MEMETERIA by Thomas May

Music & the Arts

RIP Philip Roth (1933-2018)

Philip Roth has always been such a constant in my literary landscape.

From Charles McGrath’s NY Times obituary:

And yet, almost against his will sometimes, he was drawn again and again to writing about themes of Jewish identity, anti-Semitism and the Jewish experience in America. He returned often, especially in his later work, to the Weequahic neighborhood of Newark, where he had grown up and which became in his writing a kind of vanished Eden: a place of middle-class pride, frugality, diligence and aspiration.

Jason Diamond in Rolling Stone:

“What the Marx Brothers and Mad magazine were to comedy or the Ramones were to rock music, Roth was for American literature. He was a sly smile and smartass remark aimed at the establishment, rather than a middle finger or brick through its window.”

Here’s Roth’s own list (from 2016) of “the fifteen works of fiction he considers most significant to his life”:

“Citizen Tom Paine” by Howard Fast, first read at age 14
“Finnley Wren” by Philip Wylie, first read at age 16
“Look Homeward Angel” by Thomas Wolfe, first read at age 17
“Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger, first read at age 20
“The Adventures of Augie March” by Saul Bellow, first read at age 21
“A Farewell to Arms” by Ernest Hemingway, first read at age 23
“The Assistant” by Bernard Malamud, first read at age 24
“Madame Bovary” by Gustave Flaubert, first read at age 25
“The Sound and the Fury” by William Faulkner, first read at age 25
“The Trial” by Franz Kafka, first read at age 27
“The Fall” by Albert Camus, first read at age 30
“Crime and Punishment” by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, first read at age 35
“Anna Karenina” by Leo Tolstoy, first read at age 37
“Cheri” by Colette, first read at age 40
“Street of Crocodiles” by Bruno Schulz, first read at age 41

Filed under: American literature


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