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by Joseph Roth,Michael Hofmann
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Historical
  • Author:
    Joseph Roth,Michael Hofmann
  • ISBN:
    1862075786
  • ISBN13:
    978-1862075788
  • Genre:
  • Publisher:
    Granta Books (February 20, 2003)
  • Pages:
    323 pages
  • Subcategory:
    Historical
  • Language:
  • FB2 format
    1677 kb
  • ePUB format
    1569 kb
  • DJVU format
    1288 kb
  • Rating:
    4.4
  • Votes:
    134
  • Formats:
    mobi lit docx mbr


Roth reports, Hitler’s main ally was von Hindenburg – a man who boasted of never having read a book. Roth wrote reports on the lives and conditions of the Jews who would come into Berlin from the East in the early 1920s.

Roth reports, Hitler’s main ally was von Hindenburg – a man who boasted of never having read a book. Roth further cited the Nazi book burning as proof of their anti-intellectual position. What was interesting was this. First, we saw Roth evolving as a human being. His reports are full of color and essentially an anthropological approach. The people he writes about our extremely poor and mostly uneducated with customs the newspaper readers must have found exotic.

What I Saw: Reports from Berlin, 1920-1933 is a book of reportage by the writer Joseph Roth from the era of the Weimar Republic

What I Saw: Reports from Berlin, 1920-1933 is a book of reportage by the writer Joseph Roth from the era of the Weimar Republic. The selection of pieces from Roth's large journalistic output was made by Michael Bienert and published in German in 1996. The English translation with the present title was made by Michael Hofmann and appeared in 2003.

Roth's metaphors are a treat, and when Hofmann observes that two of their major sources lie in typography (railway lines as hyphens across the globe) and in the poetry of Rilke (the shrieks of the crowd dirtying the soundwaves) he underscores Roth's generous sensibility. The only fault of this lovely book lies with its production: misplaced asterisks and notes, pale pictures, photographs used twice, absent captions, an inexplicable blank page. Roth would not have stood for it.

The Joseph Roth revival has finally gone mainstream with the thunderous reception for What I Saw, a book that has become a classic with five hardcover printings.

He produced a series of impressionistic and political essays that influenced an entire generation of writers, including Thomas Mann and the young Christopher Isherwood. Translated and collected here for the first time, these pieces record the violent social and political paroxysms that constantly threatened to undo the fragile democracy that was the Weimar Republic. The Joseph Roth revival has finally gone mainstream with the thunderous reception for What I Saw, a book that has become a classic with five hardcover printings.

In 1920, Joseph Roth, the most renowned German correspondent of his age . Michael Hofmann's introduction is also quite interesting. Start by marking What I Saw: Reports from Berlin 1920-33 as Want to Read: Want to Read savin. ant to Read. This book consists of a number of short newspaper vignettes published by Joseph Roth when he was working as a journalist in early 20th century Berlin. Having said that, this is not "journalism" in the sense that we usually think of today.

Joseph Roth's reports from Berlin, collected in What I Saw, illuminate the early days of Nazism, says James . Through the championship of Michael Hofmann, the name of the Austrian writer Joseph Roth has become known in this country.

Joseph Roth's reports from Berlin, collected in What I Saw, illuminate the early days of Nazism, says James Buchan. Hofmann's translations of Radetzkymarsch (1932) and Die Geschichte von der 1002. Nacht (1939), vivid and melancholy novels of the twilight of the Austro-Hungarian empire, have brought Roth out of the shadow of Robert Musil and Thomas Mann. Yet, in his lifetime, Roth was known chiefly as a literary journalist, one of the very best in the German-speaking countries.

p. cm. Included index. THIS BOOK - THE first collection of Joseph Roth’s journalism to appear in English - is a direct translation of a German selection made in 1996 by Michael Bienert: Joseph Roth in Berlin, subtitled Ein Lesebuch fur Spaziergänger (a reader for walkers). It is, I think, an admirable selection, not least because Bienert is fully qualified to serve two masters: He has literary training, and he works, or has worked, as a tour guide in Berlin.

Joseph Roth, translated by Michael Hofmann. Published by Granta Books. What I Saw: Reports from Berlin 1920-33. Joseph Roth, translated by Michael Hofmann. He produced a series of impressionistic and political writings that influenced an entire generation of writers, including Thomas Mann and the young Christopher Isherwood.

