Page 112 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 41

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JEW ISH BOOK ANNUAL
haps the first anti-Nazi novel ever written, which investigates the
miscarriages o f justice tha t gave to H itler such a boost and advan­
tage. They appear ju s t as often in
Paris Gazette
(1940), a novel o f
German refugees in Parisian exile.
Feuchtwanger, o f course, did not limit himself to Jewish
themes or to the dilemmas o f the artist in exile. In his early plays
and novels he was much preoccupied with the polarities o f power-
resignation, action-contemplation, N ie tz s c h e -B u d d h a . /^
Suess
in its original form as a play centered on these polarities. Even the
novel was to be given over to these themes, bu t the unpara lleled
anti-Semitism o f the post-war years 1919-1923 injected the
exposed state o f Jews as a primary concern.
Feuchtwanger concerned himself equally with the polarity o f
internationalism-nationalism , and in the several novels revolving
about it Jews play at least some role. As one who had especially
un fo rtuna te personal experiences in World War I when he
encoun tered nationalist frenzy on both the German and French
sides, he remained th roughou t his life an implacable foe o f the
tribal spirit.
LEFTIST LEANINGS
When Feuchtwanger became convinced in the mid-1930’s tha t
the Western bourgeois democracies p re fe r red Hitler to socialism
— or, as stated in France, “be tter H itler than Blum”— he began to
perceive in Stalinist Russia the main bulwark o f defense against
the ever expand ing Nazism. He moved ever more leftward and ,
following a trip from his French exile to the Soviet Union and a
much publicized interview with Stalin, his name was linked p e r ­
manently with strong pro-Communist views.
In the 1940’s he added to his reperto ire o f themes tha t o f revo­
lution. In
Proud Destiny
(1947), a novel concerning the role of
Beaumarchais and Franklin in the French Revolution;
This Is The
Hour: A Goya Novel
(1951), which depicted the transform ation of
the uninsp ired court pa in ter Goya into a socially committed a r t­
ist; and T
is Folly To Be Wise
or
Death and Transfiguration ofJean-
Jacques Rousseau
(1952), which considered the various percep ­
tions o f the social theories o f the g rea t French
philosophe,
Feuchtwanger revealed his own ambiguous attitudes toward rev­
olution. While the cost o f revolution was high and perhaps
excessive, there may well come a time when it may be desirable to