Franz Werfel

Czech-born poet, playwright, and novelist, whose central themes were religious faith, heroism, and human brotherhood. Werfel's best-known works include THE FORTY DAYS OF MUSA DAGH (1933), and THE SONG OF BERNADETTE (1941). Werfel was educated in Prague. While still a gymnasium student, he met Franz Kafka and Max Brod - like Kafka, Werfel was a German-speaking Jew and never forgot his Jewish background. Werfel's first verse collection, DER WELTFREUND (1911), was an euphoric celebration of human brotherhood.Werfel's work created a sensation and became a landmark in the history of expressionism. In 1916 Werfel adapted for stage Euripides's The Trojan Women, a plea for peace and love in time, when poets, like Rupert Brooke in England, wrote about "glamorous death”. After the war Werfel worked as a full-time writer, and turned more and more to the drama and the novel. His plays were especially popular in England and in the United States. Most of his plays were produced by Max Reinhardt. Werfel's verse trilogy DER SPIEGELMENSCH (1921) was inspired by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's FAUST and Henrik Ibsen's PER GYNT. Influenced by Expressionism in German drama, Werfel wrote THE GOAT SONG (1921), based on the idea of the unredeemed animal in man. Werfel's major novels dealt with music, history, and Catholic faith, although he never converted.