Philip Roth

Philip Milton Roth (March 19, 1933 – May 22, 2018) was an American novelist and short-story writer.

Roth's fiction, regularly set in his birthplace of Newark, New Jersey, is known for its intensely autobiographical character, for philosophically and formally blurring the distinction between reality and fiction, for its "sensual, ingenious style" and for its provocative explorations of American identity.[1]

Roth first gained attention with the 1959 novella Goodbye, Columbus, for which he received the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction.[2][3] He became one of the most awarded American writers of his generation. His books twice received the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle award, and three times the PEN/Faulkner Award. He received a Pulitzer Prize for his 1997 novel American Pastoral, which featured one of his best-known characters, Nathan Zuckerman, a character in many of Roth's novels. The Human Stain (2000), another Zuckerman novel, was awarded the United Kingdom's WH Smith Literary Award for the best book of the year. In 2001, in Prague, Roth received the inaugural Franz Kafka Prize.

Philip Roth
Roth in 1973
Roth in 1973
BornPhilip Milton Roth
March 19, 1933
Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
DiedMay 22, 2018 (aged 85)
Manhattan, New York City, U.S.
Resting placeBard College Cemetery
EducationBucknell University (BA)
University of Chicago (MA)
GenreLiterary fiction
Margaret Martinson Williams
(m. 1959–1963)

Claire Bloom
(m. 1990–1995)

Early life and academic pursuits

Philip Roth was born in Newark, New Jersey, on March 19, 1933,[4] and grew up at 81 Summit Avenue in the Weequahic neighborhood.[4] He was the second child of Bess (née Finkel) and Herman Roth, an insurance broker.[5] Roth's family was Jewish, and his parents were second-generation Americans. Roth's father's parents came from Kozlov near Lviv / Lemberg in Galicia; his mother's ancestors were from the region of Kiev. He graduated from Newark's Weequahic High School in or around 1950.[6] As Arnold H. Lubasch wrote in the New York Times in 1969, "It has provided the focus for the fiction of Philip Roth, the novelist who evokes his era at Weequahic High School in the highly acclaimed Portnoy's Complaint. ... Besides identifying Weequahic High School by name, the novel specifies such sites as the Empire Burlesque, the Weequahic Diner, the Newark Museum and Irvington Park, all local landmarks that helped shape the youth of the real Roth and the fictional Portnoy, both graduates of Weequahic class of '50." The Weequahic Yearbook (1950) describes Roth as "A boy of real intelligence, combined with wit and common sense." He was known as a comedian during his time at school.[7] Roth attended Rutgers University in Newark for a year, then transferred to Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, where he earned a B.A., magna cum laude in English and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He received a scholarship to attend the University of Chicago, where he earned an M.A. in English literature[8] in 1955 and worked briefly as an instructor in the university's writing program.[9] That same year, rather than wait to be drafted, Roth enlisted in the army, but he suffered a back injury during basic training and was given a medical discharge. He returned to Chicago in 1956 to study for a PhD in Literature but dropped out after one term.[10] Roth taught creative writing at the University of Iowa and Princeton University. He later continued his academic career at the University of Pennsylvania, where he taught comparative literature before retiring from teaching in 1991.[9] Between the end of his studies and the publication of his first book in 1959, Roth served two years in the United States Army and then wrote short fiction and criticism for various magazines, including movie reviews for The New Republic.

Writing career

Roth's work first appeared in print in the Chicago Review while he was studying, and later teaching, at the University of Chicago.[11][12][13] His first book, Goodbye, Columbus, contains the novella Goodbye, Columbus and four short stories. It won the National Book Award in 1960. He published his first full-length novel, Letting Go, in 1962. In 1967 he published When She Was Good, set in the WASP Midwest in the 1940s. It is based in part on the life of Margaret Martinson Williams, whom Roth married in 1959.[10] The publication in 1969 of his fourth and most controversial novel, Portnoy's Complaint, gave Roth widespread commercial and critical success, causing his profile to rise significantly.[3][14] During the 1970s Roth experimented in various modes, from the political satire Our Gang to the Kafkaesque The Breast. By the end of the decade Roth had created his alter ego Nathan Zuckerman. In a series of highly self-referential novels and novellas that followed between 1979 and 1986, Zuckerman appeared as either the main character or an interlocutor.

Sabbath's Theater (1995) may have Roth's most lecherous protagonist, Mickey Sabbath, a disgraced former puppeteer; it won his second National Book Award.[15] In complete contrast, American Pastoral (1997), the first volume of his so-called second Zuckerman trilogy, focuses on the life of virtuous Newark star athlete Swede Levov, and the tragedy that befalls him when Levov's teenage daughter becomes a domestic terrorist during the late 1960s; it won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.[16] I Married a Communist (1998) focuses on the McCarthy era. The Human Stain examines identity politics in 1990s America. The Dying Animal (2001) is a short novel about eros and death that revisits literary professor David Kepesh, protagonist of two 1970s works, The Breast and The Professor of Desire. In The Plot Against America (2004), Roth imagines an alternative American history in which Charles Lindbergh, aviator hero and isolationist, is elected U.S. president in 1940, and the U.S. negotiates an understanding with Hitler's Nazi Germany and embarks on its own program of anti-Semitism.

