Beware of Pity
Beware of Pity
By Stefan Zweig
Translated by Phyllis & Trevor Blewitt
Introduction by Joan Acocella
"Beware of Pity, his first venture in longer fiction, is original and powerful work . . . Zweig has chronicled a hopeless and tragic relationship in a manner that so holds the reader as never to dispirit him, telling a story full of psychological pitfalls that only an experienced writer, and an experienced human being could dare to attempt . . . Zweig remains, after Beware of Pity, what he seemed to be–in his novelettes and biographies–before he wrote it: a brilliant writer."—The New York Times
The great Austrian writer Stefan Zweig was a master anatomist of the deceitful heart, and Beware of Pity, the only novel he published during his lifetime, uncovers the seed of selfishness within even the finest of feelings.
Hofmiller, an Austro-Hungarian cavalry officer stationed at the edge of the empire, is invited to a party at the home of a rich local landowner, a world away from the dreary routine of the barracks. The surroundings are glamorous, wine flows freely, and the exhilarated young Hofmiller asks his host's lovely daughter for a dance, only to discover that sickness has left her painfully crippled. It is a minor blunder that will destroy his life, as pity and guilt gradually implicate him in a well-meaning but tragically wrongheaded plot to restore the unhappy invalid to health.
NYRB Classics, 2006
Originally published in 1939
5 x 1 x 8 inches