- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Vintage (January 30, 1991)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0679731822
- ISBN-13: 978-0679731825
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.3 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,829,350 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Memoirs of an Anti-Semite: A Novel in Five Stories Paperback – January 30, 1991
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Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
'Here is a work that tackles - without reproof, without illusions, and without shallow moral judgements; by turns engaged and detached, funny and sad, tender and heartless - the phenomenon of anti-Semitism... the tragedy that changed the face of Europe and the world' Bruce Chatwin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Original Language: German
Top Customer Reviews
I confidently recommend this book to anyone interested in modern literature and European history.
While I read the book, I felt I was engaged in a relationship with a real person, sharing the sights and sounds of rural Rumania, the excitement of Bucharest, the conflicts and confusion he experiences as he faces life on his own and tries to sort out his feelings and experiences about the people he meets in light of the teachings of his family and society.
As someone mentioned in another review, Mr. Von Rezzori has the literary voice of a cultured, sensitive, articulate, sophisticated, intelligent, perceptive European. Many times, he charms you quite legitimately with the wit of the raconteur and the insight and agility of the boulevardier.
Although the beginning of the book is exciting and full of energy, the end is sad--in fact, deeply mournful--as the author recalls some deep regrets of his life.
This book is an interesting journey with an interesting, complex, and articulate man with a gift for literary intimacy.
The Dual Empire and Troth
The Dual Empire was an idea and an ideal. It was Holy, because God's State on earth.
It had a constitution that offered uniform protection, leadership and administration to a gigantic territory inhabited by many nations and threatened by many dangers.
It was held together by the ethical principle of troth, loyalty, the allegiance of vassals, the unconditioned obedience that the liegemen had sworn to their lord and his flag, the two-headed eagle of the Holy Roman Empire.
The aristocratic class
The aristocracy of the 20th century was a class where `people were beginning to accept the notion that work was not necessarily shameful, `something my family still found hard to fathom.' `But anything connected with selling in a store was below social acceptance.'
The ruse of history: defeat
The aristocrats fought among themselves for European supremacy. They not only destroyed their own empire, but also that of their enemies (?). They destroyed the very thing they pretended to fight for: `ideals, holy traditions, values handed down for generations'.
They offered political and social power to `power-drunk demagogues mounted on a pedestal made up of interwoven interests - financial, mercantile and political'.
The protagonist continues in raging reactionary prose: `Every bomb simply opened the cellars and let the rats free, the profiteers, the greedy, the uncivilized, the illiterates, the oppressed and offended who wanted their share of the cake no matter how.'
The protagonist's class feels, justly, `a collective guilt, the oddly empty grief, the madness, the melancholy of golden memories (that sunken golden flag).'
He sees himself as `a moth-eaten survivor of a bygone splendid world', eluding `an out-an-out collision with reality, for he knew how dangerous reality was.'(!)
He `will not live long enough to see those liberated rats produce a civilization of what they think to be social justice.'
Gregor von Rezzori's book is a supreme expression of the mentality of the First Estate, who looked upon the Third Estate as (potential) thieves of `their share of the cake'. They protected themselves under the banner of their leader `the Emperor and his army' and the `Holy' Second Estate. But, unfortunately for them, they didn't understand the `ruse of history'.
I highly recommended this book as an evocation of an old, but not `splendid' and in no way democratic `civilization'.