Roth's novel Everyman, a meditation on illness, aging, desire, and death, was published in May 2006. For Everyman Roth won his third PEN/Faulkner Award, making him the only person so honored. Exit Ghost, which again features Nathan Zuckerman, was released in October 2007. It was the last Zuckerman novel.[17] Indignation, Roth's 29th book, was published on September 16, 2008. Set in 1951, during the Korean War, it follows Marcus Messner's departure from Newark to Ohio's Winesburg College, where he begins his sophomore year. In 2009, Roth's 30th book, The Humbling, was published. It tells the story of the last performances of Simon Axler, a celebrated stage actor. Roth's 31st book, Nemesis, was published on October 5, 2010. According to the book's notes, Nemesis is the last in a series of four "short novels," after Everyman, Indignation and The Humbling. In October 2009, during an interview with Tina Brown of The Daily Beast to promote The Humbling, Roth considered the future of literature and its place in society, stating his belief that within 25 years the reading of novels will be regarded as a "cultic" activity:

I was being optimistic about 25 years really. I think it's going to be cultic. I think always people will be reading them but it will be a small group of people. Maybe more people than now read Latin poetry, but somewhere in that range. ... To read a novel requires a certain amount of concentration, focus, devotion to the reading. If you read a novel in more than two weeks you don't read the novel really. So I think that kind of concentration and focus and attentiveness is hard to come by—it's hard to find huge numbers of people, large numbers of people, significant numbers of people, who have those qualities[.][18]

When asked about the prospects for printed versus digital books, Roth was equally downbeat:

The book can't compete with the screen. It couldn't compete [in the] beginning with the movie screen. It couldn't compete with the television screen, and it can't compete with the computer screen. ... Now we have all those screens, so against all those screens a book couldn't measure up.[19]

This was not the first time Roth had expressed pessimism about the future of the novel and its significance in recent years. Talking to the Observer's Robert McCrum in 2001, he said, "I'm not good at finding 'encouraging' features in American culture. I doubt that aesthetic literacy has much of a future here."[18] In an October 2012 interview with the French magazine Les Inrockuptibles, Roth announced that he would be retiring from writing[20] and confirmed subsequently in Le Monde that he would no longer publish fiction.[21] In May 2014, Roth claimed in an interview with Alan Yentob for the BBC that "this is my last appearance on television, my absolutely last appearance on any stage anywhere."[22]

Influences and themes

Much of Roth's fiction revolves around semi-autobiographical themes, while self-consciously and playfully addressing the perils of establishing connections between Roth and his fictional lives and voices.[23] Examples of this close relationship between the author's life and his characters' include narrators and protagonists such as David Kepesh and Nathan Zuckerman as well as the character "Philip Roth", who appears in The Plot Against America and of whom there are two in Operation Shylock. Critic Jacques Berlinerblau noted in The Chronicle of Higher Education that these fictional voices create a complex and tricky experience for readers, deceiving them into believing they "know" Roth.[23] In Roth's fiction, the question of authorship is intertwined with the theme of the idealistic, secular Jewish son who attempts to distance himself from Jewish customs and traditions, and from what he perceives as the sometimes suffocating influence of parents, rabbis, and other community leaders.[24] Roth's fiction has been described by critics as pervaded by "a kind of alienation that is enlivened and exacerbated by what binds it".[24]

Roth's first work, Goodbye, Columbus, was an irreverently humorous depiction of the life of middle-class Jewish Americans, and met controversy among reviewers, who were highly polarized in their judgments;[3] one criticized it as infused with a sense of self-loathing. In response, Roth, in his 1963 essay "Writing About Jews" (collected in Reading Myself and Others), maintained that he wanted to explore the conflict between the call to Jewish solidarity and his desire to be free to question the values and morals of middle-class Jewish Americans uncertain of their identities in an era of cultural assimilation and upward social mobility:

The cry 'Watch out for the goyim!' at times seems more the expression of an unconscious wish than of a warning: Oh that they were out there, so that we could be together here! A rumor of persecution, a taste of exile, might even bring with it the old world of feelings and habits—something to replace the new world of social accessibility and moral indifference, the world which tempts all our promiscuous instincts, and where one cannot always figure out what a Jew is that a Christian is not.[25]

In Roth's fiction, the exploration of "promiscuous instincts" within the context of Jewish lives, mainly from a male viewpoint, plays an important role. In the words of critic Hermione Lee:

Philip Roth's fiction strains to shed the burden of Jewish traditions and proscriptions. ... The liberated Jewish consciousness, let loose into the disintegration of the American Dream, finds itself deracinated and homeless. American society and politics, by the late sixties, are a grotesque travesty of what Jewish immigrants had traveled towards: liberty, peace, security, a decent liberal democracy.[26]

While Roth's fiction has strong autobiographical influences, it also incorporates social commentary and political satire, most obviously in Our Gang and Operation Shylock. From the 1990s on Roth's fiction often combined autobiographical elements with retrospective dramatizations of postwar American life. Roth described American Pastoral and the two following novels as a loosely connected "American trilogy". Each of these novels treats aspects of the postwar era against the backdrop of the nostalgically remembered Jewish-American childhood of Nathan Zuckerman, in which the experience of life on the American home front during the Second World War features prominently.

