Knut Beck, the editor of Zweig’s Gesammelte Werke in Einzelbänden, I received a copy of every new Zweig volume published by the S. Fischer Verlag as well as the paperback editions thereof. It was because these volumes were at my command every time I needed them that I began to add extensive pagination data to the entries in my “new” Zweig bibliography. Since Knut’s retirement, his associate, Gisela Behr, has continued to keep me up-to-date on all the new Zweig publications and to her as well I am most grateful.

It was at this time that I became personally acquainted with Donald Prater. Like all other Zweig enthusiasts, I was more than familiar with Donald’s 1972 Zweig biography European of Yesterday as well as its 1981 translation into German and then somewhat later the 1988 translation into French. Over the years I corresponded with Donald on a regular basis and in all of his letters to me he would include new bibliographic tidbits that, as he would modestly say, “might perhaps be of interest to me”. Donald made repeated trips to the States to give lectures or to pursue his own literary research and twice he interrupted his busy schedule to visit us for a few days. Donald was a gentleman in every respect and his sense of humor was contagious. When he died in August 2001, the world was deprived of an admirable scholar and I lost a very dear friend.

During this same period, my Zweig research was responsible for the formation of two more very close friendships - one with Lindi Preuss of Zürich, the person in charge of licensing any and all translations of Zweig’s works throughout the world; the other with Lindi’s associate and close friend Sonja Dobbins, the curator of the Stefan Zweig Archives in London. I cannot even begin to express the gratitude I owe these two wonderful ladies for their constant willingness to come to my assistance in my research, for supplying me with the new translations of Zweig’s works, and for the absolutely delightful times we have shared together in Europe and in my home in Indiana.

And then, early in 1987, fate intervened anew in my more or less well ordered bibliographic life. At that time, the University of Notre Dame began a program called the Faculty Workstation Program through which all faculty members at the University were to be provided with a computer. Each faculty member was given a choice between a Macintosh SE (1 MB of RAM and a 20MB hard drive) or a Zenith PC (640KB of RAM and 20MB hard drive). The Zenith PC had a beautiful 12”, white-on-black screen. The Macintosh had only a 9” screen, but it was a graphical interface that was years ahead of the PC world.

Since I have never been “technologically attuned”, as the saying goes, I definitely did not want to own a computer and have to master and apply all sorts of rules that were all but meaningless to me. My eldest son, David, who is now a computer guru at Notre Dame, assuaged in part my panicky indecision: “Dad, you will get used to your PC and come to love it”. How right he was! Thank heavens, however, that he is always but a phone call away if a problem should arise - which, alas, is more frequent than my pride cares to admit. In any case, I opted for the Zenith PC only because its screen was larger and easier for me to read.

The DOS PC was, however, rather restricted in its capability to display diacritics. The character set was limited to somewhat less that 256 characters at a time, the first half of which was used by the ASCII characters, i.e. the upper and lower cases of the Roman alphabet, numbers and punctuation, along with some codes that were used for a variety of control functions for the screen and printer. The second half of the standard character set, called the Extended ASCII Codes, contained special characters that were used to create much of the user interface for the DOS screen as well as some rudimentary graphics for the screen and printing. After all these codes were allocated space, there was room for only about 33 diacritical characters. As you can well imagine, this did not even come close to providing for the requirements of a project such as the Stefan Zweig bibliography, the 1991 edition of which required 166 unique diacritical characters in its 30 some languages.

My son, David, was my constant default support person for the use of the PC. He found a product called TurboFonts that allowed him to generate custom-made characters for the dot matrix printer that was typical in those early days of computing, along with a screen font that could be used in conjunction with the WordPerfect version 4.2. I was finally able to see and print all the characters that - up to that point - I had spent countless hours correcting by hand on previous draft printouts. Within a year or two, I was about ready to print my camera-ready copy for publication. This had to be done, however, on a laser printer. Thank Heavens, a friend graciously placed at our disposal a new HP LaserJet Series II printer - and at no cost whatsoever. By this time, in mid-1988, WordPerfect 5.0 had been released and so had TurboFonts Plus which supported laser printers. In the summer of 1988, David had moved home in preparation to attend the University of Notre Dame full-time in the fall. During the last month prior to the start of school, we began to print the camera-ready copy. We worked 10 hours a day for 27 days straight, printing a single page at a time. David proofed the page for format and then I proofed the page for content. It was a grueling time, but we worked well together and the end result was a product of which we were both very proud - and rightly so, I might add.

