Destiny's Journey

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About the author:
Alfred Döblin (1878-1957) was an assimilated and ambivalent Prussian Jew, a psychiatrist, critic, essayist, mystic, and novelist. His works are considered classics of German modernism and include The Three Leaps of Wang Lun (1915), Wallenstein (1920) and Berlin Alexanderplatz (1929). When he fled Germany for Paris in 1933, he was one of the country's best-known authors and a serious contender for the Nobel Prize. His refugee trajectory, documented in Destiny's Journey (1949), led through Marseilles, Lisbon and New York to the colony of European exile intellectuals in Hollywood. His entourage included his wife and children as well as the woman who was his long-time lover. In 1941, after a long period of religious searching, he converted to Catholicism. In a review of Destiny's Journey, critic John Simon wrote: "Döblin was not at peace with any religion, philosophy, political theory, literary school or style. Though a Jew, he early on rejected many aspects of Judaism. Though a socialist, he had no use for Marx and militancy. Though a Westerner, Eastern mysticism played a substantial role in his thought." Alfred Döblin returned to Germany in 1945 at the war's end. He could not adjust to life there and, with his wife, resettled in Paris in the early 1950s.

Destiny's Journey

Authored by Alfred Döblin
Translated by Edna McCown

Reissued as a paperback by Plunkett Lake Press, Destiny's Journey is a memoir reconstructed partly from notebooks that Döblin kept from the time he worked in the French Ministry of Information in the spring of 1940 and partly written without notes in Los Angeles where he took refuge during the Second World War. It tells the personal and generational story of the flight of Jewish and anti-Nazi intellectuals from Europe to America, their fear and frustration, isolation, and inability to work. Döblin's story differs from that of other Jewish intellectuals and artists in that his family converts to Catholicism in Los Angeles. Unlike most of them, he returns to Europe as an officer with the French forces and works on denazifying German literature. The conversion narrative bridges the departure from and return to Europe. "The first part of 'Destiny's Journey' [about] Döblin's departure from Paris [in] 1940... is magisterial: acidly observed, saturated in telling detail, grimly comic and harrowing... with an exemplary introduction by Peter Demetz... an important, nourishing book" - John Simon, The New York Times

Publication Date:
1499251963 / 9781499251968
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
6" x 9"
Black and White
Related Categories:
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs

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