Radetzky March

Oe1898_04

So far I've read 6.5* of the 10 (purportedly) greatest German novels of the 20th century, and just now have come to Joseph Roth's Radetzky March. The faded elegance of the K.u.K. monarchy gives me such a whack of nostalgia that I begin to believe I may have lived in the Austro-Hungarian Empire in a former life. I'd like to think I was a cavalry captain, but I probably was an assistant junior scrivener in the Hungarian Land Tax (g) Assessment Subdirectorate.

In any case, I am loving Radetzky March. The unsentimental melancholy, the heel-clicking manners, Roth's bemused irony, alles so mitteleuropäisch. The father-son dialogue is priceless: 'Watch out for the girls! Most of them are sick!' — 'Jawohl, papa!' I hope it never ends, but when it does I'll post a few comments. 

* I'm still wandering through the third book of The Man Without Qualities, which meanders a bit. Kind of like the second part of Faust.

2 thoughts on “Radetzky March

  1. well, “these people” are scholars, writers and critics, the three groups most people would agree upon as being experts on the subject of german literature… for 20th century i think this list is spot on. (besided mr. grass, but this is a personal pet peeve, not their fault.)

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