The penalty for clarity
‘I’d been reading Clive James’s essay on Stefan Zweig in his magnum opus, Cultural Amnesia’ (writes John Naughton).
“Zweig’s own achievements,” James writes, are nowadays often patronised: a bad mistake, in my view. Largely because of his highly schooled but apparently effortless gift for a clear prose narrative, he attained, while he lived, immense popularity not just in the German-speaking countries but in the world entire, and he is still paying the penalty for it. Except in France, where his major works are never out of print, it is usually safer to call him second-rate. Safer, but not sound.