In much of Roth's fiction, the 1940s, comprising Roth's and Zuckerman's childhood, mark a high point of American idealism and social cohesion. A more satirical treatment of the patriotism and idealism of the war years is evident in Roth's comic novels, such as Portnoy's Complaint and Sabbath's Theater. In The Plot Against America, the alternate history of the war years dramatizes the prevalence of anti-Semitism and racism in America at the time, despite the promotion of increasingly influential anti-racist ideals during the war. In his fiction, Roth portrayed the 1940s, and the New Deal era of the 1930s that preceded it, as a heroic phase in American history. A sense of frustration with social and political developments in the United States since the 1940s is palpable in the American trilogy and Exit Ghost, but had already been present in Roth's earlier works that contained political and social satire, such as Our Gang and The Great American Novel. Writing about the latter, Hermione Lee points to the sense of disillusionment with "the American Dream" in Roth's fiction: "The mythic words on which Roth's generation was brought up—winning, patriotism, gamesmanship—are desanctified; greed, fear, racism, and political ambition are disclosed as the motive forces behind the 'all-American ideals'."[26]

Although Roth's writings often explored the Jewish experience in America, Roth rejected being labeled a Jewish-American writer. "It's not a question that interests me. I know exactly what it means to be Jewish and it's really not interesting," he told the Guardian newspaper in 2005. "I'm an American."[27]

Personal life

While at Chicago, Roth met the novelist Saul Bellow, as well as Margaret Martinson in 1956, who became his first wife in 1959. Their separation in 1963, and Martinson's subsequent death in a car crash in 1968, left a lasting mark on Roth's literary output. Martinson was the inspiration for female characters in several of Roth's novels, including Lucy Nelson in When She Was Good and Maureen Tarnopol in My Life as a Man.[28] The pseudo-confessional novel Operation Shylock (1993) and other works draw on a post-operative breakdown[29][30][31] and Roth's experience of the temporary side effects of the sedative Halcion (triazolam), prescribed post-operatively in the 1980s.[32][33]

Roth was an atheist who once said, "When the whole world doesn't believe in God, it'll be a great place."[34][35] He also said during an interview with The Guardian: "I'm exactly the opposite of religious, I'm anti-religious. I find religious people hideous. I hate the religious lies. It's all a big lie," and "It's not a neurotic thing, but the miserable record of religion—I don't even want to talk about it. It's not interesting to talk about the sheep referred to as believers. When I write, I'm alone. It's filled with fear and loneliness and anxiety—and I never needed religion to save me."[36]

In 1990, Roth married his longtime companion, English actress Claire Bloom, with whom he had been living since 1976. In 1994 they divorced, and in 1996 Bloom published a memoir, Leaving a Doll's House, that depicted Roth as a misogynist and control freak. Some critics have detected parallels between Bloom and the character Eve Frame in Roth's I Married a Communist (1998).[10]

Death, burial, and legacy

Roth died at a Manhattan hospital of congestive heart failure on May 22, 2018, at the age of 85.[37][38][39]

Roth was buried at the Bard College Cemetery in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, where in 1999 he taught a class. He had originally planned to be buried next to his parents at the Gomel Chesed Cemetery in Newark, but changed his mind about 15 years before his death, in order to be close to his friend the novelist Norman Manea.[40] Roth expressly banned any religious rituals from his funeral service, though it was noted that only one day after his burial a pebble had been placed on top of his tombstone in accordance with Jewish tradition.[41]

Among the admirers of Roth's work is the singer songwriter, fellow New Jersey native, and acclaimed celebrant of the state's culture, Bruce Springsteen. Roth read the musician's autobiography Born to Run and Springsteen read Roth's American Pastoral, I Married A Communist, and The Human Stain. Springsteen said of Roth's work: "I'll tell you, those three recent books by Philip Roth just knocked me on my ass ... To be in his sixties making work that is so strong, so full of revelations about love and emotional pain, that's the way to live your artistic life. Sustain, sustain, sustain."[42]

List of works



(The above four books are collected as Zuckerman Bound)






Awards and nominations

Two of Roth's works won the National Book Award for Fiction; four others were finalists. Two won National Book Critics Circle awards; again, another five were finalists. He has also won three PEN/Faulkner Awards (Operation Shylock, The Human Stain, and Everyman) and a Pulitzer Prize for his 1997 novel, American Pastoral.[16] In 2001, The Human Stain was awarded the United Kingdom's WH Smith Literary Award for the best book of the year. In 2002, he was awarded the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.[43] Literary critic Harold Bloom has named him as one of the four major American novelists still at work, along with Thomas Pynchon, Don DeLillo, and Cormac McCarthy.[44] His 2004 novel The Plot Against America won the Sidewise Award for Alternate History in 2005 as well as the Society of American Historians' James Fenimore Cooper Prize. Roth was also awarded the United Kingdom's WH Smith Literary Award for the best book of the year, an award Roth has received twice.[45] He was honored in his hometown in October 2005 when then-mayor Sharpe James presided over the unveiling of a street sign in Roth's name on the corner of Summit and Keer Avenues where Roth lived for much of his childhood, a setting prominent in The Plot Against America. A plaque on the house where the Roths lived was also unveiled. In May 2006, he was given the PEN/Nabokov Award, and in 2007 he was awarded the PEN/Faulkner award for Everyman, making him the award's only three-time winner. In April 2007, he was chosen as the recipient of the first PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction.[46]

