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ISBN:0879511982
Author: Joseph Roth
ISBN13: 978-0879511982
Title: The Radetzky March
Format: docx doc mobi lit
ePUB size: 1318 kb
FB2 size: 1904 kb
DJVU size: 1340 kb
Language: English
Category: Literary
Publisher: Overlook Books (December 12, 1983)

The Radetzky March by Joseph Roth



The Radetzky March book. The imagery he creates out of the most mundane moments reminds me of the Dostoevsky ability to write about the nuances of a character getting out of bed in the morning and keeping the reader fascinated.

Joseph Roth - The Radetzky March (html)/images/00001. jpg Joseph Roth - The Radetzky March (html)/images/00002. jpg Joseph Roth - The Radetzky March (html)/images/00003. jpg Joseph Roth - The Radetzky March (html)/images/00004. jpg Joseph Roth - The Radetzky March (html)/images/calibre cover. jpg Joseph Roth - The Radetzky March (html)/stylesheet. Except in the United States of America, this book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition.

Radetzky March (German: Radetzkymarsch) is a 1932 novel by Joseph Roth chronicling the decline and fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire via the story of the Trotta family. Radetzkymarsch is an early example of a story that features the recurring participation of a historical figure, in this case the Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria (1830–1916).

I had wanted to read Joseph Roth’s masterpiece ‘The Radetzky March‘ for a long time. So when I discovered that Caroline from ‘Beauty is a Sleeping Cat’ and Lizzy from ‘Lizzy’s Literary Life’ were hosting a readalong of the book, I was so excited! Here is the first post for the readalong which covers the first part of the book. For those of you, who haven’t read the book, this post is filled with spoilers. Please be forewarned. Welcome to the spring readalong of Joseph Roth’s more famous novel, The Radetzky March.

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JOSEPH ROTH (1894-1939) was the great elegist of the cosmopolitan, tolerant and doomed Central European culture that flourished in the dying days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Born into a Jewish family in Galicia, on the eastern edge of the empire, he was a prolific political journalist and novelist. On Hitler's assumption of power, he was obliged to leave Germany for Paris, where he died in poverty a few years later. His books include What I Saw, Job, The White Cities, The String of Pearls and The Radetzky March, all published by Granta Books

The Radestky March is the second book by Joseph Roth that I’ve read. My billet about Hotel Savoy is here. The book opens at the battle of Solferino where the Austrians fight against the French in 1859. France was ruled by Napoléon III at the time and it’s a victory for the French. The Austrian emperor Franz-Joseph I is on the battlefield and he’s about to do something stupid that could get him killed by a French sniper. Lieutenant Trotta sees it coming, throws the emperors to the ground and saves his life. Franz-Joseph ennobles Trotta who becomes Baron von Trotta and Sipolje, the small village he comes from.

It’s the Radetzky March. Ah. And by having this little man conduct it, it comes to represent everything that is preposterously tradition-bound in early 20th Century Austria. After the weekly Sunday concert, his visit to the district captain’s house is the embarrassing ritual that first reintroduces us to the man who never learned how to relate to anyone. I don’t think Roth is presenting the district captain to us as merely ridiculous. What they don’t know, as Roth reminds us in the final sentence of the chapter and of Book 1, is that ‘the Empress had died long ag. (A word about uniforms. Carl Joseph is killed in the early days of a War that Roth characterises as pointless and riven by ethnic rivalries, and the final lines of Chapter 21 confirm his father’s sense of devastation. His office was terminated, His world was ended.

In the awesome THE RADETZKY MARCH, Joseph Roth uses males in three successive generations of the Trotta family to examine the social and military ethos of the Austro-Hungarian Empire from 1859 (the Battle of Solferino) through the brutal beginnings of The Great War. In this period, the Trotta males are: o Joseph Trotta: an obscure officer in the infantry with a peasant background who, through a quirk of fate, saves the life of the Emperor. In response, the Emperor elevates Trotta to the nobility and a sinecure in government.

The Radetzky March, Joseph Roth's classic saga of the privileged von Trotta family, encompasses the entire social fabric of the Austro-Hungarian Empire just before World War I. The author's greatest achievement, The Radetzky March is an unparalleled portrait of a civilization in decline, and as such, a universal story for our times.
Reviews: 7
Thordigda
In the awesome THE RADETZKY MARCH, Joseph Roth uses males in three successive generations of the Trotta family to examine the social and military ethos of the Austro-Hungarian Empire from 1859 (the Battle of Solferino) through the brutal beginnings of The Great War. In this period, the Trotta males are:

o Joseph Trotta: an obscure officer in the infantry with a peasant background who, through a quirk of fate, saves the life of the Emperor. In response, the Emperor elevates Trotta to the nobility and a sinecure in government. But this Trotta is uncomfortable with his apotheosis to national hero, which is a distortion and glamorization of a simple and spontaneous deed.

o Franz Trotta: This Trotta, the beneficiary of his father’s fame and position, is a stuffy but respected civil servant in a small town and embodies the style and methods of the Empire. He is a true believer in both its social codes and well-ordered and hierarchical society. He means well. But he eventually regrets subsuming his responsibilities as a father within his role of government executive.

o Carl Joseph Trotta. The grandson and son, Carl is a lieutenant in the army in the waning days of the Empire. Through Carl’s life, a reader sees how the heroic codes and style of the Empire that his grandfather resisted and that his father embodied have calcified into dangerous nonsense and an obsolete political system that cannot survive.

