Overview

The Forty Days of Musa Dagh is Franz Werfel's masterpiece that brought him international acclaim in 1933, drawing the world's attention to the Armenian genocide. This is the story of how the people of several Armenian villages in the mountains along the coast of present-day Turkey and Syria chose not to obey the deportation order of the Turkish government. Instead, they fortified a plateau on the slopes of Musa Dagh—Mount Moses—and repelled Turkish soldiers and military police during the summer of 1915 while ...
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The Forty Days of Musa Dagh

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Overview

The Forty Days of Musa Dagh is Franz Werfel's masterpiece that brought him international acclaim in 1933, drawing the world's attention to the Armenian genocide. This is the story of how the people of several Armenian villages in the mountains along the coast of present-day Turkey and Syria chose not to obey the deportation order of the Turkish government. Instead, they fortified a plateau on the slopes of Musa Dagh—Mount Moses—and repelled Turkish soldiers and military police during the summer of 1915 while holding out hope for the warships of the Allies to save them.

The original English translation by Geoffrey Dunlop has been revised and expanded by translator James Reidel and scholar Violet Lutz. The Dunlop translation, had excised approximately 25% of the original two-volume text to accommodate the Book-of-the-Month club and to streamline the novel for film adaptation. The restoration of these passages and their new translation gives a fuller picture of the extensive inner lives of the characters, especially the hero Gabriel Bagradian, his wife Juliette, their son Stephan—and Iskuhi Tomasian, the damaged, nineteen-year-old Armenian woman whom the older Bagradian loves. What is more apparent now is the personal story that Werfel tells, informed by events and people in his own life, a device he often used in his other novels as well, in which the author, his wife Alma, his stepdaughter Manon Gropius, and others in his circle are reinvented. Reidel has also revised the existing translation to free Werfel's stronger usages from Dunlop's softening of meaning, his effective censoring of the novel in order to fit the mores and commercial contingencies of the mid-1930s.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781567925159
  • Publisher: Godine, David R. Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/25/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 936
  • Sales rank: 353,891
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Franz Werfel, the great German-language poet, essayist, novelist, and dramatist, was born in Prague in 1890. He wrote The Forty Days of Musa Dagh while living in Vienna, but he and his wife were forced to flee in 1938. They later settled in Los Angeles.
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Table of Contents

Introduction ix
Book 1 Coming Events
1. Teskere 3
2. Konak--Hamam--Selamlik 22
3. The Notables of Yoghonoluk 41
4. The First Incident 65
5. Interlude of the Gods 123
6. The Great Assembly 152
7. The Funeral of the Bells 236
Book 2 The Struggle of the Weak
1. Life on the Mountain 295
2. The Exploits of the Boys 338
3. The Procession of Fire 395
4. Sato's Ways 483
Book 3 Disaster, Rescue, the End
1. Interlude of the Gods 529
2. Stephan Sets Out and Returns 566
3. Pain 612
4. Decline and Temptation 637
5. The Altar Flame 679
6. The Script in the Fog 754
7. To the Inexplicable in Us and Above Us! 811
List of Characters 819
Glossary of Armenian and Turkish Terms 821
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 6 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(4)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2006

    Stirring novel that permeates the human spirit

    How do I begin describing this book? this marvelous novel penned by an Austrian writer who was not indebted to the Armenian people and owed them nothing. How do I describe and compress this eight-hundred page long book into a miniscule summary? The truth of the matter is, is that words alone cannot describe Franz Werfel's 'The Forty Days of Musa Dagh'. It is too grand a story that should, rather, be read by everyone and experienced to the greatest extent possible in the human spirit. The novel revolves around the life and culture of the Armenian people in a Western region of Syria in 1915. The Ottoman Empire, lead by the Young Turkish leadership have enacted the state-wide policy of genocide against the Armenians. Sensing the impending the danger, the 4,000 people of this region are forced to take shelter on the towering and biblical mountain of Musa Dagh. With a Turkish military force encircling the mountain, it is up to the Armenians to defend their way of life or die and vanish into history. I do not wish to impede on others' reviews and assert my position on whether or not they are correct, it is their opinions after all however, those who gave this book a one star rating did it out of malice and contempt over what they see as a misrepresentation of their country's history. Rather they looked at what the book was professing about and instead of placing what they thought of a well-written novel, they placed their version of the events of 1915. It is of no matter, it is up to the reader to gain an understanding from what the reviewer provides. Werfel composes a beaufiful note which instills the reader's spirt with much more than words, it gives them hope, it gives them proof that perhaps there are happy and positive stories that stem from tragedies. Werfel couldn't have done it any better.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2003

    passion was involved in writing this masterpiece, passion for the suffered armenian people's fate and for the author's at the moment love for Alma Mahler

    This half forgotten author wrote a masterpeace of the half forgotten fate of the first genocide of the 20th century

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2012

    I've read this book three times: at age 18 (in Hungarian), and


    I've read this book three times: at age 18 (in Hungarian), and at age 38 and 60 respectively, in English.
    No book I've ever read in my lifetime left me with such a deep understanding of how history and
    human tragedy are intimately intertwined. A true masterpiece!
    Thank you Franz Werfel for giving humanity such a legacy.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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