The May 21, 2006 issue of The New York Times Book Review announced the results of a letter that was sent to what the publication described as "a couple of hundred prominent writers, critics, editors and other literary sages, asking them to please identify 'the single best work of American fiction published in the last 25 years.'" Six of Roth's novels were among the 22 selected: American Pastoral, The Counterlife, Operation Shylock, Sabbath's Theater, The Human Stain, and The Plot Against America.[47] The accompanying essay, written by critic A.O. Scott, stated, "If we had asked for the single best writer of fiction of the past 25 years, [Roth] would have won."[48] In 2009, he was awarded the Welt-Literaturpreis of the German newspaper Die Welt.[49]

Roth was awarded the 42nd Edward MacDowell Medal by the MacDowell Colony in 2001.[50]

Roth was awarded the 2010 National Humanities Medal by U.S. President Barack Obama in the East Room of the White House on March 2, 2011.[51][52]

In May 2011, Roth was awarded the Man Booker International Prize for lifetime achievement in fiction on the world stage, the fourth winner of the biennial prize.[53] One of the judges, Carmen Callil, a publisher of the feminist Virago house, withdrew in protest, referring to Roth's work as "Emperor's clothes". She said "he goes on and on and on about the same subject in almost every single book. It's as though he's sitting on your face and you can't breathe ... I don't rate him as a writer at all ...".[54] Observers quickly noted that Callil had a conflict of interest, having published a book by Claire Bloom (Roth's ex-wife) that criticized Roth and lambasted their marriage.[54] In response, one of the two other Booker judges, Rick Gekoski, remarked:

In 1959 he writes Goodbye, Columbus and it's a masterpiece, magnificent. Fifty-one years later he's 78 years old and he writes Nemesis and it is so wonderful, such a terrific novel ... Tell me one other writer who 50 years apart writes masterpieces ... If you look at the trajectory of the average novel writer, there is a learning period, then a period of high achievement, then the talent runs out and in middle age they start slowly to decline. People say why aren't Martin [Amis] and Julian [Barnes] getting on the Booker prize shortlist, but that's what happens in middle age. Philip Roth, though, gets better and better in middle age. In the 1990s he was almost incapable of not writing a masterpiece—The Human Stain, The Plot Against America, I Married a Communist. He was 65–70 years old, what the hell's he doing writing that well?[55]

In 2012 he received the Prince of Asturias Award for literature.[56] On March 19, 2013, Roth's 80th birthday was celebrated in public ceremonies at the Newark Museum.[57]


Eight of Philip Roth's novels and short stories have been adapted as films: Goodbye, Columbus; Portnoy's Complaint; The Human Stain; The Dying Animal, adapted as Elegy; The Humbling; Indignation; and American Pastoral. In addition, The Ghost Writer was adapted for television in 1984.[58] In 2014, filmmaker Alex Ross Perry made Listen Up Philip, which was influenced by Roth's art.


Honorary degrees

Location Date School Degree
 Pennsylvania 1979 Bucknell University Doctorate
 New York 1985 Bard College Doctor of Letters (D.Litt) [63]
 New York May 20, 1987 Columbia University Doctor of Humane Letters (DHL) [64]
 New Jersey May 21, 1987 Rutgers University Doctor of Humane Letters (DHL) [65][66]
 Rhode Island 2001 Brown University Doctor of Letters (D.Litt) [67]
 Pennsylvania 2003 University of Pennsylvania Doctor of Humane Letters (DHL) [68]
 Massachusetts June 5, 2003 Harvard University Doctor of Humane Letters (DHL) [69]
 New York May 22, 2014 Jewish Theological Seminary of America Doctorate [70]



