The World of Yesterday
by Stefan Zweig
“We who have been hunted through the rapids of life, torn from our former roots, always driven to the end and obliged to begin again, victims and yet also the willing servants of unknown mysterious powers, we for whom comfort has become an old legend and security, a childish dream, have felt tension from pole to pole of our being, the terror of something always new in every fibre. Every hour of our years was linked to the fate of the world. In sorrow and in joy we have lived through time and history far beyond our own small lives, while they knew nothing beyond themselves. Every one of us, therefore, even the least of the human race, knows a thousand times more about reality today than the wisest of our forebears. But nothing was given to us freely; we paid the price in full.” ― Stefan Zweig, The World of Yesterday
Zweig lived a life of the mind and a life of letters - one that was at odds with the new world. Unfortunately, the last years of his life were spent as an exile from his homeland and in the year after finishing this memoir he and his wife committed suicide together.
The World of Yesterday by Stefan Zweig. University of Nebraska Press, 1964 (1943)