The Governess and Other Storiesby Stefan Zweig, Anthea Bell Published 04 Jan 2011
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These four stories illustrate the wide range of Zweig's subject matter dating from quite early in his career as a writer of fiction (The Governess, rooted in a world of strict Edwardian morality), to late (Did He Do It?, almost an English detective story set near Bath, where Zweig lived in exile). In addition The Miracles of Life, set in 16th-century Antwerp during the time of Protestant iconoclasm, and Downfall of a Heart both address the theme of anti-Semitism.
"The Governess and Other Stories" Reviews
extremely well-written, as always, but a little dull. And I am unconvinced by a story in which the villain is a dog!
A compilation of novellas. The first, Did he Do It? is a kind of whodunnit story set in England and very much in Zweig's style of providing insights into human nature. The Miracles of Life is set in Antwerp during the Renaissance period and delves into the conflicts between religious beliefs, art, love art and possession, in particular the reformed stray son who attempts to reconcile his earlier wayward life in Italy by commissioning a work of art in memory of his parents. The final two stories The Downfall of the Heart and The Governess relate to disillusionment in relationships. The former relates to a wealthy yet frugal businessman and his relationship with his materialistic wife and especially his frivolous daughter whom he considers to have betrayed him. The latter, The Governess, is a relatively straight forward story of the prejudices of the early period of the last century. The governess of two girls becomes pregnant and the suspected father is a nephew of the wealthy family. Again a study in human behaviour, ethics and false moral standards.