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 ?
This study analyzes the work of German Jewish writers including Stefan Zweig, Joseph Roth, and Lion Feuchtwanger to explore the representation of Jews in modern German-speaking cosmopolitanist thought in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Die Deutungen des Jud Suss' bei Selma Stern und Lion Feuchtwanger.
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The infamous Villa Aurora, where novelist Lion Feuchtwanger and his wife Martha lived, became something of a meeting point, a reception center for those newly emigrated.
Jud SA1/4ss" was the title of a 1925 novel by the Jewish-German writer Lion Feuchtwanger (1884-1958,) a fictional account of the life of the real-life Joseph SA1/4ss Oppenheimer, a Jewish financier and political adviser to the 18th-century Karl Alexander, Duke of WA1/4rttemberg, who fell from grace after the duke's death and was executed in a gruesome popular spectacle.
Wells, the Webbs, Romain Rolland, Theodore Dreiser, Lion Feuchtwanger, and others--Gorky's experience of the Soviet gulag is richly contextualized in terms of the motivations and biography of the visitor, the history and circumstance of the sites visited, and what contemporary evidence exists for what transpired during the visit itself.
Of twin importance are Eisler's Hollywood compositions and the California papers of the composer and his wife, Louise Eisler-Fischer, which recently became available as a part of the Lion Feuchtwanger Memorial Library at the University of Southern California.
Nestled high in the mountains of Pacific Palisades overlooking the ocean, Villa Aurora is the former home of exiled German-Jewish writer Lion Feuchtwanger and his wife, Marta, who were forced to flee the Nazi regime and found refuge in Los Angeles in 1943.
He then turns to Western observers, with separate short chapters focusing in particular on the texts of Bertrand Russell, Arthur Koestler, Andre Gide, Lion Feuchtwanger, Bertolt Brecht, and, his longtime favorite and most extensively researched example, Walter Benjamin.
However the, "Olympics of antisemitism"--examining who is the most antisemitic of all--does not lead anywhere, as Oisteanu himself also pointed out, especially not after 1945, when the antisemitic climate reflected in the sheer denial of the existence of any other nationalities than Romanian living in Romania caused the book by Lion Feuchtwanger, The Jewess of Toledo, to be published in Romanian with a neutral title, The Spaniard Ballad.
1) It is a little-known fact that the German-Jewish emigre writer Lion Feuchtwanger (7 July 1884, Munich-21 December 1958, Los Angeles) published a play about the Salem trials before Arthur Miller did.
4) Indeed, the list of contributors to the Libro Negro, included as an appendix to the book, is a sort of who's who of German leftist authors, including such wellknown figures as Lion Feuchtwanger, Heinrich Mann, and Otto Katz (under the penname "Andre Simone"), in the group of 56 essayists.