Home » Austria » Joseph Roth

Joseph Roth


Joseph Roth is an author who had considerable fame, died in obscurity at the beginning of World War II and then regained some of his lost fame posthumously. He was born in 1894 in Brody (now in the Ukraine), a primarily Jewish city in Galicia. He never knew his father, who went insane before Roth’s birth and died in Poland in 1910. In 1914 he entered the University of Vienna to study literature, where he published poems and short stories, before enlisting in the army in 1916. In the army he served in the press corps. At the end of the war, he returned to Vienna. He claimed that he had been a Russian prisoner of war but this is probably untrue. He worked as a journalist, primarily for socialist newspapers.

In 1923 he joined the Frankfurter Zeitung. His first novels were published in serial form in newspapers. In 1925 he moved to Paris as a correspondent for the Frankfurter Zeitung and then, in 1926, he was sent to the Soviet Union. His first successful novel was Die Flucht ohne Ende (Flight without End), published in 1927. He came to be known as one of the leaders of the Neue Sachlichkeit school, a form of documentary-social writing. However, it is the two novels he published in the early thirties that really made his reputation – Hiob (Job, the Story of a Simple Man), a tribute to his Jewish heritage, and Radetzkymarsch (The Radetzky March), a tribute to his Austrian heritage, are both major works.

At this time, he started becoming far more sympathetic to the monarchy. However, when Hitler came to power in 1933, he left Austria for Paris. Despite coming back three times, he had lost both his publishers and his readers. He continued to write and publish in exile but was permanently in debt as his income was substantially reduced. Separated from his wife, whom he continued to support, he also had charge of his mistress and her children. He travelled all over Europe but his health, made worse by his drinking, rapidly deteriorated. He returned to Austria to plead the Hapsburg case for the last time in 1938. He was urged to leave. Three days later Austria became part of the Third Reich. His health worsened even more. He turned down an offer to go the United States and collapsed and died in May 1939 after hearing that his friend Ernst Toller had killed himself in New York.

Books about Joseph Roth

Michael Bienert: Joseph Roth in Berlin : ein Lesebuch für Spaziergänger
David Bronsen,: Joseph Roth : eine Biographie (Life of Joseph Roth)
Michael Hoffman: Joseph Roth : A Life in Letters
Ilse Josepha Lazaroms: The Grace of Misery: Joseph Roth and The Politics of Exile, 1919–1939
Hermann Linden: Joseph Roth, Leben und Werk; ein Gedächtnisbuch
Keiron Pim: Endless Flight. The Life of Jospeh Roth
Heinz Lunzer: Joseph Roth : Leben und Werk in Bildern
Dennis Marks: Wandering Jew: The Search for Joseph Roth
Helmuth Nürnberger,: Joseph Roth : in Selbstzeugnissen und Bilddokumenten
Rainer-Joachim Siegel: Joseph Roth, Bibliographie
James Bradford Street: The Habsburg Monarchy in the Writings of Joseph Roth
Wilhelm von Sternburg : Joseph Roth: Eine Biographie

Other links

Joseph Roth
Joseph Roth
My life with Roth
How Joseph Roth saw Europe’s future
Playing Depart The restless fiction of Joseph Roth
The Curse of Joseph Roth
A March to the Grave (review of the Hoffman biography)
Joseph Roth (in German)
Joseph Roth (in German)
Joseph Roth (in German)


1923 Das Spinnennetz (The Spider’s Web)
1924 Hotel Savoy (Hotel Savoy)
1924 Die Rebellion
1925 April: Die Geschichte einer Liebe
1925 Der blinde Spiegel
1927 Juden auf Wanderschaft
1927 Die Flucht ohne Ende (Flight without End)
1928 Zipper und sein vater (Zipper and His Father)
1928 Das Moskauer Jüdische Akademische Theater
1929 Rechts und links (Right and Left)
1929 Der stumme Prophet (fragments)
1930 Hiob (Job, the Story of a Simple Man)
1930 Panoptikum: Gestaltten und Kulissen
1932 Radetzkymarsch (The Radetzky March)
1934 Der Antichrist (Antichrist)
1934 Tarabas, ein Gast auf dieser Erde (Tarabas, a Guest on Earth)
1934 Der Antichrist (Antichrist)
1934 Triumph der Schönheit
1934 Die Büste des Kaisers
1936 Beichte eines Mörders (Confession of a Murderer)
1936 Die hundert Tage (The Ballad of the Hundred Days; The Story of the Hundred Days)
1937 Das falsche Gewicht (Weights and Measures)
1937 Die Geschichte der 1002. Nacht (The String of Pearls; The Tale of the 1002nd Night)
1938 Die Kapuzinergruft (The Emperor’s Tomb)
1939 Die Legende vom heiligen Trinker (The Legend of the Holy Drinker)
1940 Der Leviathan
1949 Leben und Werk : ein Gedächtnisbuch
1960 Beichte eines Mörders (Confession of a Murderer)
1956 Werke in drei Bänden
1961 Zwischen Lemberg und Paris
1964 Romane, Erzählungen, Aufsätze
1966 Der Stumme Prophet (The Silent Prophet)
1969 Die Büste des Kaisers (The Bust of the Emperor); Kleine Prosa
1970 Briefe 1911-1939
1970 Der neue Tag: Unbekannte politische Arbeiten 1919 bis 1927
1973 Die Erzählungen
1978 Perlefter: Die Geschichte eines Bürgers (Perlefter : The Story of a Bourgeois)
1982 Romane und Erzählungen
1984 Berliner Saisonbericht: Reportagen und journalistische Arbeiten 1920-39
1986 Short Stories
1989 Joseph Roth Werke
1991 Aber das Leben marschiert weiter und nimmt uns mit : der Briefwechsel zwischen Joseph Roth und dem Verlag De Gemeenschap 1936-1939
1994 Unter dem Bülowbogen : Prosa zur Zeit
1995 Reise nach Russland : feuilletons, Reportagen, Tagebuchnotizen 1919-1930
1997 Briefe aus Deutschland
2003 What I Saw : Reports from Berlin 1920-1933 (articles)
2005 The White Cities : Reports from France 1925-1939 (articles)
2013 On the End of the World (articles)
2015 The Hotel Years (articles)