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Feuchtwanger Memorial Library *: Feuchtwanger's Writings

Personal materials, manuscripts and correspondences of German-Jewish writer Lion Feuchtwanger and his invaluable library. Collections on German-speaking exile artists who had to flee Europe and found refuge in Southern California

FEUCHTWANGER'S WRITINGS Lion Feuchtwanger on Himself

This satiric, autobiographical sketch was written by Lion Feuchtwanger in the early 1940s.


The writer L.F. was born in the second to the last decade of the nineteenth century in the land of Bavaria in a city called Munich. He was instructed in 211 disciplines, including Hebrew, applied psychology, Sanskrit, compound interest calculation, Gothic and gymnastics, by 98 teachers in all. It took him 19 years to eradicate from his memory 172 of these 211 disciplines.

Berlin, the capital of the Reich, when he studied at its university, contained 3,827,394 inhabitants, among which were 1,443 actors, 167 generals, 1,107 authors and journalists, 412 fishermen, 1 Emperor, 9,213 students, 134 dog catchers, 112,327 rooming house landladies, 1 genius. The writer L.F. spent 14 years in the schools and universities of Berlin and Munich, 7 1/2 months in the army, 5 months and 17 days in different concentration camps; during the rest of his life he considered himself to be in relative freedom. For a total of 5,238 days, he had insufficient funds and for 417 days none at all. He signed 1,756 contracts and he had 423 discussions on religious questions, 2,718 on social, 3,764 on literary, 213 on political ones, 256 on money problems, and 22,314 conversations on everyday matters-including housing, food, laundry, shaving, and so on.

In his prime, the writer L.F. was 65 inches tall and weighed 134 pounds. He had 25 of his own teeth including some prominent ones shaped like roof tiles, and 7 gold teeth. He had thick, dark blond hair and wore glasses. He was a good swimmer and a poor dancer. He liked seafood of all kinds, disliked grains, liked his baths very hot, hated dogs and tobacco, and loved cats. He drank good wine and tea, but very little spirits and coffee; also he ate far too few vegetables. He was sympathetic with the theory of vegetarianism and esteemed the Hindus' way of life, but in practice he was a big meat-eater. There can be no doubt that, had he restrained his liking for meat, he would have reached a considerably greater age. But, as it was, by the time he reached his prime, he had already eaten 9,148 pieces of beef, 1,712 pieces of game, and 2,113 pieces of fowl. Of salt water fish he had consumed 9,014-of fresh water fish some 2,738 (not including the innumerable shellfish, oysters, mussels, and snails). All this with great enjoyment, yet often oppressed by the thought of how much life had to be extinguished in order to nourish his own.

Germany, when the writer L.F. flourished in this country, counted 63,284,617 so-called souls. 667,884 of these were employed by the post office and railroad, 40,103 were physicians, 856 critics, 8,287 authors, and 15,043 midwives. In Germany there were 36,461 officially registered idiots and cretins. The writer L.F. had the misfortune of having to deal with a large portion of them.

The writer L.F. committed 23,257 venial sins, and two grave ones. He performed 10,069 good deeds and two really good ones that were attributed to other people. He was married once. He rescued two girls from death by drowning, seven youngsters from becoming actors, 19 not untalented youngsters from the profession of writing. In 907 cases of the latter kind, he failed.

The writer L.F. could compose prose at the rate of 25 lines per hour and poetry at the rate of 50 lines. During an hour of composing prose, he generally lost 13 ounces in weight. His writings were banned 278 times, 922 reviewers extolled his inner religiousness, 1,075 reviled him for his blasphemy and called for the Public Prosecutor. He met 912 authors, among whom were 18 really gifted men and one and a half geniuses; one of these geniuses did not write.

The world made many claims on the writer L.F. He received 4,185 manuscripts for appraisal and assistance from young writers who were insulted when he took more than two days to read their work. 27,169 wanted his autograph; 826 ladies applied for secretarial positions. He had 233 relatives, 9,124 acquaintances, and one friend.

The writer L.F. was perfectly happy 19 times and abysmally troubled 24 times during his life. 587 times he was wearied to the bone by the stupidity of the world. Then he grew hard-boiled. Having realized that achievement is not synonymous with success, nor personality with achievement, if asked by God: "Are you content with the life I gave you?," he would respond: "Yes, I should like to do it all over again."

FEUCHTWANGER'S WRITINGS Listing by Title

Der Amerikaner oder Die entzauberte Stadt: Melancholische Komödie in vier Akten. Munich: Drei Masken, 1921.

Appius und Virginia: Tragödie nach dem Englischen des 17. Jahrhunderts. Munich: Müller, 1918.

"Der arme Heinrich" see Kleine Dramen

Die Aufgabe des Judentums (with Arnold Zweig). Paris: Europäischer Merkur, 1933.

"Bertolt Brecht 1957" in Erinnerungen an Bertolt Brecht. Leipzig: Reclam, 1964, pp. 358-364.

"Die Braut von Korinth" see Kleine Dramen

Die Brüder Lautensack see Die Zauberer: Roman

Centum Opuscula: Essays. Rudolstadt: Greifenverlag, 1956.

