What I Saw by Joseph Roth
Reports from Berlin, 1920-1933

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Synopsis

"[Joseph Roth] is now recognized as one of the twentieth century's great writers."—Anthony Heilbut, Los Angeles Times Book Review


The Joseph Roth revival has finally gone mainstream with the thunderous reception for What I Saw, a book that has become a classic with five hardcover printings. Glowingly reviewed, What I Saw introduces a new generation to the genius of this tortured author with its "nonstop brilliance, irresistible charm and continuing relevance" (Jeffrey Eugenides, New York Times Book Review). As if anticipating Christopher Isherwood, the book re-creates the tragicomic world of 1920s Berlin as seen by its greatest journalistic eyewitness. In 1920, Joseph Roth, the most renowned German correspondent of his age, arrived in Berlin, the capital of the Weimar Republic. He produced a series of impressionistic and political essays that influenced an entire generation of writers, including Thomas Mann and the young Christopher Isherwood. Translated and collected here for the first time, these pieces record the violent social and political paroxysms that constantly threatened to undo the fragile democracy that was the Weimar Republic. Roth, like no other German writer of his time, ventured beyond Berlin's official veneer to the heart of the city, chronicling the lives of its forgotten inhabitants: the war cripples, the Jewish immigrants from the Pale, the criminals, the bathhouse denizens, and the nameless dead who filled the morgues. Warning early on of the dangers posed by the Nazis, Roth evoked a landscape of moral bankruptcy and debauched beauty—a memorable portrait of a city and a time of commingled hope and chaos. What I Saw, like no other existing work, records the violent social and political paroxysms that compromised and ultimately destroyed the precarious democracy that was the Weimar Republic.
 

About Joseph Roth

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Joseph Roth (1894-1939) has been admired by J. M. Coetzee, Cathleen Schine, Jeffrey Eugenides, Joseph Brodsky, and Nadine Gordimer, among others. His noted works include The Radetzky March, The Legend of the Holy Drinker, The Leviathan (his final work, published posthumously after Roth’s untimely death at the age of 44) and the anthology The Collected Stories of Joseph Roth. For his translations, acclaimed poet Michael Hofmann has won the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, the Dublin International IMPAC Award, the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Prize, the Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator’s Prize, the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize, and The Schlegel-Tieck Prize (four times). He is the highly acclaimed translator of, among others, Kafka, Brecht, and Joseph Roth.
 
Published December 17, 2002 by W. W. Norton & Company. 228 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Travel. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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“Strong and safe in its assembly,” he says of this towering building, “it matches a natural mountain for strength.” He is puzzled by the German fascination for wax museums, comments wryly that participants in the six-day bike races don’t really ever get anywhere, and in perhaps the wriest piece h...

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The Guardian

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What I Saw: Reports From Berlin 1920-33 by Joseph Roth translated by Michael Hofmann 323pp, Granta, £14.99 Welcome to streets of 'sneaking pimps, gussied-up whores, love-hungry pedestrians and reeling drunks'.

Feb 02 2003 | Read Full Review of What I Saw: Reports from Berl...

The Guardian

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What I Saw: Reports from Berlin 1920-1933, by Joseph Roth, translated by Michael Hofmann (Granta, £8.99) When I read the following, my scalp crawled: "In the course of my wanderings through the Jewish ghetto in Berlin, I bought some Jewish nationalist newspapers ...

May 08 2004 | Read Full Review of What I Saw: Reports from Berl...

The Guardian

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What I Saw: Reports from Berlin, 1920-33 by Joseph Roth, translated by Michael Hofmann 227pp, Granta Books, £14.99 Through the championship of Michael Hofmann, the name of the Austrian writer Joseph Roth has become known in this country.

Mar 08 2003 | Read Full Review of What I Saw: Reports from Berl...

The Sunday Times

Welcome to your preview of the Sunday TimesThere were hundreds of homelessTo see the full article you need to subscribeThe Co-operative Bank - Manchester - £ Six figure packageLegal Ombudsman - England - Competitive SalaryFinancial Ombudsman Service - London - Salary - CompetitiveLegal Ombudsman ...

Feb 23 2003 | Read Full Review of What I Saw: Reports from Berl...

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