Originally published in 1932, Joseph Roth's masterpiece, The Radetzky March, whose title refers, ironically, to Johann Strauss's famous military march, relates the decline and fall of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy through three generations of von Trotta. The fate of this family seems inseparable from that of the last Habsburg: the first von Trotta, dubbed the "Hero of Solferino" to have, during the battle, saved the life of young Francis Joseph; his son, an official of the Empire; his grandson, an officer who fell on the field of honor in 1914. The author gives us here the magisterial evocation of a society in the midst of political and social disintegration and, in general, the observation of an order which irrevocably undoes.
Like Kafka, Musil and Schnitzler, Joseph Roth is a formidable prose writer of the German language. The Radetzky March remains a great classic of European literature of the twentieth century.
Joseph Roth was born in Austro-Hungarian Galicia in 1894 to Jewish parents. Philology studies at Lemberg and Vienna. In 1916 he joined the Austrian army. After the war, he turned to journalism while pursuing a career as a novelist. Opposing from the beginning to National Socialism, Roth left Germany in January 1933 to settle in Paris, where he died in 1939. He left a rich and varied work: thirteen novels, eight long stories, three volumes of essays and reports, a thousand newspaper articles.
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