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Stefan Zweig (1881-1942) he believed that the great enigma of life was the birth of the art, that magic. It was a song that I obsessed over: the ability of a human being to give light and beauty where before there was nothing, an immortal beauty able to shake the spirits from different eras. That’s why he loved to dive into the creative process, to study the changes that such or such a genius that he had done in his great book, analyze the ink, to bask in the scrolls of his handwriting or his staff. For him, the only way to decipher the enigma of the art was to follow the method of detective, trying to reconstruct the facts, look for primary materials, return to the scene of the crime, ask the evidence. To Zweig, no doubt, he was interested in the manuscripts up to unsuspected levels. The started collecting very young, and in high school, and remained his hobby until the end of his days. The calling for, the bought it, they were to be found. Notebooks, galeradas, loose pages, sheet music. Any thing as long as the pen outside illustrious and serve to enrich your treasure letraherido.

One of the pages of “The crown of Hungary and the unjust vengeance”, with the signature of Lope at the end – British Library

With a method obsessive and stubborn and effective, the author of “The world of yesterday” ended up putting together something more than a thousand jewelry autographed, which include, to mention a few, pieces of Baudelaire, Beethoven, Da Vinci, Napoleon, Oscar Wilde or Walt Whitman. The variety was their hallmark. In your file the same thing you were on a page manuscript of Kafka’s novel “America” as a work of theater of Lope de Vega, in his own letter (“The crown of Hungary and the unjust revenge”) or a letter of David Hume, speaking of Rousseau. This collection, of course, was affected by the random existence of Zweig. The rise of nazism and the need to escape led him to sell many of its materials, or to donate them to various institutions, and the passage of time has done nothing but separate you more and more all he met in life. Until now. The Literaturarchiv Salzburg has followed in the footsteps of their belongings and, for the first time, has gathered and classified on the web, of free access, where in addition you can see many of the facsimiles of these documents.

“We found 95% of his collection,” says ABC Oliver Matuschek , specialist in Zweig and a member of this project. In his opinion, the value of this work is that it has recovered a very important aspect of this refined viennese. “The collecting was much more than a hobby for him. The biography of Zweig is clearly reflected in the collection: the early days as a young poet, the commercial success of their books, that allow for significant purchases, and finally the time as an exile, that reduced their material possessions and limited to what is essential,” he summarizes.

Matuschek highlights several pieces from this set. For a start, three scores of Handel which today still remain as manuscripts most rare on the market. Or the page of the novel of Kafka, which today has an incalculable value, but that he came out for free, since it gave Max Brod (friend of both) in 1937. Also the more than twenty manuscripts of Mozart, the ten of Goethe, the drawing of Da Vinci, or the fragments of Balzac. “It is very difficult to say what is the best relic. I think that the most fascinating aspect of the file is the total amount of documents you have. And, at the same time, the quality of the autographs that Zweig was able to find and purchase,” he says.

Fragment of one of the manuscripts of “Faust”, Goethe – British Library

Zweig scouring the bookshops of Paris and Berlin in search of new acquisitions, and he used to send a representative to the great auction in Sotheby’s in London, to take a look. In her many travels was to keep abreast of the market, talking with dealers and collectors. But also I face the issue and connected directly with the artists to give him something of his harvest. Made with Hermann Hesse, Heinrich Mann, or Richard Strauss, among others. Sometimes he did not need nor ask for it: in 1920, Thomas Mann gave you of their own will, the manuscript of his novel “The hungry”.

force to accumulate papers, Zweig felt he had to do something with them, so I mapped out a plan. I wanted to edit a printed catalogue is very lavish of his entire collection, including facsimiles of the most important parts of the same. The idea was to publish it on the 28th of November 1931, the day of his fiftieth birthday, but for various reasons this never came to occur. The draft of that catalog is still lost, but at least now its treasures are now open to all the world. To continue digging into the mystery of art.