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Modes of FaithSecular Surrogates for Lost Religious Belief$
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Theodore Ziolkowski

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780226983639

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226983660.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 19 September 2021

The God that Failed

The God that Failed

Chapter:
(p.119) Chapter Six The God that Failed
Source:
Modes of Faith
Author(s):

Theodore Ziolkowski

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226983660.003.0006

A free-floating “faith” longing for an object was, according to Thomas Mann in the chapter “On Faith” in his Reflections of a Nonpolitical Man (1918), the hallmark of the age at the end of World War I. Mann's analysis was describing the mythophilic German, but also applies equally well to the internationally minded socialists and communists who were emerging in Germany and other countries in opposition to the nationalists of Fascist and Nazi tendency. In both cases, the political faith was a surrogate for religious belief. Richard Crossman came up with the inspired title The God That Failed (1949) for his anthology of autobiographical essays by six writers who were initially attracted to and then turned away from communism. This chapter focuses on three writers who share with the contributors to Crossman's anthology and with other former Communists the understanding that socialism and communism constituted for many of its believers in the first half of the twentieth century a surrogate for lost faith. They are Roger Martin du Gard, Alfred Döblin, and Ignazio Silone.

Keywords:   socialism, communism, lost faith, Germany, Roger Martin du Gard, Alfred Döblin, Ignazio Silone, religious belief, Richard Crossman, Thomas Mann

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