Felix Salten

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Felix Salten
Felix Salten 1910.jpg
Felix Salten, ca. 1910
Born Siegmund Salzmann
(1869-09-06)6 September 1869
Pest, Austria-Hungary
Died 8 October 1945(1945-10-08) (aged 76)
Zurich, Switzerland
Resting place Israelitischer Friedhof (Friesenberg), Fluntern, Zurich, Switzerland
Occupation Writer
Nationality Austrian
Notable works The Hound of Florence
Bambi, a Life in the Woods
Bambi's Children
Spouse Ottilie Metzl
Children Paul


Felix Salten (6 September 1869 – 8 October 1945) was an Austrian author and critic in Vienna. His most famous work is Bambi, a Life in the Woods (1923).

Life and death[edit]

Salten was born Siegmund Salzmann in Pest, Hungary, the grandson of an Orthodox rabbi. When he was four weeks old, his family relocated to Vienna, Austria. Many Jews were immigrating into the city during the late 19th century because Vienna had granted full citizenship to Jews in 1867.

When his father became bankrupt, the sixteen-year-old Salten quit school and began working for an insurance agency. He also began submitting poems and book reviews to journals. He became part of the "Young Vienna" movement (Jung Wien) and soon received work as a full-time art and theater critic for Vienna's press (Wiener Allgemeine Zeitung, Zeit). In 1900 he published his first collection of short stories. In 1901 he initiated Vienna's first, short-lived literary cabaret Jung-Wiener Theater Zum lieben Augustin.

He was soon publishing, on an average, one book a year, of plays, short stories, novels, travel books, and essay collections. He also wrote for nearly all the major newspapers of Vienna. In 1906 Salten went to Ullstein as an editor in chief of the B.Z. am Mittag and the Berliner Morgenpost, but relocated to Vienna some months later. He wrote also film scripts and librettos for operettas. In 1927 he became president of the Austrian P.E.N. club as successor of Arthur Schnitzler.

His most famous work is Bambi (1923). It was translated into English in 1928 and became a Book-of-the-Month Club success. In 1933, he sold the film rights to the American director Sidney Franklin for only $1,000, and Franklin later transferred the rights to the Walt Disney studios, which formed the basis of the 1942 animated classic, Bambi.

Life in Austria became perilous for a prominent Jew during the 1930s. Adolf Hitler had Salten's books banned in 1936. Two years later, after Germany's annexation of Austria, Salten moved to Zurich, Switzerland, with his wife, and spent there his final years. Felix Salten died on 8 October 1945, at the age of 76. He is buried at Israelitischer Friedhof Unterer Friesenberg.

Salten married actress Ottilie Metzl (1868–1942) in 1902, and had two children: Paul (1903–1937) and Anna Katharina (1904–1977). He composed another book based on the character Bambi, titled Bambi's Children: The Story of a Forest Family (1939). His stories Perri and The Hound of Florence inspired the Disney films Perri (1957) and The Shaggy Dog (1959), respectively.

Salten is now considered to be the anonymous author of a celebrated erotic novel, Josephine Mutzenbacher: The Life Story of a Viennese Whore, as Told by Herself (1906).

Selected works[edit]

Selected filmography[edit]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Eddy, Beverley Driver: Felix Salten: Man of Many Faces. Riverside (Ca.): Ariadne Press, 2010. ISBN 978-1-57241-169-2.
  • Seibert, Ernst & Blumesberger, Susanne (eds.): Felix Salten – der unbekannte Bekannte. Wien 2006. ISBN 3-7069-0368-7.

External links[edit]