Wednesday, September 02, 2009


The be cloaked fellow above is one Joseph Roth born this day in Brody, 1894, in the easternmost reaches of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Most famous for his lovely novel The Radetzky March, the arch type of the Golden Age of Austrian literature. Even though his birthplace is in modern day Ukraine, he is still considered one of the best Austrian writers of all time. I managed to slog through it, and it is well worth the time. If you like that kind of stuff. Shortly after Hitler took power in Germany Roth send fellow author Stefan Zweig the following letter.
"You will have realized by now that we are drifting towards great catastrophes. Apart from the private - our literary and financial existence is destroyed - it all leads to a new war. I won't bet a penny on our lives. They have succeeded in establishing a reign of barbarity. Do not fool yourself. Hell reigns."
Pretty far seeing since Hell was in fact coming to Europe in the guise of the Second World War. However, Roth would not live to see it he died in Paris from the effects of chronic alcoholism in 1939. But for writing lovely prose about the nostalgic period before World War I, Joseph Roth (September 2th, 1894-May 27th, 1939), you are my hero of the day.

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