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In my mind he is the greatest American author of all time. 

I first read American Pastoral about ten years ago, and his writings has meant the world to me ever since.

RIP Mr Roth

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I always seem to be reading a Philip Roth book, I look at my book shelves, see his name and pull something down, just to dip back in for a while. 

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RIP. A very prolific writer with some great books under his belt.

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Zadie Smith on Philip Roth:

https://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/philip-roth-a-writer-all-the-way-down

That Rothian spirit—so full of people and stories and laughter and history and sex and fury—will be a source of energy as long as there is literature. My first thought when he died was that he was one of the most alive, the most conscious, people I ever met, right to the end. The idea that consciousness like that could ever stop being conscious! And yet there it is preserved, in book after book, thank goodness.

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Any way you could cut and paste that article? I've got no freebies left and I'm yearning to read it.

I want to read more of Roth's work. I'm committed to reading Portnoy's Complaint this year. I've read the book of short stories, Goodbye Columbus, numerous times, and also The Philip Roth Reader.

So many books to read. I can never die.

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3 hours ago, Skin2Skin said:

Any way you could cut and paste that article? I've got no freebies left and I'm yearning to read it.

I want to read more of Roth's work. I'm committed to reading Portnoy's Complaint this year. I've read the book of short stories, Goodbye Columbus, numerous times, and also The Philip Roth Reader.

So many books to read. I can never die.

Read Portnoy soon, it really is as great as they say. I've read it several times over the years. I think you'd get a lot out of American Pastoral, a very different Roth, and I think that's one of his strengths, he was so flexible. 

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8 hours ago, Skin2Skin said:

Any way you could cut and paste that article? I've got no freebies left and I'm yearning to read it.

I want to read more of Roth's work. I'm committed to reading Portnoy's Complaint this year. I've read the book of short stories, Goodbye Columbus, numerous times, and also The Philip Roth Reader.

So many books to read. I can never die.

Here you go..

 

Philip Roth, a Writer All the Way Down

By Zadie Smith

May 23, 2018

 
 

Montgomery-Roth-03-23.jpg

The American literary icon Philip Roth, who died on Tuesday night, at the age of eighty-five.

Photograph by Philip Montgomery

 

One time, I was having a conversation with Philip Roth about lane swimming, a thing it turned out we both liked to do, although he could swim much farther and much faster. He asked me, “What do you think about as you do each length?” I told him the dull truth. “I think, first length, first length, first length, and then second length, second length, second length. And so on.” That made him laugh. “You wanna know what I think about?” I did. “I choose a year. Say, 1953. Then I think about what happened in my life or within my little circle in that year. Then I move on to thinking about what happened in Newark, or New York. Then in America. And then if I’m going the distance I might start thinking about Europe, too. And so on.” That made me laugh. The energy, the reach, the precision, the breadth, the curiosity, the will, the intelligence. Roth in the swimming pool was no different than Roth at his standing desk. He was a writer all the way down. It was not diluted with other things as it is—mercifully!—for the rest of us. He was writing taken neat, and everything he did was at the service of writing. At an unusually tender age, he learned not to write to make people think well of him, nor to display to others, through fiction, the right sort of ideas, so they could think him the right sort of person. “Literature isn’t a moral beauty contest,” he once said. For Roth, literature was not a tool of any description. It was the venerated thing in itself. He loved fiction and (unlike so many half or three-quarter writers) was never ashamed of it. He loved it in its irresponsibility, in its comedy, in its vulgarity, and its divine independence. He never confused it with other things made of words, like statements of social justice or personal rectitude, journalism or political speeches, all of which are vital and necessary for lives we live outside of fiction, but none of which are fiction, which is a medium that must always allow itself, as those other forms often can’t, the possibility of expressing intimate and inconvenient truths.

Roth always told the truth—his own, subjective truth—through language and through lies, the twin engines at the embarrassing heart of literature. Embarrassing to others, never to Roth. Second selves, fake selves, fantasy selves, replacement selves, horrifying selves, hilarious, mortifying selves—he welcomed them all. Like all writers, there were things and ideas that lay beyond his ken or conception; he had blind spots, prejudices, selves he could imagine only partially, or selves he mistook or mislaid. But, unlike many writers, he did not aspire to perfect vision. He knew that to be an impossibility. Subjectivity is limited by the vision of the subject, and the task of writing is to do the best with what you have. Roth used every little scrap of what he had. Nothing was held back or protected from writing, nothing saved for a rainy day. He wrote every single book he intended to write and said every last thing he meant to say. For a writer, there is no greater aspiration than that. To swim all eighty-five lengths of the pool and then get out without looking back.

By the time I met Roth, he wasn’t writing anymore; he was reading. Almost exclusively American history, and the subject that seemed to concern him above all was slavery. His coffee table was piled high with books on the subject—canonical, specialist, and obscure—and many slave narratives, some famous and known to me, others I’d never come across before, and which I sometimes borrowed, to bring back a month or two later and discuss. Whenever I mentioned this scholarly reading jag of Roth’s to anybody, they always seemed amazed, but to me it was all of a piece with the man and his work. Roth was an unusually patriotic writer, but his love for his country never outweighed or obscured his curiosity about it. He always wanted to know America, in its beauty and its utter brutality, and to see it in the round: the noble ideals, the bloody reality. A thing did not have to be perfect to engage him, and that went double for people, which, in Roth’s world, always really meant characters. The admixture of the admirable and the perverse that exists in people, the ideal and the absurd, the beautiful and the ugly, is what he knew and understood and always forgave, even if the people he so recorded did not always forgive him for noticing. It would probably drive him nuts to be told there was something ancient and rabbinical in this attraction to paradox and imperfection, but I’m going to say it anyway. Sheer energy—Roth’s central gift and the quality he shared with America itself—is his legacy to literature, and it will always be there, ready to be siphoned off or mixed with some new element by somebody new. That Rothian spirit—so full of people and stories and laughter and history and sex and fury—will be a source of energy as long as there is literature. My first thought when he died was that he was one of the most alive, the most conscious, people I ever met, right to the end. The idea that consciousness like that could ever stop being conscious! And yet there it is preserved, in book after book, thank goodness.

