Author: Roth

The American Left and the Problems of History in Philip Roth’s “American Trilogy”

I wrote this essay in 2004—for an academic conference, if I recall correctly. The plan was to revise and expand it for that dissertation I never managed to finish.

How ‘Bout That

How’s that for the perfect end to my academic career? I got a good note in The Times Literary Supplement!

The Human Stain (2003)

But the adaptation of a written text to film also necessarily foregrounds the authority of images, imposing specificity on what an author might have chosen to describe more generally. I was surprised, for example, to find myself suddenly moved by an image of the small boxes in which Faunia stores the ashes of her dead children. In the novel, surprisingly little emphasis is placed on the ashes; Roth does not make of them an excuse for one of his patented ten-page diversions.

New Perspectives

So, this is kind of exciting. My copy of Philip Roth: New Perspectives on an American Author just arrived, hot off the proverbial press. My article, “The ‘Written World’ of Philip Roth’s Nonfiction,” is the 17th and final chapter in what I believe is the first book-length study of Roth’s entire body of work, up to and including The Plot Against America. Pretty cool. My first book chapter.

To Hell with Clinton’s My Life

Christopher Goffard of the St. Petersburg Times interviewed Ross Miller about his upcoming “definitive” biography of Philip Roth and learned about their relationship, which extends more than twenty years and which seems to have been founded on an intellectual kinship.

The Plot Against America

I’m excited to learn that Roth is melding his recent interests in mid-century American history with the more experimental projects of the late-80s and early-90s — Operation Shylock, in particular.

History and Fiction

Philip Roth on Charles Lindbergh.

A Question for a Friday Afternoon

Did those works affect me so profoundly because of my particular motivations at that particular moment, or because of the artist’s genius? Some combination of the two, I guess.

Roth, on Film

We all know that Stanley Kauffman, that grand icon of American film-reviewing, has been with The New Republic since 1958. But did you know that he was preceded immediately by a young punk of a wannabe novelist named Philip Roth?

Friday Colloquy

On Friday afternoon I subjected myself to ninety minutes of critical scrutiny by a group of professional historians. And it ended up being a damn good time.

The Precision of Words

I worry when politicians denounce ambiguity, when they normalize and conventionalize concepts as mysterious as democracy and history. People die unnecessarily as a result.

Head Trip

I woke up this morning dreaming of Philip Roth and Norman Mailer. The details are sketchy. I know that I was in a mall of some sort and that one or both of them were there for a bookstore signing.

American Pastoral (1997)

What most fascinates me about this novel—along, of course, with Roth’s beautiful prose—is its inability, ultimately, to make any sense of the Swede’s tragedy.