De Stefan Zweig à Martin Bodmer : la collection [in]visible

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Stefan Zweig (Vienna, 1881 – Petrópolis, 1942) wasn’t only the internationally successful author of Amok and Letter from an Unknown Woman, he was also an important collector of literary manuscripts. He managed to amass an eclectic range of texts that reflect his keen interest in the diversity of European literatures, a collection of several hundred autograph texts by the authors he most admired. This trove includes rough drafts of famous or unpublished works, preparatory notes, personal letters, even manuscripts meant for the printers, from Renaissance writers up to his contemporaries. This personal gallery of the “greatest masters of all time” – Goethe, Balzac, and Rimbaud found side by side with Racine, Casanova, and Wilde – also represented for him the chance to sound the mysteries of artistic creation, an abiding quest throughout his busy and turbulent life.

Forced into exile by the threat of Nazism, Zweig chose to part with his collection, a magnificent trove that he deemed “more worthy to survive [him] than [his] own works” (The World of Yesterday, 1942), and turned to the Viennese bookseller Heinrich Hinterberger, with whom he organized the sale of the manuscripts from London. The greater part of the collection was acquired by the Swiss bibliophile Martin Bodmer (Zurich, 1899 – Geneva, 1971), whose already famous library Zweig knew by reputation. The characteristic unity of the Zweig collection was thus largely preserved.

Bringing to light once again a collection that was long thought to be lost, the Michalski Foundation’s show De Stefan Zweig à Martin Bodmer (From Stephan Zweig to Martin Bodmer) offers a rare opportunity to see some of the finest pages of the world’s literary heritage in the author’s hand, while questioning what could have brought together these two collectors in their respective undertakings. As heirs to Goethe, they shared both a “magical” understanding of the autograph manuscript as the circle in which to conjure up “geniuses” through their written markings, and a humanist vision of Weltliteratur –  world literature – as a cultural horizon in the face of the brutal rise of nationalisms.

Guest curator
Marc Adam Kolakowski, adjunct researcher at the Bodmer Lab, University of Geneva

Virtual tour of the exhibition « De Stefan Zweig à Martin Bodmer : la collection [in]visible »
Conception: Jan Michalski Foundation
Editing and production: Benoît Jordil, Géosud SA
Pictures of the works : © Bodmer Lab, Fondation Martin Bodmer, Naomi Wenger and the Jan Michalski Foundation 
Texts: Marc Adam Kolakowski and the Jan Michalski Foundation 
Content of the videos : Marc Adam Kolakowski and Jérôme David
Production of the videos : Isokina Sàrl

Sceenography: Raphaèle Gygi

Archival collection
The Martin Bodmer Foundation, Cologny – Private collections

Tuesday to Friday, 2 – 6 pm | Without reservation
Saturday and Sunday, 11 am – 6 pm | Reservation at
Please specify the day and time of your visit: 11 a.m. / 12 p.m. / 1 p.m. / 2 p.m. / 3 p.m. / 4 p.m. / 5 p.m.

Please note: access to the exhibition may vary according to current health conditions and the evolving recommendations of health officials. Please consult the latest updates on our internet site before your visit.

CHF 5.– (full price)
CHF 3.– (students, groups, retirees, unemployed, persons with disabilities)
Free to visitors under 18 and residents of Montricher
Free admission the first Sunday of each month


Program of exhibition-related events
Take a look at our site at and discover our program of guided tours (in French), workshops, Q&As and other special events related to the show, as well as how to access all our events.