Joseph Roth, Michael Hofmann. Roth, like no other German writer of his time, ventured beyond Berlin's official veneer to the heart of the city, chronicling the lives of its forgotten inhabitants - the Jewish immigrants, the criminals, the bathhouse denizens, and the nameless dead who filled the.

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In 1920, Joseph Roth, the most renowned German correspondent of his age, arrived in Berlin, the capital of the Weimar Republic. He produced a series of impressionistic and political writings that influenced an entire generation of writers, including Thomas Mann and the young Christopher Isherwood. Translated and collected here, these pieces record the violent social and political paroxysms that constantly threatened to undo the fragile democracy that was the Weimar Republic. Roth, like no other German writer of his time, ventured beyond Berlin's offical veneer to the heart of the city, chronicling the lives of its forgotten inhabitants - the war cripples, the Jewish immigrants, the criminals, the bathhouse denizens and the nameless dead who filled the morgues - as well as more whimsical aspects of the city - the public parks and the burgeoning entertainment industry. Warning early on of the threat posed by the Nazis, Roth evoked a landscape of moral bankruptcy and debauched beauty, creating in the process a memorable portrait of a city.

Garr
Let's say you don't want to read a history, long on details, about Berlin during the years of the Weimar Republic. At the same time, let's say you're interested in daily life in Jazz Age Berlin and would enjoy an unconventional yet perceptive view of this era's great events and dismal realities, such as the death of President Ebert, the murder of Foreign Minister Rathenau, the dysfunction in the Reichstag, and book burnings by the Nazis. If this is so, consider the elegant and insightful "WHAT I SAW: Reports from Berlin 1920-1933".

In the 34 short essays in WHAT I SAW, Joseph Roth purports to take a pointillist's and average-guy perspective on Weimar-era Berlin. As he states in his first essay "Going for a Walk": "It's only the minutiae of life that are important... The diminutive of the parts is more impressive than the monumentality of the whole. I no longer have any use for the sweeping gestures of heroes on the global stage. I'm going for a walk." Of course, this pose is misleading, since Roth is able to identify still-true insights about the dynamics and politics of Weimar Berlin as he explores overlooked aspects of its everyday life. In Roth's case, small is big.

WHAT I SAW is organized into nine sections. In the best, which include "The Jewish Quarter" (four essays), "Displaced Persons" (five), "Traffic" (five), and "Berlin's Pleasure Industry" (five), Roth builds his feuilletons on the lives of Berlin's unfortunates or the strangeness of the city's amusements. Everywhere, he offers amazing paradoxes and turns of phrase.

o A skyscraper is the incarnate rebellion against the supposedly unattainable; against the mystery of altitude, against the otherworldliness of the cerulean.

o Berlin is... a tidy mess, an arbitrariness exactly to plan, a purposeful-seeming aimlessness. Never was so much order thrown at disorder, so much lavishness at parsimony, so much method at madness.

o Here in Germany expert understanding tends to go hand in hand with barely comprehensible jargonizing. Expertise lacks style, knowledge stammers just as if it were ignorance.

o The only achievement of last of the Berlin panopticum [think Madame Tussauds] was the unintentional ridiculousness with which it atoned for the pathos of this world and turned it into a kind of funhouse gallery. This is because the chief characteristic of the panopticum, its frightening verisimilitude, is finally ridiculous. It is the... impulse to produce exterior likeness rather than inner truth.

o As I write, the eager cyclists have already covered more than eight hundred miles, without having gone anywhere. They don't even want to get anywhere! They go around and around the same track, which is two hundred meters long and a million meters boring.

o The sky has got itself all blued up, as though it were going to get its picture taken, and the March sun is friendly and eager to please.

At the gym, I recently listened to an abridged version of the autobiography of Samuel Pepys (thank you Kenneth Branagh), which reanimated life in London in the 1660s. While WHAT I SAW is obviously a very different book, Roth, in his way, is the Pepys of Weimar Berlin.

Kudos to translator Michael Hoffman.

Highly recommended.
GWEZJ
Joseph Roth was a practitioner of the art of the feuilleton - a part of a newspaper or magazine devoted to fiction, criticism, or light literature. As such, you wouldn’t expect a lot of real depth. But given the title, you’d expect something of importance from a critical observer writing in that horrendous period of world history.

What I saw was interesting in a number of ways – but not in the ways I expected before reading it. I had hoped to gain some insight into Germany’s plunge into insanity during the years of the Weimar republic. There was little in the text that rang true in that regard.