The Day will Come see Der Tag wird kommen: Roman

The Devil in France see Unholdes Frankreich: Meine Erlebnisse unter der Regierung Pétain

"Donna Bianca" see Kleine Dramen

Double, Double, Toil and Trouble see Die Zauberer: Roman

Drei angelsächsiche Stücke: "Die Petroleuminsel;" "Kalkutta, 4. Mai" (newly revised with Bertolt Brecht); "Wird Hill amnestiert?" Berlin: Propyläen, 1927. Bühnenmanuskript: Petroleuminseln. Berlin: Bloch Erben. English edition: Three plays. London: Secker, 1934.

Die Einsamen: Zwei Skizzen. Munich: Monachia, 1903.

Erfolg. Drei Jahre Geschichte einer Provinz: Roman. (First volume of the Wartesaal Trilogy). Berlin: Kiepenheuer, 1930. Amsterdam: Querido, 1934. English edition: Success. New York: Viking Press, 1930.

Exil: Roman. (Third volume in the Wartesaal Trilogy). Amsterdam: Querido, 1940. American edition: Paris Gazette. New York: The Viking Press, 1940. English edition: London: Hutchinson, 1940.

Ein' fest Burg ist unser Gott: Volksstück von Arthur Müller für die Bühne bearbeitet von Lion Feuchtwanger. Diessen: Huber, 1911.

Der falsche Nero: Roman. Amsterdam: Querido, 1936. English edition: The Pretender. New York: Viking Press, 1937.

Der Fetisch: Ein Schauspiel. Munich: Müller, 1907.

Der Frauenverkäufer: Ein Spiel in drei Akten nach Calderón. Munich: Drei Masken, 1923; Bühnenmanuskript, Berlin: Bloch Erben.

Friede: ein burleskes Spiel nach den Acharnern und der Eirene des Aristophanes. Munich: Müller, 1918; Bühnenmanuskript, Berlin: Bloch Erben.

" Friede" see Stücke in Versen: Vasantasena; Friede; Die Perser

Die Füchse im Weinberg see Waffen für Amerika: Roman

Gegen die Phrase vom jüdischen Schädling (with Max Brod and A. Holitscher et al.) Prague: Amboss, 1933.

Foreword in Der gelbe Fleck: Die Ausrottung von 500,00 deutschen Juden. Paris, Carrefour, 1936, pp. 5-6.

Gesammelte Werke. 12 volumes. Amsterdam: Querido, 1933-54.

Gesammelte Werke. 20 volumes. Berlin: Aufbau, 1959.

Die Geschwister Oppenheim: Roman. (Second volume of the Wartesaal Trilogy). Amsterdam: Querido, 1933. English edition: The Oppermanns. London: Secker, 1933.

Die Gesichte der Simone Marcard (with Bertolt Brecht). Berlin: Suhrkamp, 1957. English edition: The Visions of Simone Marchard. New York: Grove Press, 1965.

"Gespräche mit dem Ewigen Juden: Essay" in An den Wassern von Babylon. Munich: Müller, 1920, pp. 52-92.

Das gelobte Land see Der Tag wird kommen: Roman

Goya oder Der arge Weg der Erkenntis: Roman. Stockholm: Neuer Verlag, 1951. English edition: This is the Hour. New York: Viking Press, 1951. English: London: Hutchinson, 1952.

Größe und Erbärmlichkeit des Exils in Deutscher Freiheitskalender 1939. Paris: Brant, 1939, pp. 72-77.

Die häßliche Herzogin: Roman. Berlin: Wegweiser, 1923; 2nd edition, Die häßliche Herzogin Margarete Maultasch. Potsdam: Kiepenheuer, 1926. Amsterdam: Querido, 1936. First English edition: The Ugly Duchess. London: Secker, 1927.

Das Haus der Desdemona oder Größe und Grenzen der historischen Dichtung. Rudolstadt: Greifenverlag, 1961. American edition: The House of Desdemona, or, The Laurels and Limitations of Historical Fiction. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1963.

Heinrich Heines Fragment: "Der Rabbi von Bacherach": Eine kritische Studie. Dissertation. Munich: Kastner & Callwey, 1907.

Der holländische Kaufmann: Schauspiel. Munich: Drei Masken, 1923; Amsterdam: Querido, 1936.

The House of Desdemona, or, The Laurels and Limitations of Historical Fiction see Das Haus der Desdemona oder Größe und Grenzen der historischen Dichtung

Jefta und seine Tochter: Roman. Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1957. English edition: Jephthah and his Daughter. London: Hutchinson, 1958, c1957. American edition: Jephta and his daughter. New York: New American Library [1960, c1958]

Jephta and his daughter see Jefta und seine Tochter: Roman

Jephthah and his Daughter see Jefta und seine Tochter: Roman

The Jew of Rome see Die Söhne: Roman

The Jewess of Toledo see Spanische Ballade: Roman

"Joel" see Kleine Dramen.

Josephus see Der jüdischer Krieg: Roman

Josephus and the Emperor see Der Tag wird kommen: Roman

Josephus Trilogie. Frankfurt: Frankfurter Verlagsanstalt, 1952. English edition?

