Thursday, December 29, 2011

Joseph Roth on The End of the World

The New York Review of Books (December 22, 2011) has an essay by Michael Hofmann about Joseph Roth that will serve as the introduction to Hofmann's translation of Roth's letters. Here a passage that puts the end of the world in its place:

I am not in a tizzy about the letter from. . . . In view of the approaching end of the world, it's no big deal. But even then, in the trenches, staring death in the face 10 minutes before going over the top, I was capable of beating up a sonofabitch for claiming he was out of cigarettes when he wasn't, for instance. The end of the world is one thing, the sonofabitch is another. You can't put the sonofabitch down to the general condition of things. He's separate.

1 comment:

michael morrow said...

sonofabitch...not part of "general condition of things. He's separate." I love that phrase......and often say it to myself when choosing how to respond to any bigot...especially religious I guess I will take my place among the bigot crowd...I'm happy to stand and express myself as I feel moved upon...sometimes its not very pritty...BUT I'm happy to report that in recent years I find that diverting to compassion is better for me...when responding to those I deem bigoted.....and mining such deeply held feelings as compassion is a pain in the ass....but I always feel better after I allow others to be.....