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in Southern California
Felix Salten (1869-1945)
Felix Salten (originally
named Siegmund Salzmann) was born in Budapest, Hungary. His writing
career began unexpectedly when his wrote poems and short stories to
relieve the boredom of his job at an insurance agency. He began selling
his work to newspapers and publishing them under a number of pseudonyms,
one of which he later took as his legal name. He became a member of
the Young Vienna group and became good friends with Arthur Schnitzler.
In 1902 he married actress Ottilie Metz; their two children, Paul and
Anna-Katherina, were born in the two following years. He worked as a
journalist in Berlin and Vienna, first as editor for the Berliner Morgenpost,
then later serving as theater critic for the Wiener Allgemeinen Zeitung.
With the 1938 German annexation of Austria, Salten and his wife emigrated
to Switzerland with help from their daughter. They lived in Zurich together
until his wife's death in 1942.
He also wrote historical
fiction, including Prinz Eugen (1915), and a few plays. He is best known
for his stories about animals - his most famous the story of a deer named
Bambi. His novel Bambi (1923) was the basis for the 1941/42 animation film
by Walt Disney. Unfortunately Salten sold the rights to his book in 1933
so the tremendous success of the film brought him little financial gain.
At the invitation of the
Carnegie Foundation, in 1930 Salten and a group of colleagues traveled
to the United States. He wrote about his impressions of this country in
Fünf Minuten Amerika (Five Minutes America) published in 1931. This
is how he described Southern California:
sun. Luscious, green, fertile land, that shines as though polished. Excesses
of flowers, revolutions of colors, orgies of stupefying scents. Palms and
pines and ash; heliotropes, roses, gladiolas and carnations, everything
has exagerated dimensions." p. 89-90.
Years in Southern California:
Literatur des 20. Jahrhunderts. Edited by Manfred Brauneck. Reinbeck bei
Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1991.
Dormer, Lore Muerdel. "Felix
Salten." In Major figures of turn-of-the-century Austrian literature edited
by Donald Daviau. Riverside, CA: Ariadne Press, 1991, pp. 407-40.
Salten, Felix. Fünf
Minuten Amerika. Berlin: Paul Zsolnay, 1931.
Created May 1997.
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contact the Feuchtwanger Librarian.