Josephus Trilogy
Volume One: Der jüdischer Krieg: Roman
Volume Two: Die Söhne: Roman
Volume three: Der Tag wird kommen: Roman

Jud Süß: Schauspiel in drei Akten. Munich: Müller, 1918.

Jud Süß: Roman. Munich: Drei Masken, 1925. Berlin: Knaur, 1931; Amsterdam: Querido, 1939. American edition: Power. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1929.

Die Jüdin von Toledo see Spanische Ballade: Roman

Der jüdischer Krieg: Roman (First volume of the Josephus Trilogy). Berlin: Propyläen, 1932. Amsterdam: Querido, 1933. English editions: Josephus. New York: Viking Press, 1932. London: Secker, 1932.

Julia Farnese: ein Trauerspiel. Munich: Müller, 1915.

"Kalkutta, 4. Mai" see Drei angelsächsiche Stücke "Kalkutta, 4. Mai" see Stücke in Prose

Kleine Dramen: Joel. König Saul. Das Weib des Urias. Der arme Heinrich. Donna Bianca. Die Braut von Korinth. 2 volumes. Munich: Müller, 1905-06.

"König Saul" see Kleine Dramen

Der König und die Tänzerin: Schauspiel nach Kalidasa. Munich: Müller, 1917.

Die Kriegsgefangenen: Schauspiel in fünf Akten. Munich: Müller, 1919; Amsterdam: Querido, 1936.

"Die Kriegsgefangenen" see Stücke in Prose

The Lautensack Brothers see Die Zauberer: Roman

Leben Eduards des Zeiten von England: Historisches Schauspiel nach Marlow (mit Bertolt Brecht). Potsdam: Kiepenheuer, 1924.

Little Tales see Marianne in Indien und sieben andere Erzählung

Marianne in Indien und sieben andere Erzählung. Paris: Europäischer Merkur, 1934. English edition: Little Tales. London: M. Secker, 1935.

"Marianne in Indien" see Zwei Erzählungen: Nachsaison. Marianne in Indien

Moskau 1937. Ein Reisebericht für meine Freunde. Amsterdam: Querido, 1937. English edition: Moskow 1937: My Visit Described for My Friends. London: Gollancz, 1937.

Moskow 1937: My Visit Described for My Friends see Moskau 1937. Ein Reisebericht für meine Freunde

"Nachsaison" see Zwei Erzählungen: Nachsaison. Marianne in Indien

Narrenweisheit oder Tod und Verklärung des Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Roman. Los Angeles: Pazifische Presse, 1952. Frankfurt: Frankfurter Verlagsanstalt, 1952. American edition: `Tis folly to be wise; or, Death and Transfiguration of Jean-Jacques Rosseau. New York: J. Messer, 1953.

"Neuzehnhundertachtzehn" see Stücke in Prose

Odysseus und die Schweine und zwölf andere Erzählungen. Berlin: Aufbau, 1950. English edition: London, 1949??

The Oppermanns see Die Geschwister Oppenheim: Roman

Paris Gazette see Exil: Roman

PEP J. L. Wetcheek's American song book see PEP J. L. Wetcheeks amerikanisches Liederbuch: Satirische Gedichte.

PEP J. L. Wetcheeks amerikanisches Liederbuch: Satirische Gedichte. Potsdam: Kiepenheuer, 1928. English edition: Pep : J. L. Wetcheek's American song book. New York: Viking Press, 1929.

Die Perser des Aischylos: Übersetzung und Nachdichtung. Munich: Müller, 1915; Bühnenmanuskript: Berlin: Bloch Erben; Erstdruck in Fortsetzung: Die Schaubühne, 1914, no. 41-52.

" Die Perser" see Stücke in Versen: Vasantasena; Friede; Die Perser

"Die Petroleuminsel" see Drei angelsächsiche Stücke

"Die Petroleuminsel" see Stücke in Prose

Pierrots Herrentraum: Pantomine. Musik A. Hartmann-Trepka. Munich: Drei Masken, 1916.

Power see Jud Süß: Roman.

The Pretender see Der falsche Nero: Roman

Proud Destiny see Waffen für Amerika: Roman

Raquel, The Jewess of Toledo see Spanische Ballade: Roman

Simone: Roman. Stockholm: Neuer Verlag, 1944. English edition: Simone. New York: Viking Press, 1944; London: Hamilton, 1944.

Die Söhne: Roman. (Second volume of the Josephus Trilogy). Amsterdam: Querido, 1935. English edition: The Jew of Rome. London: Hutchinson, 1935. American edition: New York: Viking Press, 1936.

Spanische Ballade: Roman. Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1955. New edition: Die Jüdin von Toledo. Berlin: Aufbau, 1955. English edition: Raquel, The Jewess of Toledo. New York: The New American Library, 1956.

Stücke in Prose: Kalkutta, 4. Mai; Die Kriegsgefangenen; Neuzehnhundertachtzehn; Die Petroleuminsel; Wahn oder Der Teufel in Boston. Rudolstadt: Greifenverlag, 1959. English edition:

Stücke in Versen: Vasantasena; Friede; Die Perser. Rudolstadt: Greifenverlag, 1954.

Success see Erfolg. Drei Jahre Geschichte einer Provinz: Roman.

