The Schmooze

Tortured Soul of Joseph Roth

Philip will have to make room for another Roth. The irony is that Joseph Roth, a Galician-born Austro-Hungarian Jewish writer, dead for nearly three quarters of a century, has never been more alive in the English speaking world.

Translator Michael Hofmann, whose gifted ear has graced 11 of Roth’s titles including the recently published “Joseph Roth: A Life in Letters,” bears the lion’s share of credit for bringing this paradoxical figure to light. It’s lucky, though, that we have much of his work to begin with.

“Roth left less physical trace in the world than any others of his standing,” Hofmann said. “That’s because he lived in hotels with two suitcases.” Roth often did not have copies of his own books.

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Tortured Soul of Joseph Roth

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