In his 1943 memoir The World of Yesterday, Stefan Zweig looks back on his youth in prewar Vienna as the “Golden Age of Security.”1 Writing in exile, Zweig gives an account of how a shared sense of private and public stability was shattered by the onslaughts of two World Wars, giving rise to a generation that had “long since struck the word ‘security’ from [its] vocabulary as a myth.”2 The World of Yesterday narrates a trajectory from privilege to precarity, against a backdrop of conflict and upheaval. And if for Hannah Arendt, Zweig’s trajectory seemed to register more “social humiliation” than genuine political disenfranchisement, it nonetheless seems iconic of a certain kind of modern and contemporary experience.3 For along with his vision of a stable world, what Zweig seems to have lost is access to hospitality. Such a loss can amount not only to what Arendt denigrates as mere “humiliation” within the social world, with its niceties of etiquette, but also to the loss of legal rights and ultimately to the often desperate situation of the refugee. Copyright © 2016 Taylor & Francis.
|Title of host publication||Security and hospitality in literature and culture: Modern and contemporary perspectives|
|Editors||Jeffrey CLAPP, Emily RIDGE|
|Place of Publication||New York; London|
|ISBN (Print)||9781138915848, 9781315690018|
|Publication status||Published - 2016|
Second World War