Der Tag wird kommen: Roman. (Third volume of the Josephus Trilogy). English edition: Josephus and the Emperor. New York: Viking Press, 1942. The Day will Come. London, New York, Hutchinson, 1942. New edition: Das gelobte Land. Rudolstadt: Greifenverlag, 1951.

Der Teufel in Frankreich see Unholdes Frankreich: Meine Erlebnisse unter der Regierung Pétain

This is the Hour see Goya oder Der arge Weg der Erkenntis

Thomas Wendt: Ein dramatischer Roman. Munich: Müller, 1920; Amsterdam: Querido, 1936.

Three Plays see Drei angelsächsiche Stücke

`Tis folly to be wise; or, Death and Transfiguration of Jean-Jacques Rosseau see Narrenweisheit oder Tod und Verklärung des Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Roman

Der tönere Gott: Roman. Munich: Bonsels, 1910.

The Ugly Duchess see Die häßliche Herzogin: Roman

Unholdes Frankreich: Meine Erlebnisse unter der Regierung Pétain. English edition: The Devil in France. New York: Viking Press, 1941. Mexico: El Libro Libre, 1942. New edition: Der Teufel in Frankreich. Rudolstadt: Greifenverlag, 1954.

Vasantasena: Ein Schauspiel in drei Akten nach dem Indischen des Königs Sudraka. Munich: Müller, 1916; revised edition, Munich: Drei Masken, 1924; Potsdam: Kiepenheuer, 1927; Berlin: Bloch Erben.

"Vasantasena" see Stücke in Versen: Vasantasena; Friede; Die Perser

Venedig (Texas) und vierzehn andere Erzählungen. New York: Aurora, 1946.

The Visions of Simone Marchard see Die Gesichte der Simone Marcard (with Bertolt Brecht)

Waffen für Amerika: Roman. 2 volumes. Amsterdam: Querido, 1947-48. American: Proud Destiny. New York: Viking Press, 1947. English edition: London: Hutchinson, 1948. New edition: Die Füchse im Weinberg. Berlin: Aufbau, 1953.

Wahn in Boston see Wahn oder Der Teufel in Boston: Ein Stück in drei Akten

Wahn oder Der Teufel in Boston: Ein Stück in drei Akten. Los Angeles: Pazifische Press, 1948. New edition: Wahn in Boston. Rudolstadt: Greifenverlag, 1956.

" Wahn oder Der Teufel in Boston" see Stücke in Prose

Warren Hastings, Gouveneur von Indien: Schauspiel (spätere Fassung: Kalkutta, 4. Mai) Munich: Müller, 1916. Bühnenmanuskript, Berlin: Bloch Erben.

Wartesaal Trilogy:

Volume One: Erfolg. Drei Jahre Geschichte einer Provinz: Roman
Volume Two: Die Geschwister Oppenheim: Roman
Volume three: Exil: Roman

"Das Weib des Urias" see Kleine Dramen

"Wird Hill amnestiert?" see Drei angelsächsiche Stücke

Die Witwe Capet: Ein Stück in drei Akten. Rudolstadt: Greifenverlag, 1956. Bühnenmanuskript, Berlin: Bloch Erben.

Die Zauberer: Roman. Rudolstadt: Greifenverlag, 1956. New edition: Die Brüder Lautensack. American edition: Double, Double, Toil and Trouble. New York: Viking Press, 1943. English edition: The Lautensack Brothers. London: Hamilton, 1943.

Zwei Erzählungen: Nachsaison. Marianne in Indien. Moscow: Meshdunarodnaja kniga, 1939.

FEUCHTWANGER'S WRITINGS "The Purpose of the Historical Novel" by Lion Feuchtwanger

This essay, "Vom Sinn des historischen Romans," was published in 1935 in Das Neue Tage-Buch.

The term "historical novel" awakens some awkward connotations nowadays. We think of the Count of Monte Christo, of Ben-Hur, of various historical films; we picture adventure, intrigue, costumes, heavy swaths of bright colors, overly theatrical language, a mixture of politics and love, and the reduction of great events to the level of petty individual emotions.

Social and political considerations do their part to discredit this class of novel even further. An author who sets about to depict events of the past that have run their course is suspected of wishing to avoid the problems of the present day, of being in other words a reactionary. From depicting the past, so goes the suspicion, it is a short step to glorifying the past. In truth, many of today's historical novels offer nothing but more or less cleverly constructed images in exaggerated colors which are intended to entertain and distract the reader from the needs of the present by singing the praises of a past that is fuller, brighter and better.

For my part, I admit to loving historical novels with a passion. I do understand the prejudice against this form of literature, but it is a prejudice. Ever since my youth it has disturbed me that of the literary works that survived their own epoch, so many dealt with historical rather than contemporary subjects. Homer, to take an example, desires the creation of a dictatorship and wishes that the Greeks might have a strong central government. But he gives shape to this longing not by criticizing contemporary conditions, but rather by depicting the catastrophe that arose centuries earlier from disputes among the self-seeking princes in Greece; and he lets a king who died in antiquity give voice to his demands. The tragic playwright Aeschylus desires to reform Athenian judicial procedures. To achieve this purpose he depicts the legendary actions of a man named Orestes in ancient times and the dispute among the gods and men to resolve them in court. All of the surviving Greek tragedies with a single exception are transplanted into a remote, mythological era. Likewise, the authors of the New Testament, whenever they expect something new or revolutionary from their contemporaries, set their thoughts in motion by writing history, historical novels, in order to draw forth their arguments from a carefully arranged view of the past. The authors of the four Gospels unquestionably saw themselves as heralds of new and revolutionary truths; still they called upon events of some sixty to ninety years earlier to justify these truths. If ever an epoch considered itself revolutionary, it was the Renaissance: of the stories told by the leading Italian writers, a great many are placed in the past as are nearly all of Shakespeare's dramas.

