Roth, Joseph

(1894–1939)
   Writing under his own name as well as under pseudonyms such as Hamilkar or Christine v. Kandl, Roth was born a Jew in the Bukovina, one of the easternmost reaches of the Habsburg Empire. He studied Germanic philology and philosophy at both the local university in Lemberg (Ukr.: Lv’iv) and in Vienna. He served as an officer in the Habsburg army during World War I. Roth’s literary career, which began in journalism in Vienna after the war, was extraordinarily varied; he was equally accomplished as an essayist, short story writer, and novelist. Nor did he work in Austria alone; from 1923 to 1932 he was also a correspondent of the prestigious German daily, the Frankfurter Zeitung. After 1933, he went into exile in Paris, where he died from the effects of his longterm alcoholism in 1939.
   Roth never came to grips with the Europe that emerged out of World War I. His depression only increased as Fascism and Nazism began to dominate the political scene of the late 1920s and 1930s. His most famous novel, Radetzky March (1932), was an elegiac look at three generations of a South Slavic family of Trotta who had served the Habsburgs, and the ideals they read into that empire. The Crypt of the Capuchins, published posthumously in 1938, treats a similar theme.
   See also Literature; Magris, Claudio.

Historical dictionary of Austria. . 2014.

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