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Het sprookje van de 1002e nacht by Joseph…

Het sprookje van de 1002e nacht (original 1939; edition 2001)

by Joseph Roth, Wil Boesten (Translator)

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Title:Het sprookje van de 1002e nacht
Authors:Joseph Roth
Other authors:Wil Boesten (Translator)
Info:Amsterdam Atlas 2001
Collections:Read but unowned

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The Tale of the 1002nd Night by Joseph Roth (1939)



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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
I really like Joseph Roth's books about the decay of the old Habsburg Empire. In this one, the Shah of Persia visits Vienna and lusts after a Countess at a ball. To satisfy him without sullying the Countess, a courtier suggests that they pull a switch and loan the Shah the courtier's former lover, who resembles the Countess; the Shah rewards her with a string of pearls, which are promptly sold.

Selling is the unifying theme--the pearls are sold, Mizzi's virtue is sold (over and over), pamphlets retelling the story of the Shah's affair and the crass character of a court where this could occur are sold to a voracious readership, then used to blackmail the courtier, and on it goes. Almost no one here has any backbone: everyone goes along making vague schemes to get by, to choose the most expedient solution, to sell themselves, and to steal or blackmail. The only solid person is a soldier "of the people", a breath of decency in the novel, whose advancement can only happen if he leaves the centre and goes off to the fringes of the empire to work as a paymaster in the army.

This probably sounds horribly depressing, but it isn't. There's a kind of satirical gaiety to it that got me through. ( )
  ipsoivan | Apr 24, 2016 |
Book Description: Picador USA Nov-99. eng. First printing. 272 p. ; 0. 71" x 8. 24" x 5. 51". Fine. No dust jacket, as issued. Unblemished, unread paperback. Translated by Michael Hofmann. "There is a poem on every page of Joseph Roth. "--Joseph Brodsky.
  Czrbr | Jun 7, 2010 |
Maybe I wasn't in the right mood for this book, since I've enjoyed everything else by Joseph Roth I've read, but it just didn't grab me: I kept putting it down, forgetting who the characters were, etc. It tells the tale of what happens after the Shah makes a visit to the Emperor in Vienna in the 1800s, spends the night with a prostitute masquerading as a countess he fancies, and through his Chief Eunuch gives her a valuable string of pearls. The consequences then unfold over the course of several years for a variety of characters, who are said to paint a picture of life in Vienna and the Austro-Hungarian Empire before its decline. Roth has some really wonderful turns of phrase, and acidic insight into the empty-headedness and greed of some of his characters, but I never got into the story. I would hazard a guess that Roth was trying to make a larger point about history and the consequences of actions and the decline from grandeur to almost farce, but that didn't make a big impact on me either.