  • Zadie Smith most recently published the essay collection “Feel Free.”

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13 hours ago, Skin2Skin said:

Any way you could cut and paste that article? I've got no freebies left and I'm yearning to read it.

I want to read more of Roth's work. I'm committed to reading Portnoy's Complaint this year. I've read the book of short stories, Goodbye Columbus, numerous times, and also The Philip Roth Reader.

So many books to read. I can never die.

Read The Plot Against America. Brilliant.

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6 hours ago, the imposter said:

Here you go..

 

Philip Roth, a Writer All the Way Down

By Zadie Smith

May 23, 2018

 
 

Montgomery-Roth-03-23.jpg

The American literary icon Philip Roth, who died on Tuesday night, at the age of eighty-five.

Photograph by Philip Montgomery

 

One time, I was having a conversation with Philip Roth about lane swimming, a thing it turned out we both liked to do, although he could swim much farther and much faster. He asked me, “What do you think about as you do each length?” I told him the dull truth. “I think, first length, first length, first length, and then second length, second length, second length. And so on.” That made him laugh. “You wanna know what I think about?” I did. “I choose a year. Say, 1953. Then I think about what happened in my life or within my little circle in that year. Then I move on to thinking about what happened in Newark, or New York. Then in America. And then if I’m going the distance I might start thinking about Europe, too. And so on.” That made me laugh. The energy, the reach, the precision, the breadth, the curiosity, the will, the intelligence. Roth in the swimming pool was no different than Roth at his standing desk. He was a writer all the way down. It was not diluted with other things as it is—mercifully!—for the rest of us. He was writing taken neat, and everything he did was at the service of writing. At an unusually tender age, he learned not to write to make people think well of him, nor to display to others, through fiction, the right sort of ideas, so they could think him the right sort of person. “Literature isn’t a moral beauty contest,” he once said. For Roth, literature was not a tool of any description. It was the venerated thing in itself. He loved fiction and (unlike so many half or three-quarter writers) was never ashamed of it. He loved it in its irresponsibility, in its comedy, in its vulgarity, and its divine independence. He never confused it with other things made of words, like statements of social justice or personal rectitude, journalism or political speeches, all of which are vital and necessary for lives we live outside of fiction, but none of which are fiction, which is a medium that must always allow itself, as those other forms often can’t, the possibility of expressing intimate and inconvenient truths.

Roth always told the truth—his own, subjective truth—through language and through lies, the twin engines at the embarrassing heart of literature. Embarrassing to others, never to Roth. Second selves, fake selves, fantasy selves, replacement selves, horrifying selves, hilarious, mortifying selves—he welcomed them all. Like all writers, there were things and ideas that lay beyond his ken or conception; he had blind spots, prejudices, selves he could imagine only partially, or selves he mistook or mislaid. But, unlike many writers, he did not aspire to perfect vision. He knew that to be an impossibility. Subjectivity is limited by the vision of the subject, and the task of writing is to do the best with what you have. Roth used every little scrap of what he had. Nothing was held back or protected from writing, nothing saved for a rainy day. He wrote every single book he intended to write and said every last thing he meant to say. For a writer, there is no greater aspiration than that. To swim all eighty-five lengths of the pool and then get out without looking back.

By the time I met Roth, he wasn’t writing anymore; he was reading. Almost exclusively American history, and the subject that seemed to concern him above all was slavery. His coffee table was piled high with books on the subject—canonical, specialist, and obscure—and many slave narratives, some famous and known to me, others I’d never come across before, and which I sometimes borrowed, to bring back a month or two later and discuss. Whenever I mentioned this scholarly reading jag of Roth’s to anybody, they always seemed amazed, but to me it was all of a piece with the man and his work. Roth was an unusually patriotic writer, but his love for his country never outweighed or obscured his curiosity about it. He always wanted to know America, in its beauty and its utter brutality, and to see it in the round: the noble ideals, the bloody reality. A thing did not have to be perfect to engage him, and that went double for people, which, in Roth’s world, always really meant characters. The admixture of the admirable and the perverse that exists in people, the ideal and the absurd, the beautiful and the ugly, is what he knew and understood and always forgave, even if the people he so recorded did not always forgive him for noticing. It would probably drive him nuts to be told there was something ancient and rabbinical in this attraction to paradox and imperfection, but I’m going to say it anyway. Sheer energy—Roth’s central gift and the quality he shared with America itself—is his legacy to literature, and it will always be there, ready to be siphoned off or mixed with some new element by somebody new. That Rothian spirit—so full of people and stories and laughter and history and sex and fury—will be a source of energy as long as there is literature. My first thought when he died was that he was one of the most alive, the most conscious, people I ever met, right to the end. The idea that consciousness like that could ever stop being conscious! And yet there it is preserved, in book after book, thank goodness.

  • Zadie Smith most recently published the essay collection “Feel Free.”

Thank you for posting that. So much more personal and flavorful than the NYT obit. More Philip Rothian. :)

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3 hours ago, Mission Man in AZ said:

Read The Plot Against America. Brilliant.

Both brilliant and quite relevant these days, unfortunately..

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Just saw this and thought I'd share it: 

A ‘humanly impoverished’ con-man ‘destitute of all decency and wielding a vocabulary of 77 words that is better called Jerkish than English.'"
— Philip Roth on Donald Trump

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