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Discussion of critical response to German poet, playwright and novelist Werfel, 1890-1945.
This book is the first to discuss the critical response to Franz Werfel (1890-1945), the German writer acclaimed in several genres, poetry, drama and the novel. His first collection of lyric poetry, Der Weltfreund (1911), made him famous in German-speaking countries as a leading Expressionist poet, admired by his contemporaries; his dramas were premiered on important stages in Germany and Austria, and during his exile in America the Broadway production of his play Jacobowsky and the Colonel won a Critics' Award in 1944. As a novelist, Werfel gained much popular success, with English translations of his novels becoming bestsellers. However, after his death in 1945 his popularity declined precipitately, and only recently has there been a revival of critical interest in his work. Franz Werfel and the Critics highlights the aspects of his work which have aroused the most critical interest, shows the trends in Werfel criticism which have shaped his reputation as a writer and thinker, and indicates areas for future research; it also discusses responses to Werfel's controversial religious and political beliefs.