Joseph Roth (1894-1939) and Stefan Zweig (1881-1942) are still two of the most widely read narrators in German literature.
»Germany is dead. For us it is dead. … It was nothing but a dream. Face up to it at last, please!« writes Joseph Roth Stefan to Zweig in a letter in 1933. Up until this point Roth, who grew up in the Galician town of Brody, had been a leading columnist. Zweig, from a wealthy Jewish family in Vienna, was a best-selling, world-famous literary writer. Since the National Socialists came to power the friendship between the two authors has become increasingly overshadowed: whilst Roth emigrates as early as 1933 and refuses to make any form of compromise right from the beginning, Zweig tries to make the best of things for some time. In spite of the increasing alienation between them, from which both of them suffer, Zweig supports his friend financially, and tries again and again to steer Roth away from the destructive path of alcoholism.
The correspondence tells the story of a friendship that is broken apart by the political circumstances – and the story of two lives destroyed by exile. »We exiles don’t live long« Zweig comments when Roth dies in Paris in 1939. In 1942, Zweig commits suicide in Petropolis, Brazil.
This fascinating correspondence tells the story of a tense friendship, particularly under the extreme conditions of life in exile.
Madeleine Rietra studied German and History in Amsterdam and Hamburg. Amongst other things she has edited the correspondence between Joseph Roth and De Gemeenschap Publishers (1991) and, in collaboration with Rainer-Joachim Siegel, between Joseph Roth and the Allert de Lange and Querido Publishers (2005).
Rainer-Joachim Siegel is a mathematician and the author of the Joseph Roth Bibliography (1995) and editor of a collection of newly discovered texts by Joseph Roth with the title »Unter dem Bülowbogen« (Under the Bülowbogen, 1994)
Heinz Lunzer, born in 1948, is a literary historian and head of the Documentation Center for Modern Austrian Literature at the Literaturhaus Vienna.
Numerous publications on 20th century Austrian literature.
Published by Wallstein
Joseph Roth: »Ich zeichne das Gesicht der Zeit«. Essays – Feuilletons – Reportagen. Edited by Helmuth Nürnberger (2010)
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