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.
Lion Feuchtwanger on himself (1940)

The Jewish/German Lion Feuchtwanger, born 1884 in Munich, Germany, is probably well known for his book Jew Suess (Jude Süß) published in 1925. The book, well received in England and America, inspired the Nazis in making their propaganda movie "Jude Süß ".

Feuchtwanger studies Germanistik and Philosophy at the University of Munich (1903) where he makes friends with other contemporary writers like Frank Wedekind, Marta Löfler (who he marries in 1913) and Heinrich Mann. The dramatic events in the First World War (He and his wife manage to escape from internment in Tunis) and the Social Revolution in the former Weimar Republic, become two main reasons to become friends with the radical poet Bertolt Brecht. In 1918 he finishes a short play, 'Jude Suß', which is a huge success at several theatres.

Starting from the early twenties he works closely with Brecht: together they write several plays: 'The life of Edward the Second' (Leben Eduards des Zweiten von England, 1924), directed by Brecht and set design by Caspar Neher and 'Calcutta, May 4th' (1925) (Kalkutta, 4. Mai).

1925 is also the year that 'Jude Suß' reappears, now published as a novel: the tale about the tragic life of the Jew Oppenheimer who lived in the 17th century. Obviously, Feuchtwanger's novel draws historical parallel lines with the life of Walter Rathenaus.

In 1927 his short play The Oil Island (Die Petroleuminsel) (with songs composed by Kurt Weill) premieres. The play is probably one of his last works for the theatre in Germany: From 1927 onward, Feuchtwanger concentrates on writing novels. His first book of the trilogy Josephus appears in 1932, in a Germany that is shaken up by the rise of the Nazi party.
In 1933, when Feuchtwanger visits America, Goebbels labels him as the worst enemy to the German people and stripps of his German nationality and doctorate degree. His house and property (including manuscripts) in Berlin are confiscated.

Feuchtwanger finds asylum in France, and starts writing his first political novels against the Nazis, like his Hitler satire, 'The Pretender' (Der falsche Nero) (1936).

Eventually he and his family are interned in Aix-en-Provence (1940), but with the help of his wife, he manages to escape to Spain/Portugal and arrives in America.
He rejoins with Brecht in Los Angeles, collaborates with him on several Anti-Fascist rallies and completes his Josephus trilogy. His American citizenship application is denied: he's being accused of having Communist ideas by the Joseph McCarthy committee.

From 1950, he mainly dedicates himself to portrait Jewish traditions writing several novels like 'Jephta and his daughter' (Jefta und seine Tochter) (1954).

Feuchtwanger dies in 1958, Los Angeles.


Source:
Feuchtwanger Memorial Library

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