|In Roth’s all too brief career from 1921-1939 he established himself as the greatest newspaper correspondent of his age.|
The great journalist Joseph Roth delivers crisp love letters to Paris.
|In Roth’s all too brief career from 1921-1939 he established himself as the greatest newspaper correspondent of his age.His reports from and about Weimar Berlin (1921-1933), “What I Saw” are minutely observed, sharply etched portraits of the “demimondaine” life of a city that boasted 120 newspapers, 40 theaters and great symphonies—a magnet for the aspiring composers, actors and journalists living side-by-side with the emerging Nazi monster.As the goosesteps of the black-booted Nazis became progressively louder, the wary Jewish journalist exiled himself to safety in France in 1925. Fifty of his Parisian gems, written between 1925-1939 can be found in “Report From A Parisian Paradise”As an ardent Francophile you will appreciate Roth’s letter to the editor of the Frankfurter Zeitung newspaper almost immediately upon arriving in Paris in which he explains that he is in “complete control of his skeptical intelligence” and though risking “sounding moronic”,
Even when describing the aftermath of unimaginable horror in this description of Maisonette, ‘the most terrible battlefield on the Somme his poetic voice is resonant:
Back in Paris he observes children at play in the Jardin du Luxembourg and remarks that:
And as a critic of the newly evolving film with sound he is smitten with René Clair’s classic “Sous Les Toits de Paris (1930)” He writes:
Roth’s ability to extract the essence of an event or scene and report it with elegant clarity would be exemplary in a seasoned reporter or novelist but remarkable in a man who did some of his best writing between the ages of twenty-six and thirty-five—an old soul in a young body.
And when viewed from the prism of 2016, “Report From a Parisian Paradise” is even more astonishing for what it foresaw.