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#Philip Roth
elizabethanism · a day ago
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‘Sheer playfulness and deadly seriousness are my closest friends; it is with them that I take those walks in the country at the end of the day...’
Conversations with Philip Roth, 1992 (ed. George J. Searles)
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elizabethanism · 2 days ago
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‘Nothing lasts and yet nothing passes either, and nothing passes just because nothing lasts.’
Philip Roth
The Human Stain, 2000
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ebookporn · 5 days ago
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Look Inside Philip Roth’s Personal Library
The author of “Goodbye, Columbus” and “The Human Stain” left several thousand books, many of them with notes or letters, to the Newark Public Library. The collection will soon open to the public.
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By Elizabeth A. Harris Photographs by Vincent Tullo
NEWARK — Philip Roth was not precious about the books in his personal library.When he died in 2018, he left behind more than 7,000 marked-up paperbacks and hardcovers, most of them tucked into the built-in shelves of his Upper West Side apartment and Warren, Conn., home. He donated them to the Newark Public Library, and when Nadine Sergejeff, the supervising librarian of what would become the Philip Roth Personal Library, looked at what she had, she found treasures.
The books were crammed with marginalia, as though Roth was having conversations with the writers or making cranky observations about inconsistencies in their work. But the books were also stuffed with letters — sometimes correspondence between Roth and the authors, other times messages that had nothing to do with the book. Sergejeff also found shopping lists, travel itineraries, pressed flowers, candy wrappers, toothpicks and straws.
“All the stuff you find at the bottom of a purse,” said Rosemary Steinbaum, a Newark library trustee. “He really used his library. He really lived with it and used it.”
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quotessentially · 5 days ago
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From Philip Roth’s The Dying Animal
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viecome · 5 days ago
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Entrevista al escritor Milan Kundera. Philip Roth
Entrevista al escritor Milan Kundera. Philip Roth
Los verdugos dan muerte, los poetas cantan. El novelista estadounidense Philip Roth conversa con Milan Kundera. Origen: Entrevista al escritor Milan Kundera | Revista Quimera
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rye-views · 4 years ago
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American Pastoral by Philip Roth. 6.4/10
Seymour is actually a very considerate father. He really took Merry’s wants into consideration, which most parents of a 16 y/o are not willing to do.
Rita’s hatred for all this capitalistic bullshit is understandable but how foolish of her to disregard the patience and accuracy in Seymour’s words. She is being reckless in her pursuits by being so narrow minded in understanding what she is fighting against. Fight for rights, but at least understand the whole of the fight. Angela seems to be fighting the better fight by being educated.
I like how it is mostly a past story of various characters’ lives. It is kinda like shows like Orange is the New Black or maybe books like The Things They Carried.
Why is Seymour so obsessed with the idea of bloodline? Also, this really shows you that you can’t predetermine how your child ends up. Even if they share your blood, they are their own person. Parents do not really own their kids.
The way others perceive you is so important in this book. I hate it.
Memorable Quotes: “the exhibitionism inherent to a confession has only made the misery worse.” “Never in his life had occasion to ask himself, “Why are things the way they are?” Why should he bother, when the way they were was always perfect?” “When someone is suffering as the Swede was suffering, asking him to be undeluded by a momentary uplifting, however dubious its rationale, is asking an awful lot.” “Was he the only one unable to see what people were up to?“
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liviaserpieri · 12 days ago
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Tu non ci crederesti, ma io ho fatto cose veramente notevoli quand’ero una teenager, cose molto fuori dal comune. L’ultima cosa che feci, da brava figliola di mamma, fu vincere tutte quelle borse di studio a Oxford e Cambridge, quando avevo sedici anni La maggior parte della gente non riesce a vincerle neanche a diciotto. E la materia era l'inglese, la più difficile di tutte perché ci sono migliaia e migliaia di aspiranti. A ogni modo, ero in gamba e basta. O, comunque, in qualche maniera era possibile cavarmi fuori prestazioni del genere. Mi piaceva davvero, mi piacevano quegli esami: riuscivo a fare tutte quelle cose, ero brava. È questo che ora mi rende così perplessa. Perché mi riesce tanto difficile adesso?Già, perché?
Immagino che sia perché ho vissuto così male tanta parte della mia vita da sposata. Adesso funziono a un solo cilindro invece che a tre o quattro o tutti quelli che girano nel motore degli altri. Basta una sciocchezza, come il dover fare bene qualcosa di appena appena difficile per qualche ora di fila, ed ecco che la cosa ha un effetto devastante sul mio morale. Oh, è incredibile quando penso a com'ero a sedici anni.
