The Hundred Days

by Joseph Roth


Fiction from Peter Owen Publishers
Translated from German

A poignant look at Napoleon’s seemingly triumphant return to Paris from exile in March 1815. The story of Napoleon’s last grasp at glory is framed both through the eyes of the Emperor himself and infatuated young washerwoman working in the imperial palace. Before long, one hundred days have elapsed and war and truth have crushed the lofty dreams of both Napoleon and those who idolized him.

SKU: 149 Category:


Peter Owen Publishers | Paperback | 224 pages
ISBN: 9780720613636
Date published: 31 October 2011

Originally published in 1935, and out of print in English for seventy years, The Hundred Days achieves Roth’s aim of sending the legendary Napoleon Bonaparte out of the lofty clouds and crashing down to earth.

JOSEPH ROTH was born in Brody, Galicia – then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire now in Ukraine – in 1894. He served in the Austrian army between 1916 and 1918. After the war he moved to Vienna and worked for newspapers in Austria and Germany. He established a reputation for himself as a brilliant and insightful journalist. As early as 1923 he warned against the threat of Nazism, travelling extensively not only across Austria and Germany but all over Eastern Europe and Russia where he reported on the Russian revolution. In 1933, with his warnings about Fascism unheeded, he left Germany in disgust and moved to Paris where depression and alcoholism overcame him. He drank himself into an early grave in 1939.

Translated from the German by Richard Panchyk.


‘Newly translated after being out of print in English for 70 years, this novel by Austrian master Roth (Radetzky March; The Wandering Jews) captures Europe at a time of great political upheaval. The themes are grand and sweeping: the madness of war and politics, the frenzy of mass movements, and the cult of personality. The oversize personality at the center of this novel is Napoleon (although it could easily be Hitler or Mussolini). Roth brings the idolization and hero worship of this leader beautifully to life through the eyes of a wonderful fictional creation: Angelina, a simple country girl who works in the Imperial Palace as a maid and washerwoman. She loves Napoleon above all else, and the author explores the human cost of this young woman’s deep and tragic love. The trajectory of the novel addresses Angelina’s misplaced hero worship, gradually transforming Napoleon from a god to a defeated general at Waterloo. Roth has filled this novel with his gorgeous, trademark descriptive writing.’ — Patrick Sullivan, Library Journal

‘Roth has the technique and style of a major writer … his prose is always equal to the diverse effects he demands of it – nicely modulated irony, lyrical flights, hard concrete descriptive passages.’ – The New Republic

‘Writing about the death of an empire and the end of an era Roth perhaps seems to have more to say to us now than ever before . . . At school, I was forever having to study the Habsburg Empire; it was only reading Roth, years later, that gave it human colour and meaning, to the point where it now strikes me as being the main story of our continent.’ – Michael Hofmann

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