Finally, I note that the translator is the much commented-on Michael Hoffman. Not only did he write what for me was an annoying introduction, but there was one place where the translation itself irritated me: there is a low-life character who doesn't speak good German, and Hoffman renders his speech in contemporary and late 20th century street slang -- it was jarring to me. I'm sure there's a way of showing that someone is speaking that way without jumping over 100 years into the future.
  rebeccanyc | Apr 15, 2010 |
Well, I finished The Tale of the 1002nd Night by Joseph Roth and thanx to alexdaw's wonderful summary of the book I will just share my feelings and thoughts.
I didn't care for the book at all. This is my first negative "review" of a book this year. Reading it, I felt as though it was somehow disjointed. It felt as though it jumped from here to there and I didn't care about any of the characters other than Zenower and he wasn't a major player until near the end. I cared so little about the characters that I didn't even care about what happened to them. The pearls were much more interesting to me.
Sorry Mr. Roth.
My next Joseph Roth will be The Radetzky March as soon as it arrives as it is in transit through my library. I hope I like it better. ( )
2 vote rainpebble | Feb 26, 2010 |
"A fairy story that has swallowed a novel..." Michael Hofmann, in the Introduction to his translation of Die Geschichte der 1002en Nacht sums up Joseph Roth's artistry admirably. Roth's writing is indeed Dickensian in style "but at a third of the length" - an even more admirable quality in my books. This volume published by Granta books London is delightful to hold and delightful to read. It is not without its disturbing qualities. And by disturbing I don't mean scary or unpalatable; I mean disquieting, uncomfortable and rousing the reader to deep contemplation of the world and its human occupants. The story is set in 18-- and for the most part in Vienna. It starts in Persia however with the Shah-in-Shah who is "sick". His Chief Eunuch diagnoses boredom but not in so many words and so the royal delegation and all its retinue head off to Vienna in search of variety. The Shah's visit has unintended consequences for various unsuspecting individuals which I won't reveal for fear of spoiling the story. This is my first experience of Roth. I will definitely be going back for more. So many of the passages in this book are spine-chilling in their accurate observations of human frailty. His characters often commit "monstrous" acts and yet the reader is still compelled to observe them with compassion if only out of a knowledge of shared weaknesses. Here is one little quote: "Experiences, when one encountered them, looked bright, colourful, floating. You held on to them as to a balloon on a string, for as long as they were fun. Then, when you got bored, you let go. They floated off prettily into the air, you watched them go with gratitude and affection, and they they went quietly pop somewhere in the clouds. But a few hadn't gone pop at all. Instead, treacherous and invisible, they had hung around somewhere for years, in defiance of all the rules of Nature. And then, full of ballast, they fell back like lead weights on the head of poor Taittinger." Roth's observation of humanity is almost scientific in its accuracy but mercifully he softens it with a large dollop of droll humour. Enjoy! ( )
  alexdaw | Jan 25, 2010 |
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Joseph Rothprimary authorall editionscalculated
Boesten, WilTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gimmelli, UgoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hofmann, MichaelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schippers, EllyEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Verstraete, JanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312244940, Paperback)

Before his death in 1939, Joseph Roth produced 13 works of fiction--most of them sardonic valentines to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. As a Galician Jew, not to mention a biting social critic, Roth knew that life under the Dual Monarchy was not exactly flawless. Yet he retained a deep attachment to the old regime, which must have looked more and more civilized as the Nazis came to power. In 1933 he fled to Paris, where he commenced a slow, alcoholically induced suicide--managing, however, to write several more books, of which The Tale of the 1002nd Night was the last to appear.

Like so many of Roth's novels, this one is a celebration of Vienna in its pre-Anschluss days--during the 1870s, to be precise. "At this time," we're informed, "the world was deeply and frivolously at peace." In keeping with the frivolity, perhaps, Roth puts a fairy-tale-like spin on his memories. He opens The Tale of the 1002nd Night with a state visit by the Shah of Iran, transforming historical fact into whimsical fiction. And once he shifts the narrative to Vienna proper, his characters make their entrances and exits with brilliant, dreamlike rapidity. It would be tempting to compare the entire story--which revolves around the seduction and abandonment of the prostitute Mizzi Schinagl by the boneheaded Baron Taittinger--to a puppet show. But these puppets are capable of registering deep pain and transformation. Taittinger, for example, gets to utter the first honest sentence of his adult life: "He had caught himself telling the truth; and for the first time in many years he blushed, the way he had once blushed as a boy when he'd been caught telling a lie." And even Mizzi, the flattest character in a book full of wafer-thin ones, has her moments of electrifying humanity:

She became terribly sad. Her simple soul was briefly illumined, indirectly and at a lower wattage, by the light that makes older and wiser people so happy and so sad: the light of understanding. She understood the sorrow and futility of everything.
Roth, too, understood that sorrow. But in The Tale of the 1002nd Night, which has been beautifully translated by Michael Hofmann, he counters its gravitational pull with small, stunning perceptions and a kind of bemused decency. Indeed, Roth the novelist has precisely the "calculating kindliness" he ascribes to one Herr Efrussi--and this, he goes on to point out, is "the only sort that doesn't wreak destruction on this earth." --James Marcus

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:03:51 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A visit by the Shah of Persia to 19th century Vienna sets in motion a tale of political and romantic intrigue. The other protagonists are Baron Taittinger, a cavalry officer appointed by the government to entertain the shah, and the baron's mistress who becomes the shah's lover.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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