Joseph Roth's March Into History: From the Early Novels to Radetzkymarsch and Die Kapuzinergruft

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Camden House, 2008 - Literary Criticism - 223 pages
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Joseph Roth was one of the most significant German-language writers of the interwar period, yet few major studies of his work have been published in English. Kati Tonkin's monograph spans Roth's novelistic career, challenging the widely held assumption that his writing can be divided into an early "socialist" and a later "monarchist" phase: that his late novels Radetzkymarsch and Die Kapuzinergruft are deeply nostalgic, presenting an idealized picture of the Habsburg Empire, a "backward-turned utopia." In contrast, Tonkin reads the later works not as escapist but as attempts to grasp the reasons for the failure of the empire. The historical context in which Roth operated -- that of the late empire and its successor states -- has been a focus of renewed interest since the end of the Cold War, as Central Europe re-emerges as a region with a distinct historical and cultural identity steeped in multinational Habsburg traditions, and Central European nations accede to the European Union. This book will therefore be of interest to students and scholars of early-20th-century Central European literature, history, and culture; of the socio-cultural environment of the late Habsburg Empire; of Jewish identity in German-speaking Central Europe; and of national identity in the multinational context. Kati Tonkin is Lecturer in German and European Studies at the University of Western Australia.

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