Philip Roth once explained the 'most terrifying' thing about Trump

26 May, 2018, 16:37 | Author: Norman Carr
  • Usually set in his birthplace New Jersey Philip Roth’s fiction was known for its autobiographical nature

Philip Roth, one of the iconic American writers of the 20th century, has died at 85, The New York Times reported.

"We all wanted to be Philip Roth". Some: Lamentation of Portnoy (1969), probably most stormy and radical exploration of male sexuality ever carried out; The Heptalogía centered around figure of his literary alter ego, Nathan Zuckerman, in which he explores in depth what it means to be a writer.

In 1997, the novelist won a Pulitzer Prize for his book American Pastoral.

In his later years, Roth turned to the existential and sexual crises of middle age, never abandoning his commitment to exploring shame, embarrassment and other guilty secrets of the self, although usually with a heavy dose of humor.

"If the Western world views itself through the lens of the modern Jewish experience, it is in large measure due to the novels, novellas and short stories of Philip Roth", wrote David Roskies, a JTS Jewish literature professor, in a note to the class of 2014.

The author of some two dozen novels, his titanic literary stature was rooted in the universality of his message.

The writer died of congestive heart failure, according to a friend.

He long managed to sustain his literary output both in terms of quality as well as quantity, as exemplified by his widely admired political trilogy that included "American Pastoral", "I Married a Communist" (1998) and "The Human Stain" (2000).

Philip Roth: A literary life in seven stages

Being snubbed for the Nobel every year had "become a joke" for the author, said his friend French writer Josyane Savigneau on Wednesday.

Philip Milton Roth was born on March 19, 1933 in Newark, New Jersey, the grandson of European Jews who were part of the 19th-century wave of immigration to the United States.

For many, Mr. Roth would be inextricably linked to one of the great comic, sexually charged novels of recent memory, 1969's "Portnoy's Complaint", in which the lead character appears nearly overwhelmed with lust. "If I'm not an American, I'm nothing", said Roth.

Philip Roth I didn't know what a writer was, but I knew what books were because I would go to the Blanche library in our neighbourhood [of Newark, New Jersey], following the example of my brother, who would come home with half a dozen books.

"I don't want to read any more of it, and I don't even want to talk about it anymore. I no longer feel this dedication to write what I have experienced my whole life". Roth also helped bring a wider readership to the acclaimed Israeli writer Aharon Appelfeld.

The New York Times, which had an interview with Roth earlier this year, will remember the author as "a passionate student of American history and the American vernacular".

Times book critic Dwight Garner paid tribute to a "peerless chronicler of sex and death", an "archwizard" whose best books "eat into the mind like acid".

While predecessors such as Saul Bellow and Bernard Malamud wrote of the Jews' painful adjustment from immigrant life, Roth's characters represented the next generation.


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