Facing Modernity
Fragmentation, Culture and Identity in Joseph Roth's Writing in the 1920s

Jon Hughes

Bithell Series of Dissertations 30

MHRA Texts and Dissertations 67

Maney Publishing for the Modern Humanities Research Association and the Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies

30 July 2006  •  204pp

ISBN: 978-1-904350-37-8 (hardback)  •  RRP £21.99, $32.99, €27.50

ISBN: 978-1-781880-74-6 (JSTOR ebook)

Access online: Books@JSTOR

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This is the first monograph on the work of Joseph Roth (1894-1939) to be published in English by a British-based academic, and should prove useful both to those with a specialized interest in Roth, whose novels and journalism continue to gain admirers around the world, and to those interested more broadly in an extraordinarily rich period in twentieth-century European culture. It serves both as an introduction to the early part of a body of work whose variety and volume were for many years overshadowed by the reputation of the historical novel Radetzkymarsch (1932), and as a re-assessment of Roth's writing, both of fiction and of journalism, within the modern tradition. A perceived 'fragmentation' of social, political, cultural and other traditions was a particular concern for Roth, as for many contemporaries, and the thematic chapters present a detailed contextual survey of Roth's intense and often ambivalent engagement with aspects of modern life, including travel, gender, technology, the city, and cinema. Besides assessing the continuities and discontinuities in Roth's attitudes, these chapters examine how his responses to the contemporary world impact upon both the form and content of his writing. The author argues that Roth's writing of the 1920s should be considered modernist not just in its often prescient sensitivity to cultural and political developments, but in its employment of a formal aesthetics and narrative self-consciousness which eventually made possible the illusory 'wholeness' of the later fiction.

Download: Introduction (PDF)

Reviews:

  • ‘Hughes’s readings of Roth’s texts are fresh and compelling. One may disagree with certain details, but undeniably this new study considerably expands the scope of the discussions about Roth and his intellectual environment in the light of current critical debates and theories. Hughes presents his arguments clearly and succinctly. The scholarly documentation is impeccable, and the book, equipped with a comprehensive bibliography and an extensive index, is as user-friendly in its organization as it is sophisticated in its scholarly narrative.’ — Dagmar C. G. Lorenz, Modern Language Review 102.4, 2007, 1188-90 (full text online)
  • ‘A book-length study in English of the writings of Joseph Roth is greatly to be welcomed... Hughes’s principal thesis — that Roth is not simply the author at odds with his times, as which he is often represented, but one who finds his own ways of confronting the experiences of cultural fragmentation that the twentieth-century world brings — is engagingly presented and makes the volume as a whole a serious contribution to Roth scholarship.’ — David Midgley, Austrian Studies 15, 2007, 190-191 (full text online)
  • ‘A substantial, original, and methodologically sound piece of work... This is a well-written and thought-provoking study and will be of interest to students and academics alike.’ — Helen Chambers, Modern Austrian Literature 40, 2007, 101-03

Contents:

i-iv
Front Matter
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v-vi
Table of Contents
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vii-vii
Preface
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viii-viii
Abbreviations
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1-12
Chapter 1 Introduction
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13-61
Chapter 2 ‘Ja, Ich Bin Draussen Zu Hause’: Travel, Subjectivity, and Identity in Die Weissen Städte
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62-92
Chapter 3 ‘Der Junge Mann Der Kriegsgeneration’: Violence , Masculinity , and Self
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93-112
Chapter 4 ‘Er Brauchte Nicht Einmal Verliebt Zu Sein’: the Failure of Fantasy
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113-142
Chapter 5 ‘the Terror of the Machine’: Technology, the Metropolis, and the Myth of Progress
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143-169
Chapter 6 Chasing Shadows: Film, Reality, and Self
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170-182
Chapter 7 Losing Reality? the End of the 1920s and the Crisis of the Novel
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183-192
Bibliography
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193-196
INDEX
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Bibliography entry:

Hughes, Jon, Facing Modernity: Fragmentation, Culture and Identity in Joseph Roth's Writing in the 1920s, Bithell Series of Dissertations, 30 (Cambridge: MHRA, 2006)

First footnote reference: 35 Jon Hughes, Facing Modernity: Fragmentation, Culture and Identity in Joseph Roth's Writing in the 1920s, Bithell Series of Dissertations, 30 (Cambridge: MHRA, 2006), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Hughes, p. 47.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

Bibliography entry:

Hughes, Jon. 2006. Facing Modernity: Fragmentation, Culture and Identity in Joseph Roth's Writing in the 1920s, Bithell Series of Dissertations, 30 (Cambridge: MHRA)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Hughes 2006: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Hughes 2006: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)


This title was first published by Maney Publishing for the Modern Humanities Research Association and the Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies but rights to it are now held by Modern Humanities Research Association and the Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies.

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