born July 7, 1884, Munich, Ger.
died Dec. 21, 1958, Los Angeles, Calif., U.S.
German novelist and playwright known for his
Born of a Jewish family, Feuchtwanger studied
philology and literature at Berlin and Munich
(1903–07) and took his doctorate in 1918 with a
dissertation on poet Heinrich Heine. Also in
1918 he founded a literary journal, Der Spiegel.
His first historical novel was Die hässliche
Herzogin (1923; The Ugly Duchess), about
Margaret Maultasch, duchess of Tirol. His finest
novel, Jud Süss (1925; also published as Jew
Süss and Power), set in 18th-century Germany,
revealed a depth of psychological analysis that
remained characteristic of his subsequent
work—the Josephus-Trilogie (Der jüdische Krieg,
1932; Die Söhne, 1935; Der Tag wird kommen,
1945); Die Geschwister Oppenheim (1933; The
Oppermanns), a novel of modern life; and Der
falsche Nero (1936; The Pretender). Jud Süss
tells the story of a brilliant and charismatic
Jewish financier who adroitly manages the
revenues of the Duke of Württemberg. After the
tragic death of his daughter, Süss voluntarily
renounces the pursuit of power and is tried and
executed by his political enemies.
Exiled in 1933, Feuchtwanger moved to France;
from there he escaped to the United States in
1940 after some months in an internment camp,
described in The Devil in France (1941; later
published in its original German as Unholdes
Frankreich and Der Teufel in Frankreich). Of his
later works the best known are Waffen für
Amerika (1947; also published as Die Füchse im
Weinberg; Eng. trans. Proud Destiny), Goya oder
der arge Weg der Erkenntnis (1951; This Is the
Hour), and Jefta und seine Tochter (1957;
Jephthah and His Daughter). He translated
Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II (in
collaboration with playwright Bertolt Brecht)
and plays by Aeschylus and Aristophanes.