Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Rebellion by Joseph Roth (1924, translated by Michael Hoffman

My great thanks to Max ü for tne gift card that allowed me to read this book

I am estatic to once again be able to Participate in German Literature Month, elegantly and lovingly hosted by Lizzi's Literary Live and Beauty is a Sleeping Cat. This is my fourth year as a participant.   On the host blogs you will find the particularities of the event but the basic idea is to read literature first written in German (translated or not) and share your thoughts.  I began accumulating works for the event soon after the event ended last year and I began reading for it in mid-September.  

Works Read for G L V So Far

1.  Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada. A brilliant recreation of life in Nazi Germany. 

2.  Ostend, Stefan Zweig, Joseph Roth and the Summer Before the End by Volker Weidermann. A fascinating social history 

3.  Buddenbrook Ths Decline of a Family by Thomas Mann.  Must reading 

4.  "The Governess" by Stefan Zweig

5.  Demian:  The Story of Emil Sinclair's Youth by Herman Hesse.  Read the major works first.

6.  The Tanners by Robert Walser. a serious work of art

7. The Hotel Years Wandering Between the Wars by Joseph Hoffman, a brilliant collection of feuilletons translated and introduced by Michael Hoffman

8.  "The Dandelioln" by Wolfgang Borchert. 

9.   "The Foundling" by Heinrich Von Kleist

10.  "A Conversation Concerning Legs" by Alfred Lichenstein 

11.  "The Criminal" by Veza Canetti

Earlier in the month I posted on a collection of essays by Joseph Roth assembled, introduced and translated by Michael Hoffman, Hotel  Years.  Rebellion was one of the earliest of Roth's sixteen novels.  Roth was too smart to be a simple ideologue, it is hard to pin down his ideas but he hated fascism and he loved his conception of old Vienna under Emperor Franz Joseph.

Rebellion is a brief work, 121 pages in my edition.  It focuses largely on one man, a veteran of World War One who lost a leg in the conflict.   He gets a license to operate a "hurdy gurdy", a musical instrument on wheels.  Operation of this was restricted to wounded veterans who rolled them around town seeking donations.   He meets a widow and takes up with her.  The relationship between him and the widow is very well done and lets us see how the massive killing of men impacted the matrimonial market.  He moves into her place, he buys a donkey to pull the cart and all is going well.  Then he gets in a fight with a police officer, and ends up in jail.

The story follows his fate.  It reads like a kind of dark Gogol influenced fable.   In it are many reflections on the nature of government and the law.   

Rebellion is a work for those who have already read and appreciated his more famous works like The Zandesky March, The Emperor's Tomb, Job, Leviathan and one of my very favorite Roth works, Hotel Savoy. 

Mel ü

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