Through the 1990’s I eventually migrated to a Windows workstation and the Windows version of WordPerfect. Its graphical nature was exciting and yet, for me at least, rather intimidating. The two best features of this new version were the ability to work on screen with a true representation of what the final printed page would look like, as well as the greatly expanded font sets with the ability to access most of the diacritical characters that I required for subsequent additions to the Zweig bibliography. There were still many characters missing, however, but after several years the Windows and WordPerfect systems eventually supported Unicode fonts and thus these issues completely disappeared.

Another fantastic advantage of a personal computer is its instantaneous e-mail capability. For years and years, I had to rely on the regular postal system which, although reliable, required infinite patience. To receive a reply from some university library here in the States could take as long as two weeks, whereas for a response from our colleagues abroad I would have to reckon with between one and two months - assuming, of course, that my request for assistance had not been misplaced somewhere en route to its ultimate destination. And then, miracle of miracles, I had at my disposal a mailing system that requires a mere few seconds to travel anywhere in the world and should naught to the contrary intervene, I can receive a response within a few hours, a day or two at most. Since the late 1980s I have sent literally hundreds and hundreds of e-mail letters throughout the world and not only has my bibliographic data increased by leaps and bounds, but in the process I have likewise made many good personal friends with whom I am in frequent contact - here in the States and in Europe, in Asia and India, in Mexico and South America - and the ability to be in all but instant contact with Zweig scholars around the globe is a glorious blessing that was not even imaginable to me some 25 years ago. And for this, too, I am in a very real sense indebted to son Dave - “Dad, you will come to love the computer”. How right he was!

Soon after the publication of the first addendum to the Zweig bibliography in 1999, David began to talk about alternate means for publishing the next volume. The World Wide Web was changing the way we accessed information and it seemed like the appropriate medium for publication of information of this sort. Through the late 1990s and the first couple of years of the next decade, David was focused on the new Google search engine and the results it produced. He envisioned this type of search result for the bibliography and, although he discussed his ideas with various librarians at the University of Notre Dame who were interested in the concept, he never got enough traction to make significant progress. He also investigated various database programs that claimed to be suitable for this type of material. The final answer, however, would come several years later.

In late 2008, David was a volunteer system administrator for the AFS Intercultural Programs, a high school foreign exchange organization that was building a Wiki system to disseminate information to the 5000 volunteers throughout the United States. As he became more familiar with the Wiki system and how it functioned, he was suddenly struck by the realization that the Wiki was indeed the answer to his long-standing desire to publish bibliographic information on a worldwide scale. In the first few weeks in December 2008, David assembled a prototype Wiki with a few entries from the bibliographic material I am currently collecting.

As with any change in technology, I was resistant to this new idea. I focused on what didn’t work as I had expected it to do, and he kept coming back with solutions to issues that I would raise. There were some rather tense discussions at times, since David seems to have lost some of the patience that he had 20 years earlier. He kept at it, however, and began to enter more and more of the material into this Wiki format. Eventually, it showed so much promise that even I was won over to David’s version.

Right from the start, in December 2008, David maintained that the most pressing task would be to find a permanent home for the Zweig Wiki. While the prototype was working and fully accessible on a workstation in his office, this was not a long-term solution. It had to have a home in some library collection that - over the years to come - would sustain it with all the care that is given to any other electronic asset at that particular institution. While the University of Notre Dame might seem like a logical place, there were surely other places that were more appropriate, as forinstance the Reed Library with its Stefan Zweig Collection. David left it to me to make that determination as well as the initial queries with my contacts in the field.

Fredonia expressed an interest in housing the online resource and David was, therefore, put in contact with Jonathan Woolson, a systems administrator here at Fedonia and they worked together to put the Zweig bibliography online.

The migration of information from WordPerfect to the Wiki format is not as simple as cut-and-paste. There are many forms of conversion that have to be performed, but one of the major assets of this system is that MediaWiki, the underlying engine of the Zweig Wiki, automatically supports Unicode. This is an outstanding advantage when compared with the years spent attempting to produce simple characters that are needed to properly represent any given citation.

Countless hours have been spent in various technological efforts to produce what one can view online today, yet this is but the tip of the iceberg. Information continues to be generated on a daily basis and, despite the fact that it will not be possible to make this site an absolutely comprehensive catalog of all the works by and about Zweig, it will nonetheless provide a solid foundation for generations of researchers yet to come. Although the Wiki site is now housed in the perfect place, it is nonetheless to be hoped that - in the near future - some new bibliographer will come forth who shares the same enthusiasm and attention to detail that have motivated me for the past 50 years.


ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange

DOS = Disk Operating System [A system that relies on disk memory]

HP = Hewlett Packard

KB = Kilobyte = 1000 bytes

MB = Megabyte = a million bytes

PC = Personal Computer

RAM = Random Access Memory [A computer memory system]

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