Inganno, P. Roth
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thousandmovieproject · 14 days ago
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william f. buckley's mouth
william f. buckley’s mouth
Yesterday morning I read like a hundred pages from Walter Isaacson’s biography of Henry Kissinger and then, when I got off work, I came home and tried to watch an old conversation on YouTube between Kissinger and William F. Buckley Jr.   Lord did I try. There’s so much purring self-love on display between these two pills, I thought the talk might end with each of them jizzing into…
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mkobooks · 14 days ago
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Portnoy’s Complaint - Philip Roth
It’s been a minute in which I both gained and lost my job! So, I’ll be back to trying to write reviews weekly because what else better have I got to do? 👍
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One of my biggest takeaways of my last review was that Interior Chinatown didn’t have the intended emotional resonance with me because I am not a member of the AAPI community. 
Well, that is very much not the case for Portnoy’s Complaint and me. Although this book has very, very male POV and was written over 50 years ago, the descriptions, caricatures, anxieties, and guilt of the American Jewish community were both identifiable, amusing, and weirdly relatable to me.
This was my first Roth book and, unlike my first JCO or Ishiguro books, Portnoy, I think, is probably his most famous work and the best place to start in the Roth bibliography. He’d always been on my radar, though I’d never considered reading him until seeing all his obituaries, memorials, and--let’s be honest--harsh critiques, following his death in 2018. I was curious about his work, but given my recent experiences with old school, white, male “literature” and the foreknowledge that some of his work can be incredibly sexist, I sort of expected to hate-read this one.
Actually, I really liked it. I almost hated how much I liked it.
Portnoy’s Complaint is ostensibly a long diatribe from the titular Alex Portnoy to his therapist in which he details his numerous problems and what caused them, going off into tangents about his parents and upbringing as well as his relationship with non-Jewish women including “The Monkey.” He’s absolutely disgusting, yet apparently somewhat successful in finding partners as well as in his career. So, a lot “happens” in the book through these various anecdotes, but I wouldn’t say there’s much of a plot thread to summarize.
What I liked the most were the stories about his childhood. He blames a lot on his mother, but as far as I could see, his mother was really not that bad? While my own Jewish mother is nowhere near the level of his, many of her actions reminded me of both real-life people and of the stock character of the Jewish mother in shows like Seinfeld or South Park. A scene that stands out in particular is when she is yelling at him through the bathroom door not to flush the toilet after he’s used it, so she can try and get to the bottom (heh) of his stomach troubles. Of course, this being Portnoy, he’s not really racing to the bathroom every 10 minutes because he ate hot-dogs with his friend after school; rather, he’s racing away from the dinner table to masturbate.
And there’s a lot of talk about “being the master of your own domain”! I’m not so easily grossed out. I was pretty amused by the most notorious episode in the book in which he jerks it into a piece of raw liver which he puts back in the kitchen for his mother to cook and serve to the family. It’s the precursor to movies like American Pie or the more recent series, Big Mouth--a cartoon that strikes a great balance between disgusting Jewish middle-schoolers, their relationships with their mothers, and sexual humor, albeit a more earnest and “woke” humor than anything in Portnoy.
Which brings me to Portnoy and “The Monkey,” his very dysfunctional, and frankly abusive relationship with a “shiksa” (a term for a non-Jewish woman, usually with the connotation that they’re corrupting or taking a Jewish man away from his community). He continues to refer to her as such throughout most of the book. He’s awful to her and by the end of the book (the emotional climax, if you will) basically rapes her. If you didn’t already think he was repugnant and morally bankrupt...
What makes it even worse is how “fake-woke” he is (to use 2021 parlance). In his professional life, he is a crusader against injustice and inequality. In doing a brief search for other reviews and summaries of the book, I feel like this detail is somewhat overlooked. Yeah, he’s terrible, but he’s even more terrible in how hypocritical he is.
As a pretty assimilated American Jew (who’s married to a “gentile”), it was interesting to read a book from “my” community. Throughout the past ~2 years, I’ve been making an effort to read more diverse authors, so I don’t even remember the last time I read about the American Jewish community; Spinning Silver by Naomi Novak was the last book I read with a Jewish protagonist and I really can’t recall any others before that. Do I wish that this Jewish protagonist wasn’t so repellent? Yes. But, I also have the cultural knowledge that self-deprecation is a staple of Jewish humor as well as feel like I can critique and comment on this book more candidly than those concerning communities I am not a part of. 
Incidentally, when I described some of the funny Jewish mother scenes to my spouse as hilarious and relatable, he was a little bit disturbed. I can’t recall my mother ever begging me not to flush the toilet so she could see what’s in there, but at the same time, it doesn’t sound entirely crazy and ridiculous to me. 
At the end of the day, characters who are awful people don’t automatically make a book awful. I’ve already mentioned Seinfeld, but other shows like Always Sunny in Philadelphia are great entertainment because we know they’re awful and they’re hilariously so. I wonder how I would have felt about this book if I were reading it for the first time in the 1970s, but as someone who watched a lot of South Park in my teens, I thought Portnoy’s Complaint was both hilarious and thought-provoking. 
