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English Professor co-edits new volume on Zweig
Friday, March 13, 2015

English Professor co-edits new volume on Zweig

Associate Professor Birger Vanwesenbeeck

Associate Professor Birger Vanwesenbeeck of the Department of English is the co-editor of a new volume with essays on author Stefan Zweig that was just published by Camden House.

     Stefan Zweig

“Stefan Zweig and World Literature: Twenty-First-Century Perspectives” is the first critical study of Zweig in English to appear in North America in over 25 years, bringing together 12 essays by established and young Zweig scholars from Europe, Canada, the United States and the Middle East.

The volume offers a novel approach to Zweig, placing his works outside the narrow European context in which they have traditionally been confined and tracing the outlines of a new image of Zweig that is emerging among a global readership. The volume contains a selection of the papers that were first read at the international symposium, “Stefan Zweig’s Transatlantic Connections,” held at Fredonia.

Since joining the Fredonia faculty in 2007, Dr. Vanwesenbeeck has contributed significantly to the current North American rediscovery of Zweig, an author that had fallen into near-total oblivion following his suicide in 1942.

In 2009, Vanwesenbeeck co-chaired, together with the then head of Archives at Fredonia, a two-day international symposium on Zweig, the first such conference to be held in North America since 1981. The conference brought renewed attention to Reed Library’s Stefan Zweig Collection, the largest archival collection of its kind in North America. The following year, Vanwesenbeeck inaugurated the Biannual Stefan Zweig Lecture series — now in its fourth edition — which created an institutional platform for international Zweig scholars to present their works at Fredonia.

To date, Vanwesenbeeck has also curated two manuscript exhibits on Zweig, including, most recently, “Stefan Zweig and World War I,” which put on display archival items related to the Great War on the occasion of the centennial of World War I. He is also the translator of the theatre play “Les Derniers Jours de Stefan Zweig,” by French author Laurent Seksik, which was performed by students in Fredonia’s Department of Theatre and Dance in Fall 2014.

Since 2010, Vanwesenbeeck has also been a regular contributor to the peer-reviewed Journal of Austrian Studies (University of Nebraska Press) as a reviewer of new scholarly publications on Zweig in both German and English. Last summer he received a summer research development grant that allowed him to research the Zweig Papers at the National Library in Jerusalem.

Vanwesenbeeck and his co-editor, Israeli scholar Mark Gelber, will do formal presentations of the new volume at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York City, at York University’s Koschitzky Center for Jewish Studies in Toronto and on the Fredonia campus at the end of April.

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