Joseph Roth

Literary Birthday – 2 September – Joseph Roth

Joseph Roth was born 2 September 1894, and died 27 May 1939.

Six Quotes

  1. A lot of truths about the living world are recorded in bad books; they are just badly written.
  2. There is a fear of voluptuousness that is itself voluptuous, just as a certain fear of death can itself be deadly.
  3. The world to come will be like this triangular railroad junction, raised to some unknown power. The earth has lived through several evolutionary stages – but following always natural laws. It is presently experiencing a new one, which follows constructive, conscious, and no less elemental laws. Regret for the passing of the old forms is like the grief of some antediluvian creature for the disappearance of a prehistoric habitat.
  4. Only the small things in life are important.
  5. That was how things were back then. Anything that grew took its time growing, and anything that perished took a long time to be forgotten. But everything that had once existed left its traces, and people lived on memories just as they now live on the ability to forget quickly and emphatically.
  6. Above all there’s a lack of personal discipline, manners, decorum, natural discretion. If everyone causes their own individual catastrophes, how can there fail to be more general catastrophes? After all, the passengers on a bus or streetcar make up a community of a kind. But they don’t see it that way, not even in a moment of danger. As they see it they are bound always to be the other’s enemy: for political, social, all sorts of reasons.

Joseph Roth was an Austrian-Jewish journalist and novelist, best known for his family saga The Radetzky MarchJob, and his essay, The Wandering Jews.

Source for Image: s/a, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 2nd September 2013