Werfel, Franz (1890–1945) [REVISED AND EXPANDED] By Howard, Christian; de Beun, Cyril
Franz Viktor Werfel was a Jewish-born Austrian novelist, poet, playwright, essayist, and translator best known in the Anglophone world for his works of historical fiction, including The Forty Days of Musa Dagh (1933) and The Song of Bernadette (1943). Werfel also greatly contributed to the development of expressionist poetry in the German language, and in 1929 he was awarded the Grillparzer Prize by the Austrian Academy of Sciences for his dramatic work. Although his novels contributed very largely to his literary fame, Werfel held his poetry in a higher regard. Very well connected within the literary world, Werfel married Alma Mahler in 1929. The couple relocated to Los Angeles in 1938, and several of Werfel’s works were subsequently turned into films. Werfel died of a heart attack in August 1945.