Franz Werfel

Werfel, Franz (fränts vĕrˈfəl) [key], 1890–1945, Austrian writer, b. Prague. He expressed his belief in the brotherhood of man in lyric verse, in expressionist and conventional plays, and in novels. He fled from Nazi-occupied Austria to France and then to the United States. Besides several volumes of poems, his work includes the dramas Bockgesang (1921, tr. Goat Song, 1926), Juarez und Maximilian (1924, tr. 1926), Paulus unter den Juden (1926, tr. Paul among the Jews, 1928), and the comedy Jacobowsky und der Oberst (1945; adaptation by S. N. Behrman, Jacobowsky and the Colonel, 1944). He is best known in the United States for the novels Vierzig Tage des Musa Dagh (1933, tr. The Forty Days of Musa Dagh, 1934), recounting the struggle of the Armenians against the Turks in World War I, and Das Lied von Bernadette (1941, tr. The Song of Bernadette, 1942), about the saint from Lourdes.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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