Werfel’s Autograph Letter to Heinrich Mann

Franz Werfel’s Holograph letter to Heinrich Mann.

One page handwritten letter in ink on bifolio. Size: 156 × 203 mm. Signed and dated in Prague, on December 31, 1916. In fine condition.

Franz Werfel’s autograph letter to Heinrich Mann.

Werfel proposes Heinrich Mann to meet Mimi Ederer, who – according to Werfel – has read and admires Mann’s books, and would like to meet him in person. The letter dates on the last day of 1916, while Werfel was on a short leave (“nur auf kurzen Urlaub in Europa”) in Prague during his service on the the Russian front.

Franz Werfel (1890–1945) was an Austrian-Bohemian Jewish author. His first book of poems was published in 1911, and soon after that he became member of the Prague Circle of German-speaking Jewish writers, whose members were Franz Kafka, Max Brod and Egon Erwin Kisch. In 1912 Werfel moved to Germany, where he established friendship with the most eminent German-speaking writers and intellects, his relation to Heinrich Mann is probably also dates at this point. During World War I he served as a telephone operator in the Austro-Hungarian army on the Russian front. After the War he settled down in Vienna, published his novels, and became one of the most prominent and best-selling author of the time. His masterpiece “The Forty Days of Musa Dagh" appeared in 1933 based on the true events of the Armenian Genocide by the Turks during World War I. After the Anschluss, the German annexation of Austria in 1938, he was forced into exile, first to France and finally across the Pyrenees together with Heinrich Mann and other refugees, to the United States. He died in Los Angeles in 1945.

Mimi Ederer is mentioned in Grete Fischer’s autobiography as her handsome classmate in secondary school in Prague. Grete Fischer (1893–1977) was an emigrant writer in the UK, and during her early years in Prage was close friend with Franz Werfel and Egon Erwin Kisch (the latter also new Mimi Ederer, and mentions her in his correspondence with his family).

(Bibl.: Fischer, G.: Dienstboten, Brecht und Andere. Zeitgenossen in Prag, Berlin, London. London: Walter-Olten, 1966. pp. 63–66.; Kisch, E. E.; Poláček, J. [ed.].: Briefe an den Bruder Paul und an die Mutter 1905–1936. Berlin: Aufbau, 1978. p. 108 and 190.]

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Price: €2,500.00