A parable of Germany: History, anti-Semitism and redemption in Joseph Roth's Tarabas: Ein Gast auf dieser Erde

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Abstract

As Andrew Barker has observed (2010), Joseph Roth’s Tarabas: Ein Gast auf dieser Erde (1934) ‘appears to support the traditional view of Roth as a writer who, when confronted by a cruel present, retreats into a comforting fiction’ about the past. Against this view I argue that this tale of sin and penance is a parable of Germany in 1933. Tarabas’s redemption suggests the possibility of an end to the history of anti-Semitism and Jewish persecution, of which the Third Reich’s nascent reign of terror is but the latest instalment. And yet, in the final chapter of the novel, written from the perspective of 1933, it is the cyclical view of history as eternal return which predominates. In the end, as much as it is a parable of redemption, Tarabas is also simultaneously a novel of warning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)154-166
JournalJournal of European Studies
Volume43
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013

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Antisemitism
Redemption
Germany
History
Parables
Third Reich
Penance
Novel
Reign
Writer
Final Chapter
Terror
Retreat
Fiction
Installment
Warning
Persecution
Eternal Return

Cite this

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title = "A parable of Germany: History, anti-Semitism and redemption in Joseph Roth's Tarabas: Ein Gast auf dieser Erde",
abstract = "As Andrew Barker has observed (2010), Joseph Roth’s Tarabas: Ein Gast auf dieser Erde (1934) ‘appears to support the traditional view of Roth as a writer who, when confronted by a cruel present, retreats into a comforting fiction’ about the past. Against this view I argue that this tale of sin and penance is a parable of Germany in 1933. Tarabas’s redemption suggests the possibility of an end to the history of anti-Semitism and Jewish persecution, of which the Third Reich’s nascent reign of terror is but the latest instalment. And yet, in the final chapter of the novel, written from the perspective of 1933, it is the cyclical view of history as eternal return which predominates. In the end, as much as it is a parable of redemption, Tarabas is also simultaneously a novel of warning.",
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AB - As Andrew Barker has observed (2010), Joseph Roth’s Tarabas: Ein Gast auf dieser Erde (1934) ‘appears to support the traditional view of Roth as a writer who, when confronted by a cruel present, retreats into a comforting fiction’ about the past. Against this view I argue that this tale of sin and penance is a parable of Germany in 1933. Tarabas’s redemption suggests the possibility of an end to the history of anti-Semitism and Jewish persecution, of which the Third Reich’s nascent reign of terror is but the latest instalment. And yet, in the final chapter of the novel, written from the perspective of 1933, it is the cyclical view of history as eternal return which predominates. In the end, as much as it is a parable of redemption, Tarabas is also simultaneously a novel of warning.

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