I have often studied the great and established historical works of literature from this point of view, asking myself whether they present history or mythology for their own sake, whether their authors were enticed by colorful costumes and settings, and whether they intended to give shape to contemporary or historical subject matter. In every case I have come to the conclusion that the artist had no other intention than to give expression to his own (contemporary) attitudes and a subjective (but in no sense historical) view of the world, and to do so in a way that these could be perceived directly by the reader. Whenever he chose to use historical wrappings, it was for the purpose of elevating the subject out of the personal and private realm in order to set it on a platform and achieve a degree of distance. Tolstoy when creating War and Peace did not wish to write a history of the Napoleonic campaigns but rather wanted to present his (contemporary) ideas on the subject of war and peace, while August Strindberg in writing his historical dramas and sketches without a doubt wished only to present himself, his era, his ideas, no less than in his autobiographical novels. When these two authors place a temporal distance in front of their characters and ideas, it is surely for the sake of improving our perspective according to the principle that it is easier to recognize the shape of a mountain range from a distance than when you are in the midst of the mountains themselves.

This brings us to the answer to the first of the two questions that the author of historical novels is repeatedly asked. This question is: if your content is contemporary, why don't you select contemporary subjects instead of subjects from the past?

Permit me to answer this question based on my own experience as an author. I have written both contemporary novels and historical ones. After closely examining my conscience, I venture to state that in my historical novels I intended the content to be just as modern and up-to-date as in the contemporary ones. It never occurred to me to write about history for its own sake; costume and historic trappings have only been a means of stylization, a means of achieving an illusion of reality in the simplest way. Other writers may place their conceptions at a greater spatial distance, perhaps in some exotic locale, in order to set them off with greater clarity; I for the same purpose have removed mine to a certain distance in time: that is the only difference.

I cannot imagine that a serious novelist, when working with historical subject matter, could ever regard historical facts as anything other than a means of achieving distance, as a metaphor, in order to render his own feelings, his own era, his own philosophy, and himself as accurately as possible.

Both positive and negative motives interact whenever I find myself induced to place contemporary subject matter in historic raiments. Sometimes I fail. If I attempt to arbitrarily stylize parts of my plot, they remain what they are; if I leave them in contemporary dress, they remain at the level of a simple account, a suggestion, a passing thought and do not develop into an image. Or when I work with the present, I feel the lack of any conclusion. Things remain in flux; assuming that a series of events in the present is concluded, and to what extent, remains arbitrary, and any ending I might write seems to be a random act. In depicting present-day conditions I have the uncomfortable feeling that a frame is needed; it is like a rare aroma that escapes and evaporates when we cannot replace the stopper in the bottle. Add to this that our restless times hasten to turn every form of the present into the past, so that if today's world is to become history in only five years, why should I not be free to choose a world as far in the past as I wish in order to give expression to a subject I hope will still be alive in five years? There are times, too, when I fear that if I work with contemporary persons and events, I might not be able to keep them free of the shadows of trivial and petty personal concerns and thus sacrifice the equilibrium that is the prerequisite of any work of art.

Years ago I set out to show the path of a man from deed to indolence, from action to contemplation. I was tempted to demonstrate this idea using a contemporary figure; that of Walter Rathenau. I tried and failed. I moved the subject back two hundred years and described the path of the Jew Josef Süss Oppenheimer. In so doing I came much closer to my goal.

One topic that has deeply moved me as long as I can remember is the conflict between nationalism and internationalism in the heart of a single individual. If I were to tackle this theme in the form of a contemporary novel, I fear my presentation might be overshadowed and contaminated by personal grudges and resentment. I chose therefore to transplant this conflict into the soul of a man, the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, who, it appeared to me, had experienced it in the same way as so many do today, with the difference that he did so 1860 years ago.

I hope I have retained the peace of mind to judge things fairly; still I believe I can do a convincing job of depicting the persons who-1870 years ago-put the torch to various central buildings in Nero's Rome, poor, foolish implements of the feudalists and militarists of their day that they were, and indeed do a more convincing job of it that I could of describing the people who two years ago set fire to the Reichstag in Berlin, poor, foolish tools that they were of the feudalists and militarists of our own era.

This, then to the first of the two questions. The second question which our kind encounter again and again is this: if a reader is so interested in the past, in history, would he or she not be better off to reach for a precise, scholarly presentation instead of the fictional construct of a novelist?

