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011 Siegel, Lee. "Paul Zweig's Journeys Into the Self." New York Times Book Review June 18, 2006: 27.
Paul Zweig, a "fierce little man," according to Robert Bly, died of lymphatic cancer in 1984 at the age of 49, but he is well worth visiting. His poetry is inspired, especially Eternity's Woods (1985). Zweig's main achievement, however, lies in prose works that develop his ideas at greater length. The Heresy of Self-Love lyrically traces the idea that narcissism is a private stronghold against the mechanized modern world. Withdrawal into the self was not an isolating pathology for Zweig; it was rather a means of gaining strength to sustain one's own nature. Individuality was Zweig's passion. He saw it both as a buttress against impersonal forces and as a portal to a more meaningful life. But the impossibility of having an experience and making sense of it in words at the same time tormented him. He wanted to live out dramatic thinking, which depends on a fundamental detachment from self in order to understand it and write about it. Zweig wrote about his inner and outer tumult with absolute, unsparing, unsentimental control. His words seem to have fermented in his self-understanding, and Christopher Lasch in The Culture of Narcissism (1979) cited him as a case study in feelings of emptiness and inadequacy. Actually, Zweig was ahead of his time, for self-love is no longer a heresy. Self-obsession has become an-all pervasive cultural style.
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