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How reliable are autobiographical works and biographical studies for historical work? To what extent should the protracted literary-theoretical discussion of autobiography and life writing, which has been a major feature of literary research and study for the last several decades, be taken into account by those seeking to understand key personalities and their variegated contributions in history? Utilizing these questions as points of departure, this lecture attempts to frame the complexity of Stefan Zweig’s brilliant but problematical depictions of Herzl (and Zionism) and Freud (psychoanalysis, anti-Semitism, and Jewish survival) in his late autobiographical work written predominantly during the period of his American exile,“The World of Yesterday.” (1942)

Professor Mark H. Gelber was born in New York City and studied in the U.S., Germany, France, Austria, and Israel before getting his Ph.D. from Yale University. Since 1980 Professor Gelber has been teaching at Ben-Gurion University in Beer Sheva, where he is Professor of Comparative Literature and German-Jewish Studies and Director of the Center for Austrian and German Studies. He is a member of the Executive Board of the Leo Baeck Institute, Jerusalem. In addition to being the author of numerous books on Stefan Zweig, Franz Kafka, and others, Professor Gelber has served as visiting Professor of University of Pennsylvania, University of Graz (Austria), University of Maribor (Slovenia), Yale University, and University of Auckland (New Zealand).