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Portnoy's Complaint by Philip Roth My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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bklnpoet · 17 days ago
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Fascinating conversation with the author of the forthcoming short Roth biography in the Yale Jewish Lives series:
From Pogroms to Philip Roth: A Conversation with Steven J. Zipperstein
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kufomdanang · 23 days ago
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Roth family - Round 1 (part 2)
On a sunny day, Lulu the cat walked by and caught Morty's attention with her chubby-ness. I couldn't resist her cuteness, so I had the family take her in. She turned out to be an intelligent, independent and finicky cat - that's just her!
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frammento · 25 days ago
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The Swede remembered that after Sheila had first met Marcia and Barry Umanoff here, at the Old Rimrock house, he had asked her, "How can he love this person?" and instead of answering him as Dawn did, "Because he's a ball-less wonder," Sheila had replied, "By the end of a dinner party, everybody is probably thinking that about somebody. Sometimes everybody is thinking that about everybody." "Do you?" he'd asked her. "I think that about couples all the time," she'd said.
Philip Roth, American Pastoral
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ozfactsblog · 26 days ago
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Blake Bailey’s Philip Roth Biography, Withdrawn By W.W. Norton, Picked Up By New Publisher
Blake Bailey’s Philip Roth Biography, Withdrawn By W.W. Norton, Picked Up By New Publisher
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frammento · 26 days ago
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That people were manifold creatures didn't come as a surprise to the Swede, even if it was a bit of a shock to realize it anew when someone let you down. What was astonishing to him was how people seemed to run out of their own being, run out of whatever the stuff was that made them who they were and, drained of themselves, turn into the sort of people they would once have felt sorry for. It was as though while their lives were rich and full they were secretly sick of themselves and couldn't wait to dispose of their sanity and their health and all sense of proportion so as to get down to that other self, the true self, who was a wholly deluded fuckup. It was as though being in tune with life was an accident that might sometimes befall the fortunate young but was otherwise something for which human beings lacked any real affinity. How odd. And how odd it made him seem to himself to think that he who had always felt blessed to be numbered among the countless unembattled normal ones might, in fact, be the abnormality, a stranger from real life because of his being so sturdily rooted.
Philip Roth, American Pastoral
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frammento · 27 days ago
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"Oh, but Bucky Robinson isn't talking about God, Seymour. He wants to be your friend," she said, "that's all." "I guess. But I never was interested in that stuff, Dawnie, back for as long as I can remember. I never understood it. Does anybody? I don't know what they're talking about. I go into those synagogues and it's all foreign to me. It always has been. When I had to go to Hebrew school as a kid, all the time I was in that room I couldn't wait to get out on the ball field. I used to think, 'If I sit in this room any longer, I'm going to get sick.' There was something unhealthy about those places. Anywhere near any of those places and I knew it wasn't where I wanted to be. The factory was a place I wanted to be from the time I was a boy. The ball field was a place I wanted to be from the time I started kindergarten. That this is a place where I want to be I knew the moment I laid eyes on it. Why shouldn't I be where I want to be? Why shouldn't I be with who I want to be? Isn't that what this country's all about? I want to be where I want to be and I don't want to be where I don't want to be. That's what being an American is—isn't it? I'm with you, I'm with the baby, I'm at the factory during the day, the rest of the time I'm out here, and that's everywhere in this world I ever want to be. We own a piece of America, Dawn. I couldn't be happier if I tried. I did it, darling, I did it—I did what I set out to do!
Philip Roth, American Pastoral
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frammento · 28 days ago
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"What are you? Do you know? What you are is you're always trying to smooth everything over. What you are is always trying to be moderate. What you are is never telling the truth if you think it's going to hurt somebody's feelings. What you are is you're always compromising. What you are is always complacent. What you are is always trying to find the bright side of things. The one with the manners. The one who abides everything patiently. The one with the ultimate decorum. The boy who never breaks the code. Whatever society dictates, you do. Decorum. Decorum is what you spit in the face of. Well, your daughter spit in it for you, didn't she? Four people? Quite a critique she has made of decorum."
Philip Roth, American Pastoral
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frammento · 29 days ago
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He'd invoked in me, when I was a boy—as he did in hundreds of other boys—the strongest fantasy I had of being someone else. But to wish oneself into another's glory, as boy or as man, is an impossibility, untenable on psychological grounds if you are not a writer, and on aesthetic grounds if you are. To embrace your hero in his destruction, however—to let your hero's life occur within you when everything is trying to diminish him, to imagine yourself into his bad luck, to implicate yourself not in his mindless ascendancy, when he is the fixed point of your adulation, but in the bewilderment of his tragic fall—well, that's worth thinking about.
Philip Roth, American Pastoral
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frammento · a month ago
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He had learned the worst lesson that life can teach—that it makes no sense. And when that happens the happiness is never spontaneous again. It is artificial and, even then, bought at the price of an obstinate estrangement from oneself and one's history.
Philip Roth, American Pastoral
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