  1. ^ U.S. Department of State, U.S. Life, "American Prose, 1945–1990: Realism and Experimentation" Archived March 4, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b "National Book Awards – 1960". National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2012-03-11.
    (With acceptance speech by Roth and essay by Larry Dark and others (five) from the Awards 60-year anniversary blog.)
  3. ^ a b c Brauner (2005), pp. 43–7
  4. ^ a b Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of American writers. 2001. p. 350. ISBN 978-0-87779-022-8.
  5. ^ Shechner, Mark (January 1, 2003). "Up Society's Ass, Copper: Rereading Philip Roth". Univ of Wisconsin Press – via Google Books.
  6. ^ Lubasch, Arnold H. "Philip Roth Shakes Weequahic High", The New York Times, February 28, 1969. Accessed September 8, 2007
  7. ^ Weequahic Yearbook (1950)
  8. ^ "Here are 5 essential works of fiction by Philip Roth to remember him by". Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  9. ^ a b "Jewish American author Philip Roth dies at 85". Israel National News. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  10. ^ a b c McGrath, Charles (May 22, 2018). "Philip Roth, Towering Novelist Who Explored Lust, Jewish Life and America, Dies at 85". The New York Times. Retrieved June 12, 2018.
  11. ^ Roth, Philip. "The Day It Snowed." Chicago Review, vol. 8, no. 4, 1954, pp. 34–44. JSTOR,
  12. ^ Roth, Philip. "Mrs. Lindbergh, Mr. Ciardi, and the Teeth and Claws of the Civilized World." Chicago Review, vol. 11, no. 2, 1957, pp. 72–76. JSTOR,
  13. ^ Roth, Philip. "Positive Thinking on Pennsylvania Avenue." Chicago Review, vol. 11, no. 1, 1957, pp. 21–24. JSTOR,
  14. ^ Saxton (1974)
  15. ^ a b "National Book Awards – 1995". National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2012-03-11.
    (With essay by Ed Porter from the Awards 60-year anniversary blog.)
  16. ^ a b c d e f "Fiction". Past winners & finalists by category. The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved March 27, 2012.
  17. ^ "Zuckerman’s Last Hurrah." New York Times. November 30, 2006.
  18. ^ a b Flood, Alison (October 26, 2009). "Philip Roth predicts novel will be minority cult within 25 years". The Guardian. London.
  19. ^ Brown, Tina (October 21, 2009). "Philip Roth Unbound: The Full Interview". The Daily Beast. Retrieved March 2, 2010.
  20. ^ Philip Roth retires from novels. The New Yorker 2012-11.
  21. ^ Philip Roth : "I don't wish to be a slave any longer to the stringent exigencies of literature". Josyane Savigneau, Le Monde. February 14, 2013.
  22. ^ Bye-bye ... Philip Roth talks of fame, sex and growing old in last interview. Robert McCrum, The Guardian. May 17, 2014.
  23. ^ a b Berlinerblau, Jacques (April 7, 2014). "Do We Know Philip Roth?". The Chronicle of Higher Education. ISSN 0009-5982. Retrieved April 7, 2014.
  24. ^ a b Greenberg, Robert M. (Winter 1997) "Transgression in the Fiction of Philip Roth". Twentieth Century Literature. Archived March 20, 2008.
  25. ^ Roth, Philip (December 1963). "Writing About Jews". Commentary.
  26. ^ a b Lee, Hermione (1982). Philip Roth. New York: Methuen & Co., 1982.
  27. ^ Editorial, Reuters. "Pulitzer-winning author Philip Roth dies at 85, says agent". U.S. Retrieved May 26, 2018.
  28. ^ Roth, Philip. The Facts: A Novelist's Autobiography. New York, 1988. Roth discusses Martinson's portrait in this memoir. He calls her "Josie" in When She Was Good on pp. 149 and 175. He discusses her as an inspiration for My Life as a Man throughout the book's second half, most completely in the chapter "Girl of My Dreams," which includes this on p. 110: "Why should I have tried to make up anything better? How could I?" Her influence upon Portnoy's Complaint is seen in The Facts as more diffuse, a kind of loosening-up for the author: "It took time and it took blood, and not, really, until I began Portnoy's Complaint would I be able to cut loose with anything approaching her gift for flabbergasting boldness." (p. 149)
  29. ^ p. 5, Philip Roth, The Facts: A Novelist's Autobiography, Random House, 2011: "I'm talking about a breakdown. Although there's no need to delve into particulars ... what was to have been minor surgery ... led to an extreme depression that carried me right to the edge of emotional and mental dissolution. It was in the period of post-crack-up medication, with the clarity attending the remission of an illness ..."
  30. ^ p. 79, Timothy Parrish (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Philip Roth, Cambridge University Press, 2007: "In point of fact, Roth's surgeries (one the knee surgery, which is followed by a nervous breakdown, the other heart surgery) span the period ..."
  31. ^ pp. 108–09, Harold Bloom, Philip Roth, Infobase Publishing, 2003
  32. ^ Stoeffel, Kat (May 24, 2012). "Roth on 'Roth v. Roth v. Roth'". New York Observer. Retrieved September 13, 2012.
  33. ^ McCrum, Robert (August 21, 2008). "The story of my lives". The Guardian. London. Retrieved September 13, 2012.
  34. ^ The Wit and Blasphemy of Atheists: 500 Greatest Quips and Quotes from Freethinkers, Non-Believers and the Happily Damned. Ulysses Press. 2011. p. 190. ISBN 9781569759707. When the whole world doesn't believe in God, it'll be a great place. – Philip Roth
  35. ^ Rita Braver. "Philip Roth on Fame, Sex and God". CBS Interactive Inc. Retrieved May 5, 2014. 'Do you consider yourself a religious person?' 'No, I don't have a religious bone in my body,' Roth said. 'You don't?' 'No.' 'So, do you feel like there's a God out there?' Braver asked. 'I'm afraid there isn't, no,' Roth said. 'You know that telling the whole world that you don't believe in God is going to, you know, have people say, "Oh my goodness, you know, that's a terrible thing for him to say,"' Braver said. Roth replied, 'When the whole world doesn't believe in God, it'll be a great place.'
  36. ^ Krasnik, Martin (December 14, 2005). "'It no longer feels a great injustice that I have to die'" – via The Guardian.
  37. ^ "Author Philip Roth dies aged 85". BBC News. May 23, 2018. Retrieved May 23, 2018.
  38. ^ "Philip Roth, Towering Novelist Who Explored Lust, Jewish Life and America, Dies at 85". The New York Times. May 22, 2018. Retrieved May 22, 2018.
  39. ^ "American literary giant Philip Roth dies". May 23, 2018. Retrieved May 28, 2018 – via
  40. ^ JTA (May 26, 2018). "Philip Roth, Who 'Forbade' Jewish Rituals at His Funeral, to Be Buried Monday". Retrieved June 24, 2018 – via Haaretz.
  41. ^ "Philip Roth is laid to rest in Annandale". Retrieved June 24, 2018.
  42. ^ O'Hagan, Sean (September 25, 2004). "Philip Roth: One angry man". the Guardian. Retrieved May 31, 2018.
  43. ^ a b "Distinguished Contribution to American Letters". National Book Foundation. Retrieved March 11, 2012. (With introduction by Steve Martin; acceptance speech not available from NBF.)
  44. ^ Bloom, Harold. "Dumbing down American readers". The Boston Globe. September 24, 2003.
  45. ^ WH Smith Award Archived June 19, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  46. ^ PEN American Center. "Philip Roth Wins Inaugural PEN/Saul Bellow Award". April 2, 2007. Archived October 4, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  47. ^ The New York Times Book Review. "What Is the Best Work of American Fiction of the Last 25 Years?". May 21, 2006.
  48. ^ Scott, A.O. "In Search of the Best". The New York Times. May 21, 2006.
  49. ^ "Philip Roth erhält WELT-Literaturpreis 2009". Berliner Morgenpost (in German). October 1, 2009. Retrieved November 11, 2012.
  50. ^ Medal Day History Archived October 7, 2010, at the Wayback Machine The MacDowell Colony.
  51. ^ President Obama talks about the influence of art and words The Washington Post, March 2, 2011.
  52. ^ The 2010 National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal Ceremony Archived November 8, 2014, at the Wayback Machine The White House, March 2, 2011.
  53. ^ a b "Literary giant wins fourth Man Booker International Prize". Archived from the original on May 25, 2011. Retrieved May 18, 2011.
  54. ^ a b Halford, Macy (May 18, 2011). "Philip Roth and the Booker Judge". The New Yorker. Retrieved September 8, 2012.
  55. ^ Flood, Alison (May 18, 2011). "Judge withdraws over Philip Roth's Booker win". The Guardian. London.
  56. ^ EiTB. "US author Philip Roth wins Prince of Asturias prize for literature". Archived from the original on August 3, 2012. Retrieved June 6, 2012.
  57. ^ "Four Score and Philip Roth".
  58. ^ "The Ghost Writer". January 17, 1984 – via IMDb.
  59. ^ "PEN Gala: Philip Roth Receives 'Literary Service' Award". Huffington Post. May 1, 2013. Archived from the original on May 30, 2013.
  60. ^ "Philip Roth Honored at PEN Gala". May 1, 2013.
  61. ^ "The PEN/Allen Foundation Literary Service Award: Philip Roth". PEN American Center. Retrieved December 6, 2014.
  62. ^ See The New York Times, Monday, September 30, 2013, p. C4. Congratulations Philip Roth on being named Commander of the Legion of Honor by the Republic of France. Vintage/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  63. ^ College, Bard. "Bard College Catalogue". Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  64. ^ "Columbia Daily Spectator 20 May 1987 — Columbia Spectator". Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  65. ^ "Past Rutgers University Honorary Degree Recipients - Office of the Secretary of the University". Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  66. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 19, 2015. Retrieved May 27, 2018.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  67. ^ "Honorary Degrees - The Corporation of Brown University". Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  68. ^ "Penn: Office of the University Secretary: Chronological Listing of Honorary Degrees". Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  69. ^ "11 awarded honorary degrees:". June 5, 2003. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  70. ^ "Philip Roth, onetime 'enfant terrible,' gets JTS honor". Retrieved May 28, 2018.


