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Feuchtwanger Memorial Library was given to the University of Southern
California by Marta Feuchtwanger, the widow of the German exile
writer, Lion Feuchtwanger.
In all, the Library contains nearly 30,000 volumes. Some 8,000 of
the rarest books are housed on the USC campus, while 20,000 volumes
remain on long-term loan at the Feuchtwanger's former residence,
Villa Aurora, in Pacific Palisades.
Feuchtwanger (1884-1958) fled Europe during World War II and lived
in Los Angeles from 1941 until his death in 1958. He began his literary
career as a theater critic and turned his talent to writing plays
in the 1910s and 1920s. He first became internationally known, however,
for his historical novel Jud Süss published in
1925. During his seventeen years in Southern California, he wrote
primarily historical fiction including: Waffen für Amerika
also called Die Füchse im Weinberg (1947-48; Proud
Destiny), Goya oder Der arge Weg der Erkenntnis
(1951; This is the Hour, a Novel about Goya), Spanische
Ballade also called Die Jüdin von Toledo
(1955; Raquel, the Jewess of Toledo), and Jefta
und seine Tochter (1957; Jephta and his Daughter).
Feuchtwanger's library reflects his interests in different historical
periods and contains several noteworthy smaller collections of primary
and secondary sources focusing on such subjects as Greek and Latin
classics, Jewish and biblical history, the Enlightenment, French
Revolution, German literature, and exile literature.
and Latin Classics
by Lion Feuchtwanger included Cicero, Juvenal, Ovid, Sophocles, Thucydides,
Virgil, Xenophon, among others.
a trilogy covering the life of Flavius Josephus, a Jewish historian
of the first century: Der jüdische Krieg (1932; Josephus),
Die Söhne (1935; The Jew of Rome) and
Der Tag wird kommen (1942; The Day will Come,
also called Josephus and the Emperor). Feuchtwanger acquired
a large collection of the various editions and translations of the works
of Flavius Josephus spanning 400 years of printing. The earliest of
these is a Florentine edition from 1493 in Italian. Chronologically
follow seven 16th century imprints, including a 1544 Greek edition by
Froben, the famous Swiss printer. Feuchtwanger's collection also contains
two seventeenth century editions, five 18th century imprints, and one
19th century volume.
As a lover of books
who was interested in the history of printing, Feuchtwanger enjoyed
collecting early printed books. One of his favorites was the Liber
Chronicarum (the Nuremberg Chronicle) written by
Hartmann Schedel and printed in 1493 by Anton Koberger. In all, there
are eighteen incunabula.
extensive collection of first editions and secondary works from this
period include works by Voltaire, Rousseau, Diderot, Condorcet and Helvétius.
Of special interest is the seventy-volume first edition of Voltaire's
collected works edited by Beaumarchais and printed in Germany to circumvent
several novels set around the time of the French Revolution and collected
material from this period to support his research. In addition to books,
he acquired pamphlets, defences of, and attacks on, the Jacobins, and
political caricatures. One of the most interesting items in this group
is a copy of Le Moniteur Universel covering the years from
1792-1813. This newspaper, founded by the famous Parisian bookseller
Panckoucke, was the official governmental news organ under Napoleon.
The newspaper is a rich source for social and economic history, as it
covers not only the political events of the time, but also discusses
the arts, the stock market, food prices, and more. Feuchtwanger's copy
of Le Moniteur belonged to Napoleon's only son, the Duke
Feuchtwanger assembled an extensive collection of German first editions
from the eighteenth century Sturm und Drang, and from the Romantic
and Poetic Realism movements of the nineteenth century. Represented
in first editions are Goethe, Grillparzer, Heine, Immermann, Jean-Paul,
Klopstock, Lessing, Schiller, and Wieland.
was a well known member of the exile community
in Los Angeles and kept in contact with many of his fellow literary
exiles, he was given numerous inscribed copies of first editions by
such writers and personal friends as Alfred Döblin, Bruno Frank,
Oskar Maria Graf, Heinrich Mann, Thomas Mann, Ludwig Marcuse, Franz
Werfel, and Arnold Zweig. There is as well manuscript material by some
of these individuals.
Editions and Translations
The library contains
a virtually complete collection of Feuchtwanger's own works in their
numerous editions and translations. During his long career as a writer,
Feuchtwanger wrote 19 plays, 19 novels, and numerous short stories and
essays. Feuchtwanger's works have been, and continue to be, published
in many countries, and his works have been translated into more than
For more information
contact the Feuchtwanger Librarian.