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Franz Werfel: A Life in Prague, Vienna, and Hollywood Paperback – September, 1991


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Czech-born playwright, novelist and poet Werfel (1890-1945) is perhaps best remembered for his novel The Song of Bernadette , about the Lourdes miracle, and The Forty Days of Musa Dagh, a historical novel about the Turks' genocide of Armenians. This intermittently engrossing biography, which never fully brings its subject into focus, includes candid details of Werfel's courtship of Alma Mahler-Gropius (widow of the famous composer, ex-wife of the Bauhaus architect), of their marriage and of her outspoken anti-Semitism. Werfel's alienation from his own Jewishness, interpreted by some as self-loathing, is explained by Jungk as largely due to indifference. Early chapters delineate his youthful friendships with Franz Kafka and Max Brod. In 1938 he and Alma fled Nazi-occupied Vienna, and later escaped Vichy France to settle in Los Angeles. Jungk, an American based in Paris, unnecessarily pads the narrative with italicized interludes consisting of interviews that would have been better integrated into the text. Photos.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Jungk presents a detailed chronology that focuses on externals: the houses Werfel lived in, his marriage to Alma Mahler, cafe society and the people he knew (Kafka and Brod among them), his habit of smoking excessively when writing, his love of Verdi and delight in singing arias from the operas, his many popular books ( The 40 Days of Musa Dagh, The Song of Bernadette ), his escape from the Nazis (the basis of the play Jacobowsky and the Colonel ). Each chapter ends with a view from the present: memories from someone, such as Alma's daughter Anna, who knew Werfel, or a visit to one of Werfel's residences. A quite serviceable biography flawed by the lack of any penetrating analysis of the man and his motivations (in particular, his attitude toward his own Judaism and Christianity and his devotion to the anti-Semitic Alma) or evaluation of the work.
- Richard Kuczkowski, Dominican Coll., Blauvelt, N.Y.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 318 pages
  • Publisher: Fromm Intl; 1st pbk. ed edition (September 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0880641304
  • ISBN-13: 978-0880641302
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,469,228 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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