Further reading and literary criticism

  • Balint, Benjamin, "Philip Roth's Counterlives," Books & Ideas, May 5, 2014.
  • Bloom, Harold, ed., Modern Critical Views of Philip Roth, Chelsea House, New York, 2003.
  • Bloom, Harold and Welsch, Gabe, eds., Modern Critical Interpretations of Philip Roth's Portnoy's Complaint, Chelsea House, 2003.
  • Cooper, Alan, Philip Roth and the Jews (SUNY Series in Modern Jewish Literature and Culture), SUNY Press, Albany, NY, 1996.
  • Finkielkraut, Alain, "La Plaisanterie" (on The Human Stain), in Un coeur intelligent, Paris: Stock/Flammarion, 2009.
  • Finkielkraut, Alain, "La complainte du désamour" (on The Professor of Desire), in Et si l'amour durait Paris: Stock, 2011.
  • Kinzel, Till, Die Tragödie und Komödie des amerikanischen Lebens. Eine Studie zu Zuckermans Amerika in Philip Roths Amerika-Trilogie (American Studies Monograph Series), Heidelberg: Winter, 2006.
  • Milowitz, Steven, Philip Roth Considered: The Concentrationary Universe of the American writer, Routledge, New York, 2000.
  • Morley, Catherine, The Quest for Epic in Contemporary American Literature, Routledge, New York, 2008.
  • Parrish, Timothy, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Philip Roth, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2007.
  • Pierpont, Claudia Roth "Roth Unbound: A Writer and His Books" Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013.
  • Podhoretz, Norman, "The Adventures of Philip Roth," Commentary (October 1998), reprinted as "Philip Roth, Then and Now" in The Norman Podhoretz Reader, 2004.
  • Posnock, Ross, Philip Roth's Rude Truth: The Art of Immaturity, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 2006.
  • Royal, Derek Parker, Philip Roth: New Perspectives on an American Author, Praeger Publishers, Santa Barbara, CA, 2005.
  • Safer, Elaine B., Mocking the Age: The Later Novels of Philip Roth (SUNY Series in Modern Jewish Literature and Culture), SUNY Press, Albany, NY, 2006.
  • Searles, George J., ed., Conversations With Philip Roth, University of Mississippi Press, Jackson, Mississippi, 1992.
  • Searles, George J., The Fiction of Philip Roth and John Updike, Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale, Illinois, 1984.
  • Shostak, Debra B., Philip Roth: Countertexts, Counterlives, University of South Carolina Press, Columbia, SC, 2004.
  • Simic, Charles, "The Nicest Boy in the World," The New York Review of Books, Vol. LV, No. October 15, 9 2008.
  • Swirski, Peter, "It Can't Happen Here, or Politics, Emotions, and Philip Roth's The Plot Against America." American Utopia and Social Engineering in Literature, Social Thought, and Political History. New York, Routledge, 2011.
  • Wöltje, Wiebke-Maria, My finger on the pulse of the nation. Intellektuelle Protagonisten im Romanwerk Philip Roths (Mosaic, 26), Trier: WVT, 2006.

