Journey into the Past
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After nine years of separation from his native country because of the First World War, Louis finally sets foot in Austria and meets the woman he had been in love with and who had promised to wait for him. Previously divided by class and wealth, both are now married and much changed by their recent experiences, and they must find out whether their love could survive the hardships, betrayals and the lapse of time. A poignant examination of the angst of nostalgia and the fragility of love, Zweig's long-lost final novella - recently rediscovered in manuscript form - simultaneously portrays the loss of innocence of a country about to succumb to the evils of fascism.
get no sleep; she in turn found his in her coat pockets, and all these notes ended in a desperate cry asking the unhappy question: how could they bear it, a sea, a world, uncounted months, uncounted weeks, two years between blood and blood, glance and glance? They thought of nothing else, they dreamed of nothing else, and neither of them had an answer to the question, only their hands, eyes and lips, the unconscious servants of their passion, moved back and forth, longing to come together,
fibre of hope, a stronger power and better able to numb his feelings—work. In cables sent by way of Sweden, his company commissioned him to prevent possible sequestration by registering his Mexican branch of it independently and running it, with a few figureheads appointed to the board, as a Mexican firm. This task called for the utmost managerial energy. Since the war itself, that imperious entrepreneur, also wanted ore from the mines, production must be speeded up and the company’s work was
this memory was burning hot as it came back to his mind—there was the ottoman where she had freed herself from him that last time. Inflamed by the passion now rekindled and blazing up, he saw signs and messages everywhere, left there by the woman now standing beside him, quietly breathing, compellingly strange, her eyes turned away and inscrutable. And the dense silence of the years, lying heavily as if slumped in the room, took alarm at their human presence and now assumed powerful proportions,
shattered his whole life? With a strange shudder, he looked at those young faces, staring at the black mass on the move in ranks of four, like a square strip of film running, unrolling out of a narrow alley as if out of a dark box, and every face it showed was instantly rigid with bitter determination, a threat, a weapon. Why was this threat so noisily uttered on a mild June evening, hammered home in a gently dreaming city? “What do they want? What do they want?” The question still had him by
in shreds”. As an added illustration of the sudden reversal of ordinary circumstances, Ludwig finds that “the British consul, a friend of his ... indicated with a cautious note of warning in his voice that he personally was obliged to keep an eye on all his movements from now on”. And not only does the First World War figure prominently, so at the very end does the looming shadow of the Second World War. Ludwig has persuaded his former lover to spend a night in Heidelberg with him, but when they