THE IMAGE OF GOD IN THE WORKS OF FRANZ WERFEL

Natalia Volokitina

Abstract


F. Werfel (1890-1945) – a representative of Austrian expressionism. A Jew by birth, he was interested in theology from an early age. One of the main themes of his work was the theme of man’s faith in God. The religious quest of Franz Werfel, depending on his life circumstances (military service, marriage to a Catholic, the death of his son) and world cataclysms (World War I, the breakup of Austria-Hungary) passed through periods of faith in God, his strength, and doubts about his justice (“The Creation of Music” 1913, “The Death of Moses” 1914, “Theology” 1914, “The Creation of Joke” 1918, “The Blasphemy of Madness” 1918) and the denial of the existence of God in general (“The Black Mass” 1919, “The Man from the Mirror” 1920). God appears in the novels and dramas of Werfel then as an evil and unjust judge and executioner, then as a mad beggar, and then as the creator of beauty. In this work, we want to explore in detail the causes of Werfel’s religious offerings, the stages in the evolution of his attitude towards God, and changes in the image of God in his novels and plays.

Keywords


God, Expressionism, Werfel, faith, religious motives, Judaism, Austrian literature

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.13165/SMS-17-9-2-10

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"Societal studies" ISSN online 2029-2244 / ISSN print 2029-2236