External links

A Philip Roth Reader

A Philip Roth Reader is a selection of writings by Philip Roth first published in 1980 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, with a revised version reprinted in 1993 by Vintage Books. Both editions include selections from Roth's first eight novels (up to The Ghost Writer), along with the previously uncollected story "Novotny's Pain" and the essay-story "Looking at Kafka."

American Pastoral

For the 2016 film adaptation, see American Pastoral (film).American Pastoral is a Philip Roth novel published in 1997 concerning Seymour "Swede" Levov, a successful Jewish American businessman and former high school star athlete from Newark, New Jersey. Levov's happy and conventional upper middle class life is ruined by the domestic social and political turmoil of the 1960s during the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson, which in the novel is described as a manifestation of the "indigenous American berserk".

The framing device in American Pastoral is a 45th high school reunion attended by frequent Roth alter ego Nathan Zuckerman, who is the narrator. At the reunion, in 1995, Zuckerman meets former classmate Jerry Levov who describes to him the tragic derailment of the life of his recently deceased older brother, Seymour "Swede" Levov. After Seymour's teenage daughter Merry, in 1968, set off a bomb in protest against American involvement in the Vietnam War, killing a bystander, and subsequently went into hiding, Seymour remained traumatized for the rest of his life. The rest of the novel consists of Zuckerman's posthumous recreation of Seymour's life, based on Jerry's revelation, a few newspaper clippings, and Zuckerman's own impressions after two brief run-ins with "the Swede," in 1985 and shortly before Seymour's death from prostate cancer, at age 68, in 1995. In these encounters, which take place early in the novel, Zuckerman learns that Seymour has remarried and has three young sons, but Seymour's daughter Merry is never mentioned. In Zuckerman's reimagining of Seymour's life, this second marriage has no part; it ends in 1973 with Watergate unraveling on TV while the previous lives of the protagonists completely disintegrate.

American Pastoral won the Pulitzer Prize in 1998 and was included in TIME's List of the 100 Best Novels. The film rights to it were later optioned, though a film version was not made until 2016. In 2006, it was one of the runners-up to Toni Morrison's Beloved, in the "What is the Best Work of American Fiction of the Last 25 Years?" contest held by the New York Times Book Review.

Elegy (film)

Elegy is a 2008 American romantic drama film directed by Isabel Coixet. Its screenplay is adapted by Nicholas Meyer from the novel The Dying Animal by Philip Roth. The film stars Penélope Cruz, Ben Kingsley, and Dennis Hopper, and features Patricia Clarkson and Peter Sarsgaard in supporting roles. The film was set in New York City but was shot in Vancouver. The film's score was composed and conducted by Cliff Eidelman.

Everyman (novel)

Everyman is a novel by Philip Roth, published by Houghton Mifflin in May 2006. It won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction in 2007. It is Roth's third novel to receive the prize.

Exit Ghost

Exit Ghost is a 2007 novel by Philip Roth. It is the ninth, and last, novel featuring Nathan Zuckerman.

Goodbye, Columbus

Goodbye, Columbus is a 1959 collection of fiction by the American novelist Philip Roth, comprising the title novella "Goodbye, Columbus"—which first appeared in The Paris Review—and five short stories. It was his first book and was published by Houghton Mifflin.

In addition to the title novella, set in New Jersey, Goodbye, Columbus contains the five short stories "The Conversion of the Jews," "Defender of the Faith," "Epstein," "You Can't Tell a Man by the Song He Sings," and "Eli, the Fanatic." Each story deals with the concerns of second and third-generation assimilated American Jews as they leave the ethnic ghettos of their parents and grandparents and go on to college, to white-collar professions, and to life in the suburbs.

