Lion Feuchtwanger


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Feuchtwanger, Lion

 

Born July 7, 1884, in Munich; died Dec. 21, 1958, in Los Angeles. German writer.

Feuchtwanger studied philology at the universities of Munich and Berlin, receiving the degree of doctor of philosophy from the University of Munich in 1907. He worked as a journalist and a theater critic. Feuchtwanger’s pacifist views between 1914 and 1918 were reflected in poetry, in his adaptations of Aeschylus’ The Persians (1917) and Aristophanes’ Peace (1918), and in the play The Prisoners of War (1919).

Feuchtwanger emigrated from Germany in 1933; he lived in France and took part in the international movement to safeguard culture. With W. Bredel and B. Brecht he edited the journal The Word, which was published in Moscow from 1936 to 1939. After a visit to the USSR he wrote the book Moscow 1937 (1937; Russian translation, 1937). In 1940, Feuchtwanger was interned in France. He was taken prisoner by German troops but managed with great difficulty to escape. He spent the latter part of his life in the USA.

Feuchtwanger’s works deal mainly with the choice between action and philosophical contemplation. This issue was first touched on in the dramatic novel Thomas Wendt (1920) and was further developed in the historical novels Jew Suss (1920–22; published 1925; Russian translation, 1929) and The Ugly Duchess (1923; Russian translation, 1935). The novel Success (1930; Russian translation, 1935) was the first part of the trilogy of novels The Waiting Room, whose other parts were The Oppenheims (1933; Russian translation, 1935; in later editions entitled The Oppermanns) and Exile (1939; Russian translation, 1939). In its depth of social analysis, Success is an outstanding work of realism that denounces Hitlerism in its early manifestations. The Oppenheims portrays the failure of bourgeois humanism. In Exile, Feuchtwanger critically reappraised his abstention from political struggle and depicted the longing of the best stratum of the German emigrants for a new, socially transformed life in their former homeland.

Feuchtwanger’s historical novels of the 1930’s dealt mainly with the complex relationship of the humanist with man and society. They included a trilogy of novels about Flavius Josephus: The Jewish War (1932; Russian translation, 1937), The Sons (1935; Russian translation, 1937), and The Day Will Come (1942). Feuchtwanger’s historical novels have topical implications, as seen in The False Nero (1936; Russian translation, 1937).

Authentic historical personages and events of the period preceding the fascist coup are depicted in the novel Double, Double, Toil and Trouble (1943); they make the work’s sociopolitical analysis more concrete and profound. The novel Simone (1944) is about a young heroine of the French Resistance. Enriched by the historical experience of the victorious antifascist war and the socialist transformations that had taken place in a number of European countries, Feuchtwanger also accepted in principle the means by which this victory was achieved—the revolutionary activity of the masses. These themes found expression in Feuchtwanger’s works dealing with the French Revolution: the novels Proud Destiny (1947; Russian translation, 1959), This Is the Hour (1952; Russian translation, 1955), and ’Tis Folly to Be Wise (1952; Russian translation, 1956) and the play The Widow Capet (1956).

Feuchtwanger created a new type of historical novel that had a double theme; to a certain extent this was a rationalist novel. Many of his works have been made into motion pictures. Feuchtwanger was awarded the National Prize of the German Democratic Republic in 1953.

WORKS

Gesammelte Werke in Einzelausgaben, vols. 1–10, 12–14. Berlin, 1959–64.
In Russian translation:
Sobr. soch., vols. 1–12. Introductory article by B. Suchkov. Moscow, 1963–68.

REFERENCES

Fradkin, I. M. “Pafos istorii, tvorimoi narodom.” In Literatura novoi Germanii. Moscow, 1961.
Rachinskaia, N. N. Lion Feikhtvanger. Moscow, 1965.
Suchkov, B. Liki vremeni, vol. 1. Moscow, 1976.
Leupold, H. Lion Feuchtwanger. Leipzig, 1967.
Nikolaeva, T. S. Razum protiv varvarstva. Saratov, 1972.

I. M. FRADKIN

References in periodicals archive ?
Of Walter Mehring (the Berlin poet who moved to Hollywood, bought a Packard roadster, and never spared a thought or a cent for those he'd left in Europe), of Heinrich Mann (who stopped writing, and spent the last years of his life drawing doodles of women with big breasts), of Lion Feuchtwanger (whose idiotic tale-bearing about Fry's rescue network could have cost dozens or hundreds their lives), Fry felt, as Marino puts it, that "just because these people had been persecuted, it was not fair to expect them to be any greater, morally speaking, than other human be ings.
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But a second team consisted of Marc Chagall, Max Ernst, Jacques Lipchitz, and the writers, Heinrich Mann, Lion Feuchtwanger and Franz Werfel and his demon wife, Alma Mahler.
He also translated works of Sholem Asch, Hermann Broch, and Lion Feuchtwanger.
It would have been helpful to record more of the Jewish contribution to German literature - where are Walter Benjamin, Lion Feuchtwanger, Franz Werfel and Stefan Zweig, to name but a few?
Lion Feuchtwanger was one of the more famous German exiles living in the USA, in particular, California, during the World War II, and his decision to remain there after the war was over was of tremendous importance to other exiles and their decision whether to remigrate or not.
He was referring to the fact that he was a Jew, but also to his famous uncle, Lion Feuchtwanger, one of the most popular German authors of the early 20th century.
In 1861 the much-hated Matrikel law that had limited the number of the Jews in the city finally lapsed and paved the way for growth, further integration, and the careers of illustrious writers like Lion Feuchtwanger in the twentieth century.
In exile Thomas Mann and Lion Feuchtwanger were able to establish themselves in the United States thanks to translators.
People with walk-on parts at Sanary include German writers in exile from Nazism such as Thomas Mann and his children, and Lion Feuchtwanger, and what Sybille Bedford calls "English naughty boys," notably Brian Howard whose social and sexual flamboyance captured the imagination of Evelyn Waugh and Cyril Connolly.
What Stephan states in regard to Brecht has general validity here: nothing in the files will radically change our view of the life and work of the eminent figures who are the focus of the essays: Lion Feuchtwanger, Hanns Eisler, Erika Mann, and Brecht himself.
Herbert Ihering may have pleaded for a Nobel Prize, Lion Feuchtwanger may have serenaded Dublin as a second Homer, but among more recent tributes W G.