a multilingual and transdisciplinary journal


#06 Nord magnétique

Virginie Lecorchey

Stefan Zweig, an Austrian writer with a strong commitment to humanism, has written several works about great historical figures such as Fouché, Marie-Antoinette, Marie Stuart and Erasmus. In these works, Zweig often draws comparisons between himself and his characters, and even identifies with his heroes. In his essay Erasmus  of Rotterdam, published in 1934, Zweig presents Erasmus as a model of human conscience and describes the philosopher as the "first European humanist". Zweig claims and envies Erasmus' freedom of thought, and thus broaches the subject of the intellectual's commitment. But this commitment can prove futile, and here Zweig praises neutrality, while writing a pamphlet against Nazism. Two years later, with his essay Castellio against Calvin, Zweig praises commitment and posits Castellio as a hero - a hero that Zweig himself failed to be, though he continued to advocate tolerance and spirituality. 

design by artcompix