Habsburg Nostalgia and the Occidental Other: Chinese Perspectives on Stefan Zweig’s Novellas
Abstract

Abstract:

Stefan Zweig (1881–1942) is often seen as the “nostalgic” Austrian writer par excellence who has been accused of producing a distorted and misleading image of a glorified Habsburg Empire in his works. This essay explores Chinese approaches to Zweig’s works which significantly complicate these readings of his Habsburg nostalgia. Drawing on Svetlana Boym’s theory of nostalgia and postcolonial approaches to Occidentalism, this study focuses on the reception of Stefan Zweig’s novellas in China during the second half of the twentieth century. The extensive Chinese commentary and, in particular, academic discussions of these works reveal strategies of employing Zweig’s depiction of Habsburg Austria for different, even contradictory, purposes as part of official as well as subversive anti-official discourses. The focus on the Chinese reception of Zweig’s literature offers alternative readings and fascinating new insights into the powerful socio-critical potential in the works of Zweig.