Well, the reader in search of instruction and information from a historical novel is falling into the same error as an author who might try to compete with a historian. What is a historian, anyway? It is someone who uses facts to record the development of humanity. The author of the historical novel, however, as we have seen, has no such goal in mind, but rather a portrayal of himself and his view of the world. There exists, I am suggesting, between the conscientious author of historical novels and the conscientious historian the same difference that exists between a composer on the one hand and a researcher into the problems of acoustics. Asking the author of historical novels to teach you about history is like expecting the composer of a melody to provide answers about radio transmission.

I have always made an effort to render every detail of my reality with the greatest accuracy; but I have never paid attention to whether my presentation of historical facts was an exact one. Indeed, I have often altered evidence which I knew to be documented if it appeared to interfere with my intended effect. Contrary to the scientist, the author of historical novels has the right to choose a lie that enhances illusion over a reality that distracts from it. Hindenburg scolded the artist who painted his portrait for incorrectly reproducing the buttons on his uniform: the painter Liebermann had different views on portraiture. It is not difficult to demonstrate that Homer, the authors of the Bible, Shakespeare, and countless other writers of historical works down to the present day have been surprisingly bold and cavalier in their handling of documented reality.

Success proves their case. Their books, their imaginary legends, epics, dramas, novels, their invented characters and deeds, their "lies" turn out to have more life in them than the facts which scholars have faithfully passed along with the aid of all the material they have critically sifted and sorted through. That contemporary of the Maccabees who made up the story of Queen Esther has had a greater influence in the long run than the historians who chronicled the facts of the rebuilding of the Jewish national state. For most people even today , the imaginary figure of Haman is a much more vital and viable enemy of this same national state than the real King Antiochus who provided the historical model. Perhaps 500 persons apart from myself know that the prototype of Landvogt Gessler was a certain feudal official by the name of Peter von Hagenbach, a discovery that has not yielded anyone any benefits besides the ten pounds Sterling I received for writing the article in which I revealed this discovery of mine. Everyone, however, knows the imaginary figure of William Tell, whose familiarity has had all sorts of tangible consequences. In most cases, a good legend or a good historical novel is more believable, gives a truer picture, is livelier and more suggestive than a precise rendering of historical facts.

I should add that it is open to debate whether what we call the writing of history these days is truly scientific. This is not to minimize the historian, who, armed with the facts and Hegel's philosophy, attempts to discover fundamentals and rules for human development. But would someone who gathers historical data according to a different system be able to make the same scientific claims? However he sorts his materials, does he not by the very way he arranges facts yield up a subjective view of history?-Is he not at best producing art? That old skeptic Talleyrand summed up his experience in a single sentence: "Nothing is easier to arrange than the facts." And Lytton Strachey came up with the happy formulation: It is obvious that history is nothing more than the combination of accumulated facts. If these facts are assembled without artistry, however, the result is no more history than butter, eggs and parsley can claim to be an omelette.

To the extent that the writing of history is an art, it is inconceivable without the principles enunciated by Friedrich Nietzsche. In his book, Untimely Thoughts on the Uses and Disadvantages of History in Our Lives, he insists that history is worth pursuing only as it contributes to life. Once the sense of history becomes autonomous or universal, it begins to erode life; it is up to the malleable forces of life to hold history in check. Let life itself form the role of history according to present and future needs.

The scientist may raise serious objections to the preceding sentences; the author of historical novels will endorse them with both hands. Like the philosopher, the author views his task as one of establishing a clear connection between life and history, and of making the past bear fruit for the present and future.

Benedetto Croce, continuing along the path laid out by Nietzsche, came to the following conclusion: "A sense of the present is the truest characteristic of all living history, as opposed to a mere chronicle." He was driven into exile because the Nazis did not agree that it was the purpose of the past to become part of the present; rather they wanted to lead the present back into the past. Theodor Lessing restated Nietsche's conclusion in the sentence: "History gives meaning to the meaningless." He was murdered by the Nazis, who, to be sure, like to claim Nietzsche as one of their own-the Fuehrer had himself photographed under a bust of Nietzsche-but their mandate is one making sure the senseless remains senseless.

Both the historian and the novelist view history as the struggle of a tiny minority, able and determined to make judgments, which is up against a vast and densely packed majority of the blind, who are led by their instincts and unable to think for themselves.

I believe it is important to depict episodes from earlier phases in this struggle. Reminders of earlier victories and defeats, legends, and historical novels seem to me to be a weapon we can well use at our present stage in this eternal struggle. Our opponents, incidentally, are aware of the value of this weapon; they are recasting human history in the form of sentimental myths, according to their ideological precepts, and they are also busy heating up the historical novel in some of its stalest forms.

Translated by John Ahouse.

Letter 1893

Early pen and ink drawing by Lion Feuchtwanger on letter to his father written in 1893.

Lion Feuchtwanger enjoying a pleasant moment with one of his cats. Photograph by Florence Homolka. Feuchtwanger Memorial Library.

Subject Guide

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Michaela Ullmann
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FEUCHTWANGER'S WRITINGS Listing by Date of Publication

Die Einsamen: Zwei Skizzen. Munich: Monachia, 1903.

Kleine Dramen: Joel. König Saul. Das Weib des Urias. Der arme Heinrich. Donna Bianca. Die Braut von Korinth. 2 volumes. Munich: Müller, 1905-06.

