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How Philip Roth Made a Jewish American Writer of Me

7 monthes ago   |   By Tablet Magazine

It was eighteen years ago, almost to the day, when I had my first taste of Philip Roth.
Growing up in Jerusalem in the late 1970s and early 1980s, had I gone to my school's library and asked for “Jewish Literature,” I would have most probably been directed to the works of S. I. Agnon, the great master of modern Hebrew literature, but most certainly not to the works of Roth, Bellow, Malamud and the other great names of the 20th Century Jewish American canon. Why? Because Zionism seemed to insist that all authentic manifestations of modern Judaism emanate from Israel. Diaspora Jews...
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God and America and Philip Roth

God and America and Philip Roth

7 monthes ago   |   By Tablet Magazine

Of the three titans of American literature in the late 20th century, Updike, Bellow, and Philip Roth, Roth was the most insistently secular. Updike conjured a world that lives in the shadow of another world, with two sentences out of three hinting of a vividness that comes from the light of God or the transcendental, and the story-lines hinting of a struggle between God and the Satanic. Updike was in those respects a son of Hawthorne, who could not decide between Emerson and the Calvinists. Updike was great because the excitement of the more-than-worldly electrifies the prose.
Bellow, by...
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Philip Roth, American Dreamer

Philip Roth, American Dreamer

7 monthes ago   |   By Tablet Magazine

The most striking trait in Philip Roth, what immediately gained both your support and affection, was his mix of high sophistication and complete spontaneity. He had the most demanding artistic discipline and a complete lack of intellectual snobbishness. The “paleface” disciple of Henry James and the “redskin” reader of Whitman and Ginsberg, as he once phrased it-the music-lover admirer of Mahler and the Jimi Hendrix fan, the tragic lover and the Dionysian devil, the concerned citizen and writer and the anarchist-this duality that he succeeded in maintaining harmoniously in each of his best...
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