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Joseph Roth: Black and red, death fluttered over them


Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Joseph Roth: His son was dead. His world had ended.


Joseph Roth
The Radetzky March
Translated by Joachim Neugroschel

On Saturdays he hunched over huge pious tomes. His silvery beard covered the lower half of the black-printed page. Had he known that his grandson would one day stroll through the world murderously armed and in an officer’s uniform, the old man would have cursed his old age and the fruit of his loins.


Death hovered over them, and they were completely unfamiliar with the feeling. They had been born in peacetime and become officers in peacetime drills and maneuvers. They had no idea that several years later every last one of them, with no exception, would encounter death. Their ears were not sharp enough to catch the whirring gears of the great hidden mills that were already grinding out the Great War. A white winterly peace reigned in the small garrison. And black and red, death fluttered over them in the twilight of the small back room.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. December 16, 2022 at 4:38 pm

    Yes, short and distilling…what year were these sentences written?

    Liked by 1 person

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