In telling this generational story, Roth focuses on the relationship between Franz and his dutiful son, who tries but fails to find a fulfilling role in the Austro-Hungarian system. The scion Carl is a slightly passive but normal young man who has reckless, but still normal, adventures with sex and alcohol. But, from the start, Carl isn’t really up to his remote father’s expectations.

Roth uses a three-part structure in TRM to explore the dilemmas of young Carl Trotta. In the first, he shows the demoralized Carl growing up and trying to find a place in his father’s rigid world. The brilliant Roth ends this section with a tragic demonstration of the obsolete social codes of the Empire. In Part-Two, Roth transfers the innocent but louche Carl to a remote outpost near the Russian border, where alcohol, gambling, and an improbable affair nearly destroy him but also help him find his way. Part-Two ends with a show of the doddering Kaiser, still enjoying the pageantry of the army, operating as the head of state. In Part-Three, Roth shows a great social event that Carl’s military superiors think will both alleviate the boredom of a remote posting and affirm the stature of the army. Instead, this great event inadvertently reveals the divisions in the crumbling Empire, as the Great War, cold-blooded and arbitrary in Roth’s hands, begins.

Roth writes with lots of insight, is funny, and creates very rich sentences and descriptions. The dilemmas of his characters are fully persuasive and tied seamlessly into a great historical web, where their choices range from admirable to futile. THE RADETZKY MARCH, BTW, ends with a fabulous twist, which suggests that the Trotta clan was, in a way, a curse on the Empire.

This is a tremendous novel and maybe a masterpiece. Highly recommended.
Kanrad
This is a very interesting 1933 novel set during the final days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire on the verge of World War I, which would lead to its disintegration. The author was an important Austrian journalist and author, whose reporting on Nazi Germany was especially impressive (see for example his "What I Saw: Reports from Berlin"). Roth has chosen in this novel to trace the deterioration of the Empire through one noble family's three generations. During all three generations, Kaiser Franz Joseph was in charge, gradually growing less in touch with his subjects and toward the end somewhat losing touch with reality at the very time when clear-headed incisive leadership was essential as the storm clouds grew ever darker. At the same time, the von Trottas themselves undergo deterioration as they decline from a disciplined and principled founder to a grandson who is beset with alcoholic, financial and emotional challenges.

Roth skillfully traces how the noble family grows weaker and weaker in terms of discipline and upholding the old standards. So, as the Empire declines, so too do the von Trottas personally. The principal character is Carl Joseph who goes from a disciplined young man into one undergoing several crises, just as the Empire is facing its challenges. As a military officer, he is stuck out near the Russian border where the main activity of his regiment's officers is drinking and gambling themselves into debt. Roth's point is that the paralysis of such regiments is a prime reason the impact of war was so devastating.

Interestingly, many wonder how the polyglot Empire could survive from 1867-1918, and especially under Franz Joseph. Ironically, from the novel's perspective, Franz Joseph was the principal reason this diverse collection of various races and cultures remained loyal; all amazingly worshiped the Emperor and his ineffective administration. But as war approaches this weakened government, Roth shows how nationalism and pressures for more economic equality undermined even the affection for Franz Joseph. As one character well puts it, the Empire "is disintegrating while still alive."

So Roth traces parallel disintegration in the family with that afflicting the Empire of which it is a tiny part. Failure to obey the rules and uphold the old values is a disease at both levels. Franz Joseph has become "an old man from an old era," as things spin out of control, just as Carl Joseph's personal world explodes. It is no surprise that things fall flat when war comes--how could it be otherwise with the extent of personal and institutional rot present? Roth continues the saga in "The Emperor's Tomb (1938), which I intend to read next. Incidentally, Nadine Gordimer has contributed a helpful introduction to the book.
Renthadral
"The Radetzky March" is one of the great depictions of a lost world, this one the Austro-Hungarian empire on the verge of World War I. One can sense a new age coming in Roth's depiction of the "borderlands," where nationalism is on the rise, but the poignancy of the novel lies in the collapse of the old: the relationships between parents and children; the dissolution of social hierarchies, changing sexual mores, the decline of a military ideal, the rotting away of the Hapsburg monarchy. All of this is reflected through three generations of the Trotta family.

At the center of the novel is the aimless and dissolute Carl Joseph, who know he is unable to live up to his father's plans for him and so loses himself in alcoholism, gambling, and illicit love affairs. Yet Carl Joseph is not an unsympathetic figure, merely a weak one. Roth's great gift is to make Carl Joseph's world seem at once very distant from us and utterly familiar, so perfect are the details of setting and psychological characterization.

This novel is one of the great ones. It is right up there with Tanizaki's "The Makioka Sisters" in its rendering of a world about to disappear forever.

M. Feldman