Philip Roth

Life, works cited

by David Alm October 8, 2013

In her book But Enough About Me, What Do You Think of my Memoir, Nancy K. Miller describes reading as an autobiographical act. The books we read help to define us, she writes, and, in turn, they say something about who we are. In other words, you are what you read. So on this 10th anniversary […]

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When writers retire, we feel betrayed. Why?

by David Alm July 11, 2013

We like writers to be contrary, to stand up to conventions, to assert themselves in opposition to what is quietly and tacitly agreed upon “socially acceptable.” That is, as long as they keep doing it. When Alice Munro announced recently that she was retiring from writing at age 81, she said she was inspired by […]

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Philip Roth is most definitely NOT on Twitter

by David Alm December 28, 2012

If you, like many other people — including some seasoned reporters at the New York Times — were relieved to learn that you could keep reading new content from Philip Roth following the 79-year-old author’s retirement from novel writing through Twitter, I have some bad news. The real Philip Roth — yes, him — has […]

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Philip Roth retires from fiction

by David Alm November 11, 2012

Last year, Philip Roth said he was done reading fiction. Now he says he’s done writing it, too. Roth’s literary output could be compared to Woody Allen’s with film. Since he published his first collection of short stories, in 1959, he has written 27 novels and two books of non-fiction, as well as several essays. […]

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Philip Roth has a new biographer, and it’s not an alter-ego

by David Alm September 11, 2012

Philip Roth writes novels that he insists are not autobiographical despite the undeniable parallels between his life and those of his protagonists. Roth is now 79, and if his creation, the controversial Jewish “novelist” Nathan Zuckerman, were still “alive,” he would be about the same age. So would David Kapesh, another Roth alter-ego, albeit a […]

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To re-read, or not to re-read

by David Alm July 20, 2012

Philip Roth once described his nightly routine as one involving dinner, a walk, and then reading. He said that he’d been re-reading authors he loved when he was young, and I admired him for it. But I also thought: Why would anyone want to re-read something? There’s so much one hasn’t read. Re-reading seemed not […]

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Writer’s block? There’s an app for that.

by David Alm June 15, 2012

Writer’s block is as much a part of being a writer as banging your head against the wall in frustration when publisher’s don’t return your calls. I jest, but seriously — it doesn’t matter how successful you are or what kind of writing you do; if you’re a writer, you’ve been stuck. Not anymore, if […]

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Your thoughts on Adrienne Rich, please

by David Alm March 29, 2012

I first learned about Adrienne Rich, who died on Tuesday at her home in Santa Cruz, CA, at the age of 82, in college almost 20 years ago. I was 18, and many of my professors adored Rich. They taught entire courses about her, or at least included her poems on their syllabi, and by […]

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Philip Roth is done with fiction

by David Alm June 28, 2011

“Either foreswear fucking others or the affair is over,” said Drenka Balich to her lover, Mickey Sabbath, at the start of Philip Roth’s 1995 book, Sabbath’s Theater. That book began a streak of award-winning novels for the author, earning him every major literary prize in the world of literary prizes. In the p ast 50 ye […]

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