The only enlightenment in that arena was Roth’s seeming insistence that it was Germany's rejection of its intellectual (literary) history that led to its sickness and demise. Roth reports, Hitler’s main ally was von Hindenburg – a man who boasted of never having read a book. Roth further cited the Nazi book burning as proof of their anti-intellectual position. Not a really penetrating analysis – but one you might expect from a writer of the feuilleton.

What was interesting was this. First, we saw Roth evolving as a human being. When we “meet” him in around 1920 he seemed to have no real sensitivity for what was going on around him. He records the waves of migration moving west and reports them as though they were some scabrous film coating the continent. He makes no identification with the immigrants as fellow Jews or as fellow human beings.

In fact, he tries to conceal his relation to them. In one article, he tries to “pass himself off” as Christian, talking about how in his “religious phase” he would sometimes go to early mass. He highlights the Weimar Republic’s assassinated foreign minister - Walther Rathenau – as a Jew who tried to reconcile Jewish and Christian thought.

The bulk of Roth’s vignettes deal with Berlin as it enters modernity. It parades a series of quirky scenes and characters to pique the reader’s attention. For example, we learn that in some of the more fashionable Berlin dinner clubs there were “newspaper” waiters that would bring selections of the finest journals and literary output to the club’s guests. We learn of the rise of mass-market appeal in the giant department stores and how the side-by-side display of goods cheapened them without regard to quality. Roth shows us portraits of the city’s very wealthy and its very poor, the burgers and the criminals. Only a twisted cross here and there reminds us of approaching tragedy.

What was even more important was something Roth could never anticipate – the similarity of the Weimar Republic with America today. Read “Deutschland Uber Alles” as “America First.” What about leaders with no intellectual or literary grounding (like von Hindenburg and our current crop of administration bureaucrats.) Think about the book burning as a reaction to an “intellectual elite.” The “immigration” crisis clearly has modern overtones.

It is only in the last feuilleton that Roth has a major realization of the meaning of his Jewish inheritance. He could never be a full member of German society as it stood early in the last century. Rathenau’s view of being “German first Jew second” was impossible. This last piece was written in Paris in 1933. Hitler had come to power and Roth was lucky enough to escape with his life. Even so, Roth blames the situation on the failure of the average German to rely on his or her glorious literary heritage – Jews and all.

So, while I didn’t think I learned much of what I set out to learn, I thought the portrait of Roth as he developed through some of the darkest periods of human existence was well worth the read.

I do have a few niggling issues. The text was poorly proofed and the sentence structure of the translation was rather awkward. As the same awkward structure was used in the preface, I think the issue was with the translator and not with Roth. Also, despite the translator’s words to the contrary, if you are interested in Weimar Germany, go through the whole Cabaret trilogy. Read Isherwood’s Berlin Stories, see Broadway’s “I am a Camera” and finally, see the movie itself. There’s more insight in that than in most of the historical record you come across.
Nenayally
Roth wrote reports on the lives and conditions of the Jews who would come into Berlin from the East in the early 1920s. His reports are full of color and essentially an anthropological approach. The people he writes about our extremely poor and mostly uneducated with customs the newspaper readers must have found exotic . In The Radetsky March he evokes the Eastern hinterland of the Dual Monarchy, the swamps, and, though he doesn't use the word,shetls, of the inhabitants such as those who were migrating to Berlin after the war. The descriptions are quite detailed and I found it a book for dipping into
Tcaruieb
Joseph Roth writes these jewel-like journalistic vignettes from an era that was also portrayed by a young Christopher Isherwood: Berlin of the 1920s and early '30s. But Roth's vision is that of an ageing man looking out, as if from the window of the local bar, onto a city in transition. He conjures up images of a Europe where the old order has been vanquished but nothing permanent is there to replace it; a world teetering on the edge, threatened by vast impersonal forces that cannot be fully understood. Everything he looks at has parallels in today's world but it still shocks to realise how hostile an environment Europe was for outsiders like the Jews and other immigrants. It also reminds us how the veneer of civilisation which we take for granted can be so easily swept away by a combination of desperation, fear, ignorance and prejudice. The final and most passionate essay, written from Paris just before his death in 1939, presages the writings of Jewish intellectual, Hannah Arendt, cautioning victims of prejudice not to be intimidated (and in some cases seduced) by their bigoted persecutors.