Saturday, 17 August, 2019

How Philip Roth's Writing Transcended The Narrow Confines Of A Culture

Philp Roth in September 2008 Philip Roth in September 2008 Credit AP RICHARD DREW
Patty Aguilar | 24 May, 2018, 14:21

The last of the triumvirate of American writers, Philip Roth, is no more.

Roth's literally agent, Andrew Wylie, also confirmed his death.

He died yesterday of congestive heart failure at the age of 85. Despite expectations to the contrary, he never won the Nobel prize for literature. I'm stunned and speechless.

The 1969 novel "Portnoy's Complaint" rocketed him to fame for its raunchy, hilarious depiction of a teenage boy's lustful urges and ensuing guilt.

His titanic stature on the post-World War II literary scene came from the universality of his message - in his own words: "I don't write Jewish, I write American". His novels, including the Pulitzer-winning "American Pastoral", confront readers in a bold, direct style that scorned false sentiment or hopes for heavenly reward.

He won multiple literary awards, including the Pulitzer prize in 1998 for "American Pastoral".

Being snubbed for the Nobel every year had "become a joke" for the author, said his friend French writer Josyane Savigneau on Wednesday. "He was, in my opinion, a very great writer and a very great man".

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Roth was born into a middle-class Jewish family in 1933 in Newark, New Jersey, where many of his books were set.

After the release of his most recent book, 2010's Nemesis, Roth announced in 2012 that he was retiring from fiction.

"I decided that I was done with fiction", he said. "And I thought it was more or less a success".

Not very long ago, in an interview to The New York Times, the Sabbath's Theater author called President Trump a "massive fraud" and "boastful buffoon", and he said: "no one I know of has foreseen an America like the one we live in today".

There must be a boundary between an interviewer and interviewee, but Philip Roth crossed it.

The newspaper remembered Roth as "a passionate student of American history and the American vernacular".

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