Vienna of the late nineteenth century, with its contrasting images of pomp and profound melancholy, provides the backdrop for Joseph Roth's final novel, which he completed in exile, a few years before his tragic death in 1939. The Tale of the 1002nd Night is a brilliant, allegorical tale of seduction and personal and societal ruin, set amidst exquisite, wistful descriptions of a waning aristocratic age, and provides an essential link to our understanding of Roth's extraordinary fictive powers.
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Roth’s plot focuses on the cavalry officer (Baron Taittinger) enlisted to satisfy the Shah’s voluptuary whims, and on the luckless woman (Mitzi Schnagel) who was the Baron’s mistress, who has borne his illegitimate son, and who is drawn into an elaborate ruse that imperils them both as well as ot...| Read Full Review of The Tale of the 1002nd Night
Seen this way, Roth's Vienna is, as the novelist Hermann Kesten put it, ""an exotic old-Austria, a kind of vanished, fairy-tale Wild East."" Things do get wild when the Shah, whose harem back at home is 365 wives strong, decides to sample ""the amorous arts of the Occident."" His unwitting encoun...| Read Full Review of The Tale of the 1002nd Night
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