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Three Novellas


by Joseph Roth

Zweibund - the Dual Alliance - Germany and Austria-Hungary united, were the core of the Central Powers, and here join hands. The bars of Germany's flag border the top left, and those of the Habsburg Austrian Empire and ruling house the bottom right.
Text:
Schulter an Schulter
Untrennbar vereint
in Freud und in Leid!'

Shoulder to shoulder
Inseparably united 
in joy and in sorrow!

Zweibund - the Dual Alliance - Germany and Austria-Hungary united, were the core of the Central Powers, and here join hands. The bars of Germany's flag border the top left, and those of the Habsburg Austrian Empire and ruling house the bottom right.

Three novellas by the Austro-Hungarian writer Joseph Roth: 'Fallmerayer the Station Master,' 'The Bust of the Emperor,' and 'The Legend of the Holy Drinker.'

Fallmerayer, Station Master in the town of L two hours south of Vienna rescues an beautiful, uninjured Ukrainian Countess from a train wreck near his station. He brings her to the home he shares with his wife and twin girls to recuperate, and becomes entranced by her, and the perfume that lingers after she departs. An ensign in the reserve, he goes to the front, rises in rank, never returns home on leave, and learns Russian, from books and prisoners, until he is fluent.

He again meets the Countess in May, 1917 after the February Revolution, and as part of the Army of Occupation. By the Bolshevik Revolution, which soon threatens them, the two are lovers.

The bust of Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Joseph is sculpted by a local artist for Count Morstin to commemorate the pre-war visit of the Emperor to the Count's Galician estate. After the war the Austro-Hungarian Count of Italian descent returns to his home in what has become Poland, and unearths the bust that he had buried for safe-keeping during the war. He does not understand nationalism of which Roth says, 'It had been discovered and brought to people's attention in the course of the nineteenth century that in order to possess individuality as a citizen every person must belong to a definite nationality or race.' It is some years before the Count comes to terms with the new world and a country he neither knows nor cares for.

The Holy Drinker lives beneath the bridges of the Seine in 1930s Paris, is blessed with funds and good fortune by strangers and chance, and repeatedly tries to repay his debt to St. Thérèse de Lisieux whose statue stands in the Chapelle de Sainte Marie des Batignolles.

Publisher: The Overlook Press, 2003

Copyright: 1986 John Hoare; 1992 Michael Hofmann

Other books by Joseph Roth (2)

Click to View Book Type
The Radetzky March Fiction - participant
What I Saw