Der Fetisch: Ein Schauspiel. Munich: Müller, 1907.

Heinrich Heines Fragment: "Der Rabbi von Bacherach": Eine kritische Studie. Dissertation. Munich: Kastner & Callwey, 1907.

Der tönere Gott: Roman. Munich: Bonsels, 1910.

Ein' fest Burg ist unser Gott: Volksstück von Arthur Müller für die Bühne bearbeitet von Lion Feuchtwanger. Diessen: Huber, 1911.

Julia Farnese: ein Trauerspiel. Munich: Müller, 1915.

Die Perser des Aischylos: Übersetzung und Nachdichtung. Munich: Müller, 1915; Bühnenmanuskript: Berlin: Bloch Erben; Erstdruck in Fortsetzung: Die Schaubühne, 1914, no. 41-52.

Warren Hastings, Gouveneur von Indien: Schauspiel (spätere Fassung: Kalkutta, 4. Mai) Munich: Müller, 1916. Bühnenmanuskript, Berlin: Bloch Erben.

Vasantasena: Ein Schauspiel in drei Akten nach dem Indischen des Königs Sudraka. Munich: Müller, 1916; revised edition, Munich: Drei Masken, 1924; Potsdam: Kiepenheuer, 1927; Berlin: Bloch Erben.

Pierrots Herrentraum: Pantomine. Musik A. Hartmann-Trepka. Munich: Drei Masken, 1916.

Der König und die Tänzerin: Schauspiel nach Kalidasa. Munich: Müller, 1917.

Friede: ein burleskes Spiel nach den Acharnern und der Eirene des Aristophanes. Munich: Müller, 1918; Bühnenmanuskript, Berlin: Bloch Erben.

Appius und Virginia: Tragödie nach dem Englischen des 17. Jahrhunderts. Munich: Müller, 1918.

Jud Süß: Schauspiel in drei Akten. Munich: Müller, 1918.

Die Kriegsgefangenen: Schauspiel in fünf Akten. Munich: Müller, 1919; Amsterdam: Querido, 1936.

Thomas Wendt: Ein dramatischer Roman. Munich: Müller, 1920; Amsterdam: Querido, 1936.

"Gespräche mit dem Ewigen Juden: Essay" in An den Wassern von Babylon. Munich: Müller, 1920, pp. 52-92.

Der Amerikaner oder Die entzauberte Stadt: Melancholische Komödie in vier Akten. Munich: Drei Masken, 1921.

Der holländische Kaufmann: Schauspiel. Munich: Drei Masken, 1923; Amsterdam: Querido, 1936.

Der Frauenverkäufer: Ein Spiel in drei Akten nach Calderón. Munich: Drei Masken, 1923; Bühnenmanuskript, Berlin: Bloch Erben.

Die häßliche Herzogin: Roman. Berlin: Wegweiser, 1923; 2nd edition, Die häßliche Herzogin Margarete Maultasch. Potsdam: Kiepenheuer, 1926. Amsterdam: Querido, 1936. First English edition: The Ugly Duchess. London: Secker, 1927.

Leben Eduards des Zeiten von England: Historisches Schauspiel nach Marlow (mit Bertolt Brecht). Potsdam: Kiepenheuer, 1924.

Jud Süß: Roman. Munich: Drei Masken, 1925. Berlin: Knaur, 1931; Amsterdam: Querido, 1939. American edition: Power. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1929.

Drei angelsächsiche Stücke: "Die Petroleuminsel;" "Kalkutta, 4. Mai" (newly revised with Bertolt Brecht); "Wird Hill amnestiert?" Berlin: Propyläen, 1927. Bühnenmanuskript: Petroleuminseln. Berlin: Bloch Erben. English edition: Three plays. London: Secker, 1934.

PEP J. L. Wetcheeks amerikanisches Liederbuch: Satirische Gedichte. Potsdam: Kiepenheuer, 1928. English edition: Pep : J. L. Wetcheek's American song book. New York: Viking Press, 1929.

Erfolg. Drei Jahre Geschichte einer Provinz: Roman. (First volume of the Wartesaal Trilogy). Berlin: Kiepenheuer, 1930. Amsterdam: Querido, 1934. English edition: Success. New York: Viking Press, 1930.

Der jüdischer Krieg: Roman (First volume of the Josephus Trilogy). Berlin: Propyläen, 1932. Amsterdam: Querido, 1933. English editions: Josephus. New York: Viking Press, 1932. London: Secker, 1932.

Die Geschwister Oppenheim: Roman. (Second volume of the Wartesaal Trilogy). Amsterdam: Querido, 1933. English edition: The Oppermanns. London: Secker, 1933.

Die Aufgabe des Judentums (with Arnold Zweig). Paris: Europäischer Merkur, 1933.

Gegen die Phrase vom jüdischen Schädling (with Max Brod and A. Holitscher et al.) Prague: Amboss, 1933.

Die Söhne: Roman. (Second volume of the Josephus Trilogy). Amsterdam: Querido, 1935. English edition: The Jew of Rome. London: Hutchinson, 1935. American edition: New York: Viking Press, 1936.

