A WRITER DESCRIBED as a "Jew in search of a fatherland" and a "wanderer in flight toward a tragic end," the Austrian writer Joseph Roth (1894-1939) spent his life in pursuit of a national and cultural identity and his final years writing in fervent opposition to the Third Reich. In this introduction to Roth's novels, which include Job and The Radetzky March, Sidney Rosenfeld demonstrates how the experience of homelessness not only shaped Roth's life but also decisively defined his body of work. Rosenfeld suggests that more than any other component of Roth's varied fiction, his skillful portrayals of uprootedness and the search for home explain his international appeal. Rosenfeld examines Roth's obsession with the question of belonging, tracing it to his boyhood in the Slavic-Jewish Austrian crown land of Galicia. Illustrating how Roth's quest determined his most typical themes, Rosenfeld includes readings of the early novels. Through this fiction Roth quickly established his reputation as a literary chronicler of both the final years of the Hapsburg monarchy and the lost world of East European Jewry.
University of South Carolina Press
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