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Philip Roth

Philip Roth

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Also Known As: Philip Milton Roth Died:
Born: March 19, 1933 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Profession:

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

An agent provocateur of literary fiction, Philip Roth captivated and scandalized America with his salacious novel Portnoy's Complaint in 1969 and went on to enjoy a prolific career mercilessly deconstructing both the tradeoffs of achieving the American Dream and its dissolution. The New Jersey-born Roth published his first stories while at the University of Chicago and garnered national attention in 1959 with the novella Goodbye, Columbus. But it would be his fourth outing a decade later, Portnoy's Complaint, that would set tongues wagging with its frank, funny portrayal of a young Jewish man rebelling against the conditioned guilt of his culture via rampant autoeroticism and sexual adventures with goyim. In the 1970s, Roth introduced a fictive doppelganger, Zuckerman, who would wearily bear Roth's own struggles with fame, meaning and mortality in a series of novels that extended through his career. He returned often to his Newark roots, both with unorthodox memoirs The Facts and Patrimony and novels interweaving himself (and alternatively Zuckerman) with a rotation of fictional versions of real people, as in his Pulitzer-winning 1997 novel American Pastoral and his ominous 2004 imagining of a...

An agent provocateur of literary fiction, Philip Roth captivated and scandalized America with his salacious novel Portnoy's Complaint in 1969 and went on to enjoy a prolific career mercilessly deconstructing both the tradeoffs of achieving the American Dream and its dissolution. The New Jersey-born Roth published his first stories while at the University of Chicago and garnered national attention in 1959 with the novella Goodbye, Columbus. But it would be his fourth outing a decade later, Portnoy's Complaint, that would set tongues wagging with its frank, funny portrayal of a young Jewish man rebelling against the conditioned guilt of his culture via rampant autoeroticism and sexual adventures with goyim. In the 1970s, Roth introduced a fictive doppelganger, Zuckerman, who would wearily bear Roth's own struggles with fame, meaning and mortality in a series of novels that extended through his career. He returned often to his Newark roots, both with unorthodox memoirs The Facts and Patrimony and novels interweaving himself (and alternatively Zuckerman) with a rotation of fictional versions of real people, as in his Pulitzer-winning 1997 novel American Pastoral and his ominous 2004 imagining of a Nazified U.S., The Plot Against America. He retired Zuckerman in 2007 with the novel Exit Ghost. A winner of nearly every literary accolade available, Roth not only brought the internecine debates of Jewish identity into the mainstream, he made himself a veritable novelist laureate of the U.S. and along the way pushed the very boundaries of his medium.

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