Marianne in Indien und sieben andere Erzählung. Paris: Europäischer Merkur, 1934. English edition: Little Tales. London: M. Secker, 1935.

Foreword in Der gelbe Fleck: Die Ausrottung von 500,00 deutschen Juden. Paris, Carrefour, 1936, pp. 5-6.

Der falsche Nero: Roman. Amsterdam: Querido, 1936. English edition: The Pretender. New York: Viking Press, 1937.

Moskau 1937. Ein Reisebericht für meine Freunde. Amsterdam: Querido, 1937. English edition: Moskow 1937: My Visit Described for My Friends. London: Gollancz, 1937.

Zwei Erzählungen: Nachsaison. Marianne in Indien. Moscow: Meshdunarodnaja kniga, 1939.

Größe und Erbärmlichkeit des Exils in Deutscher Freiheitskalender 1939. Paris: Brant, 1939, pp. 72-77.

Exil: Roman. (Third volume in the Wartesaal Trilogy). Amsterdam: Querido, 1940. American edition: Paris Gazette. New York: The Viking Press, 1940. English edition: London: Hutchinson, 1940.

Unholdes Frankreich: Meine Erlebnisse unter der Regierung Pétain. English edition: The Devil in France. New York: Viking Press, 1941. Mexico: El Libro Libre, 1942. New edition: Der Teufel in Frankreich. Rudolstadt: Greifenverlag, 1954.

Simone: Roman. Stockholm: Neuer Verlag, 1944. English edition: Simone. New York: Viking Press, 1944; London: Hamilton, 1944.

Der Tag wird kommen: Roman. (Third volume of the Josephus Trilogy). English edition: Josephus and the Emperor. New York: Viking Press, 1942. The Day will Come. London, New York, Hutchinson, 1942. New edition: Das gelobte Land. Rudolstadt: Greifenverlag, 1951.

Venedig (Texas) und vierzehn andere Erzählungen. New York: Aurora, 1946.

Waffen für Amerika: Roman. 2 volumes. Amsterdam: Querido, 1947-48. American: Proud Destiny. New York: Viking Press, 1947. English edition: London: Hutchinson, 1948. New edition: Die Füchse im Weinberg. Berlin: Aufbau, 1953.

Wahn oder Der Teufel in Boston: Ein Stück in drei Akten. Los Angeles: Pazifische Press, 1948. New edition: Wahn in Boston. Rudolstadt: Greifenverlag, 1956.

Odysseus und die Schweine und zwölf andere Erzählungen. Berlin: Aufbau, 1950. English edition: London, 1949.

Goya oder Der arge Weg der Erkenntis: Roman. Stockholm: Neuer Verlag, 1951.English edition: This is the Hour. New York: Viking Press, 1951. English: London: Hutchinson, 1952.

Narrenweisheit oder Tod und Verklärung des Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Roman. Los Angeles: Pazifische Presse, 1952. Frankfurt: Frankfurter Verlagsanstalt, 1952. American edition: `Tis folly to be wise; or, Death and Transfiguration of Jean-Jacques Rosseau. New York: J. Messer, 1953.

Josephus Trilogie. Frankfurt: Frankfurter Verlagsanstalt, 1952. English edition?

Stücke in Versen: Vasantasena; Friede; Die Perser. Rudolstadt: Greifenverlag, 1954.

Spanische Ballade: Roman. Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1955. New edition: Die Jüdin von Toledo. Berlin: Aufbau, 1955. English edition: Raquel, The Jewess of Toledo. New York: The New American Library, 1956.

Die Zauberer: Roman. Rudolstadt: Greifenverlag, 1956. New edition: Die Brüder Lautensack. ?? American edition: Double, Double, Toil and Trouble. New York: Viking Press, 1943. English edition: The Lautensack Brothers. London: Hamilton, 1943.

Centum Opuscula: Essays. Rudolstadt: Greifenverlag, 1956. English edition:

Die Witwe Capet: Ein Stück in drei Akten. Rudolstadt: Greifenverlag, 1956. Bühnenmanuskript, Berlin: Bloch Erben. English edition:

Die Gesichte der Simone Marcard (with Bertolt Brecht). Berlin: Suhrkamp, 1957. English edition: The Visions of Simone Marchard. New York: Grove Press, 1965.

Jefta und seine Tochter: Roman. Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1957. English edition: Jephthah and his Daughter. London: Hutchinson, 1958, c1957. American edition: Jephta and his daughter. New York: New American Library [1960, c1958]

Stücke in Prose: Kalkutta, 4. Mai; Die Kriegsgefangenen; Neuzehnhundertachtzehn; Die Petroleuminsel; Wahn oder Der Teufel in Boston. Rudolstadt: Greifenverlag, 1959.

Das Haus der Desdemona oder Größe und Grenzen der historischen Dichtung. Rudolstadt: Greifenverlag, 1961. American edition: The House of Desdemona, or, The Laurels and Limitations of Historical Fiction. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1963.

"Bertolt Brecht 1957" in Erinnerungen an Bertolt Brecht. Leipzig: Reclam, 1964, pp. 358-364.

Gesammelte Werke. 12 volumes. Amsterdam: Querido, 1933-54.

Gesammelte Werke. 20 volumes. Berlin: Aufbau, 1959.