Joseph roth

What young Ukrainians will learn from reading Joseph Roth

As Russia’s assault on Ukraine continues, Volodymyr Zelensky’s ministry of education has just announced changes to the national curriculum that include removing almost all the Russian authors on the foreign literature syllabus. In last week’s Spectator, Svitlana Morenets revealed the new names: we see Robert Burns, whose inclusion may be a nod to Britain’s support during the conflict. Then there is Joseph Roth, a master of German prose, whose writing about interwar Europe speaks to Ukraine’s modern upheavals. Roth was born in 1894 in Brody, a town that now stands in western Ukraine but then lay in what was known as Galicia, the eastern Austro–Hungarian crownland. He left as soon

The book as narrator: The Pages, by Hugo Hamilton, reviewed

It is a truism that a book needs readers in order to have a meaningful existence. Hugo Hamilton’s The Pages both develops and inverts that relationship. It not only tells a story to its readers; it tells the story of its readers. To paraphrase its own words, it accumulates their inner lives. It becomes the agency that drives them — in one case to his death. The book is Joseph Roth’s 1924 novel Rebellion, which depicts the fate of the disabled soldier Andreas Pum in the chaos of post-war Germany. The copy in question was rescued from Goebbels’s book-burning by a literature student, Dieter Knecht. It has come into the