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Stefan Zweig – Abschied von Europa

Curated by Clement Renoldner

Theater Museum

Lobkowitzplatz, Vienna

August 2014

Ausstellung im Theatermuseum, Gestalter: Peter Karlhuber, Kurator: Klemens Renoldner © Theatermuseum, Wien

Ausstellung im Theatermuseum, Gestalter: Peter Karlhuber, Kurator: Klemens Renoldner
© Theatermuseum, Wien

Just to revisit Stefan Zweig’s A Chess Story briefly.

At the moment there’s an exhibition at the Theater Museum in Vienna, looking at the latter part of the Austrian writer’s life and career.  In Stefan Zweig – Abschied von Europa, one room is given over to Schachnovelle.  Here you can read manuscripts and typescripts, view various editions of the book and so on.  A photograph of the room is above.

Note the chequered floor, the scale model of the Hotel Metropole – which was where the Gestapo were quartered in Vienna from 1938 – the leather great coats.  The layout of the room and the iconography may strike some as being a bit creepy, not to say problematic.  Zweig was Jewish, of course.

On a lighter note: elsewhere on the same floor, and as part of the exhibition, there’s a chess set on a table and a couple of chairs.  When I visited the museum in August, I couldn’t resist playing out the moves 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3…

Zweig plays a part in the main exhibition, Richard Strauss und die Oper, as well.  He knew the composer and suggested writing an opera based on Ben Jonson’s play Epicoene; Or the Silent Woman.  This became Die schweigsame Frau (1933), for which Zweig wrote the libretto.

The top floor of the museum has a small array of artifacts relating to stage and set design.  This is, I think, a permanent exhibition.  The other two, Stefan Zweig – Abschied von Europa and Richard Strauss und die Oper, continue until early 2015, further details can be found here.

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