Zweig's readability made him one of the most popular writers of the early twentieth century all over the world, with translations into thirty languages. His lives of Mary Stuart and Marie Antoinette were international bestsellers -- Julie Kavanagh The Economist Intelligent Life Zweig's accumulated historical and cultural studies, whether in essay or monograph form, remain a body of achievement almost too impressive to take in... Full-sized books on Marie-Antoinette, Mary Stuart, and Magellan were international best sellers -- Clive James Cultural Amnesia Stefan Zweig cherished the everyday imperfections and frustrated aspirations of the men and women he analysed with such affection and understanding -- Paul Bailey Times Literary Supplement
Stefan Zweig was born in 1881 in Vienna, a member of a wealthy Austrian-Jewish family. He studied in Berlin and Vienna and was first known as a translator and later as a biographer. Zweig travelled widely, living in Salzburg between the wars, and enjoying literary fame. His stories and novellas were collected in 1934. In the same year, with the rise of Nazism, he briefly moved to London, taking British citizenship. After a short period in New York, he settled in Brazil where in 1942 he and his wife were found dead in bed in an apparent double suicide.