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Novelist Philip Roth dies at 85
26 May 2018, 03:30 | Conrad Doyle
Usually set in his birthplace New Jersey Philip Roth’s fiction was known for its autobiographical nature
Roth, who was now living in Manhattan and CT at the time of his death, was arguably the most significant New Jersey-born novelist of the 20th Century and many of his works are considered American classics.
Former president Barack Obama also awarded Roth with the National Humanities Medal in 2010.
"Roth's coarsest, frankest, and most exhilarating novel, Sabbath's Theater shows off Roth's linguistic verve, his brilliant characterisation, and his unparalleled ability to stare unblinkingly into the psyche of a depraved scoundrel", says Read It Forward, a website dedicated to all things literary. But for Roth the American experience and the Jewish experience were often the same. His career spanned 50 years, 30 books, three PEN/Faulkners, two National Book Awards, and one Pulitzer.
When asked whether the central character of his fictional novel - Lindbergh - was exactly like Trump, Roth disagreed.
In 2004, Roth published "The Plot Against America", about a family of American Jews in Newark, New Jersey, who are strong supporters of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Some critics said Roth's novels exposed him as a self-hating Jew who played on negative stereotypes or generally cast Jews in a bad light.
Roth identified himself as an American writer, not a Jewish one. He was the first three-time victor of the PEN/Faulkner Award, honored for "Operation Shylock" in 1994, "The Human Stain" in 2001 and "Everyman" in 2007.
The writer was born on March 19, 1933 in Newark, New Jersey. He graduated from Weequahic High School in 1951 before receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Bucknell University.
Roth taught comparative literature, mostly at the University of Pennsylvania. Zuckerman's resemblance to the author prompted some speculation that these books were semi-autobiographical, though Roth swatted away those assertions when asked. The couple divorced in 1995 and Bloom wrote a memoir called "Leaving the Doll's House" where she depicted him as a misogynist and control freak.
Following the death of several friends and contemporaries (including Saul Bellow in 2005), Roth wrote a sequence of short fictions-focusing on old age and physical deterioration-the first of which was Everyman (2006) which won him his third PEN/Faulkner Award. "You should let people fight with the books on their own and rediscover what they are and what they are not". But, he added: "There are some days that compensate completely". A memorial is being planned in NY, possibly in September, his biographer Blake Bailey said. It's enough. I no longer feel this dedication to write what I have experienced my whole life'. "Abundance and emptiness. Blazing forth and muddling through".
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