What I Saw | Granta

  • Published: 04/08/2022
  • ISBN: 9781783788484
  • Granta Books
  • 288 pages

What I Saw

Joseph Roth

Translated by Michael Hofmann

In 1920, Joseph Roth, the most renowned German correspondent of his age, arrived in Berlin, the capital of the Weimar Republic. He produced a series of impressionistic and political writings that influenced an entire generation of writers, including Thomas Mann and the young Christopher Isherwood. Roth, like no other German writer of his time, ventured beyond Berlin’s official veneer to the heart of the city, chronicling the lives of its forgotten inhabitants – the Jewish immigrants, the criminals, the bathhouse denizens, and the nameless dead who filled the morgues. Warning early on of the threat posed by the Nazis, Roth evoked a landscape of moral bankruptcy and debauched beauty, creating in the process an unforgettable portrait of a city.

The value of these feuilletons has nothing to do with typographical perspective, only with their non-stop brilliance, irresistible charm and continuing relevance

Jeffrey Eugenides, New York Times

This is a marvellous book, and a welcome addition to the ever-growing canon of Roth's work in English. It offers proof, if proof were needed, that he is as brilliant and original a journalist as he is a storyteller, casting his eye and cocking his ear where lesser writers never venture

Paul Bailey, Sunday Times

Keen-eyed and inquisitive... [Roth's] reports form Weimar-era Berlin capture in diamond-glitter prose the booming, brash capital

Boyd Tonkin, Independent

The Author

Joseph Roth (1894-1939) was the great elegist of the cosmopolitan, tolerant and doomed Central European culture that flourished in the dying days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Born into a Jewish family in Galicia, on the eastern edge of the empire, he was a prolific political journalist and novelist. On Hitler’s assumption of power, he was obliged to leave Germany for Paris, where he died in poverty a few years later. His books include What I Saw, Job, The White Cities, The String of Pearls, The Emperor’s Tomb and The Radetzky March, all published by Granta Books.

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The Translator

Michael Hofmann is a poet, translator and critic. His latest book of poems is One Lark, One Horse. He recently translated Jenny Erpenbeck’s novel Kairos.

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From the Same Author

Joseph Roth on Granta.com

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