The book was a critical success for Roth and won the 1960 U.S. National Book Award for Fiction. The book was not without controversy, as people within the Jewish community took issue with Roth's less than flattering portrayal of some characters. The short story Defender of the Faith, about a Jewish sergeant who is exploited by three shirking, coreligionist draftees, drew particular ire. When Roth in 1962 appeared on a panel alongside the distinguished black novelist Ralph Ellison to discuss minority representation in literature, the questions directed at him became denunciations. Many accused Roth of being a self-hating Jew, a label that stuck with him for years.The title novella was made into the 1969 film Goodbye, Columbus, starring Ali MacGraw and Richard Benjamin.

Nemesis (Roth novel)

Nemesis is a novel by Philip Roth published on October 5, 2010, by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. It is Roth's 31st book, "a work of fiction set in the summer of 1944 that tells of a polio epidemic and its effects on a closely knit Newark community and its children." In 2012, Philip Roth told an interviewer that Nemesis would be his last novel.

Philip Roth bibliography

This is a bibliography of works by and about Philip Roth.

Portnoy's Complaint

Portnoy's Complaint is a 1969 American novel by Philip Roth. Its success turned Roth into a major celebrity, sparking a storm of controversy over its explicit and candid treatment of sexuality, including detailed depictions of masturbation using various props including a piece of liver. The novel tells the humorous monologue of "a lust-ridden, mother-addicted young Jewish bachelor," who confesses to his psychoanalyst in "intimate, shameful detail, and coarse, abusive language." Many of its characteristics (such as comedic prose, themes of sexual desire and sexual frustration, and a self-conscious literariness) went on to become Roth trademarks.In 1998, the Modern Library ranked Portnoy's Complaint 52nd on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. Time included this novel in its "TIME 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005."

Sabbath's Theater

Sabbath's Theater is a novel by Philip Roth about the exploits of 64-year-old Mickey Sabbath. It won the 1995 U.S. National Book Award for Fiction. The cover is a detail of Sailor and Girl (1925) by German painter Otto Dix.

The Dying Animal

The Dying Animal (2001) is a short novel by the US writer Philip Roth. It tells the story of senior literature professor David Kepesh, renowned for his literature-themed radio show. Kepesh is finally destroyed by his inability to comprehend emotional commitment. The Dying Animal is the third book in a series portraying the life of the fictional professor, preceded by The Breast (1972) and The Professor of Desire (1977).

The Great American Novel (Roth)

The Great American Novel is a novel by Philip Roth, published in 1973.

The Human Stain

The Human Stain (2000) is a novel by Philip Roth set in late 1990s rural New England. Its first person narrator is 65-year-old author Nathan Zuckerman, who appeared in several earlier Roth novels, and who also figures in both American Pastoral (1997) and I Married a Communist (1998), two books that form a loose trilogy with The Human Stain. Zuckerman acts largely as an observer as the complex story of the protagonist, Coleman Silk, a retired professor of classics, is slowly revealed.

A national bestseller, The Human Stain was adapted as a film by the same name directed by Robert Benton. Released in 2003, the film starred Anthony Hopkins, Nicole Kidman, Wentworth Miller and Gary Sinise.

The Human Stain (film)

The Human Stain is a 2003 drama film directed by Robert Benton. Its screenplay, by Nicholas Meyer, is based on the novel of the same name by Philip Roth. The film stars Anthony Hopkins and Nicole Kidman.

The Humbling

For the film adaptation, see The Humbling (film)The Humbling is a novel by Philip Roth published in the fall of 2009 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. It is Roth's 30th book and concerns "an aging stage actor whose empty life is altered by a 'counterplot of unusual erotic desire'."

The Humbling (film)

The Humbling is a 2014 comedy-drama film directed by Barry Levinson and written by Buck Henry and Michal Zebede, based on the 2009 novel The Humbling by Philip Roth. The film stars Al Pacino, Greta Gerwig, Dianne Wiest, Charles Grodin and Kyra Sedgwick.

It was screened in the Special Presentations section of the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival and in the Out of Competition section of the 71st Venice International Film Festival. The film was released on January 23, 2015, by Millennium Films.

The Plot Against America

The Plot Against America is a novel by Philip Roth published in 2004. It is an alternative history in which Franklin D. Roosevelt is defeated in the presidential election of 1940 by Charles Lindbergh. The novel follows the fortunes of the Roth family during the Lindbergh presidency, as antisemitism becomes more accepted in American life and Jewish-American families like the Roths are persecuted on various levels. The narrator and central character in the novel is the young Philip, and the care with which his confusion and terror are rendered makes the novel as much about the mysteries of growing up as about American politics. Roth based his novel on the isolationist ideas espoused by Lindbergh in real life as a spokesman for the America First Committee, and on his own experiences growing up in Newark, New Jersey. The novel depicts the Weequahic section of Newark which includes Weequahic High School from which Roth graduated.

The Prague Orgy

The Prague Orgy (1985) is a novella by Philip Roth. The short book is the epilogue to his trilogy Zuckerman Bound. The story follows Roth's alter ego Nathan Zuckerman, on a journey to Communist Prague in 1976 seeking the unpublished manuscripts of a Yiddish writer. The book, presented as journal entries by Zuckerman, details the struggle of demoralized artists in a totalitarian society.

Zuckerman Bound

Zuckerman Bound is a trilogy of novels by Philip Roth, originally published in 1985.

Works by Philip Roth
Film adaptations
Awards for Philip Roth

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.