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By Stefan Zweig

The nice Austrian author Stefan Zweig used to be a grasp anatomist of the deceitful center, and watch out for Pity, the one novel he released in the course of his lifetime, uncovers the seed of selfishness inside of even the best of feelings.

Hofmiller, an Austro-Hungarian cavalry officer stationed on the fringe of the empire, is invited to a celebration on the domestic of a wealthy neighborhood landowner, an international clear of the dreary regimen of the barracks. the environment are glamorous, wine flows freely, and the exhilarated younger Hofmiller asks his host's gorgeous daughter for a dance, simply to find that disease has left her painfully crippled. it's a minor blunder that might smash his lifestyles, as pity and guilt steadily implicate him in a well-meaning yet tragically wrongheaded plot to revive the sorrowful invalid to health.

"Stefan Zweig was once a depressing and unorthodox artist; it's sturdy to have him back."--Salman Rushdie

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Sample text

But she cannot have both. Kate has failed the tests that Densher has devised for her, and apparently she now finds herself back where she started: having to choose between love and money. But will Densher be able to carry out his grand gesture? Will he be able to resist Kate舗s stronger will and her greater capacity for life? Densher is the quintessential loser thrust into circumstances he does not fully understand. James still has sympathy for Densher even if this troubled soul舗s spiritual transformation falls short.

The idea, reduced to its essence, is that of a young person conscious of a great capacity for life, but early stricken and doomed, condemned to die under short respite, while also enamoured of the world; aware moreover of the condemnation and passionately desiring to 舡put in舡 before extinction as many of the finer vibrations as possible, and so achieve, however briefly and brokenly, the sense of having lived. 1 The image so figured would be, at best, but half the matter; the rest would be all the picture of the struggle involved, the adventure brought about, the gain recorded or the loss incurred, the precious experience somehow compassed.

Densher is the quintessential loser thrust into circumstances he does not fully understand. James still has sympathy for Densher even if this troubled soul舗s spiritual transformation falls short. Densher, in his moral confusions and hesitations, is truer to life and more credible without the full moral awakening. Though polarities of good and evil are often implied in the novel, James endows his characters with a mixture of motives and with nuanced qualities that prevent us from making easy moral judgments.

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