Novels, 1967-1972: When She Was Good / Portnoy's Complaint / Our Gang / The Breast

Novels, 1967-1972: When She Was Good / Portnoy's Complaint / Our Gang / The Breast

by Philip Roth
     
 

This second volume presents four extraordinarily diverse works displaying the range and originality of his fictional art.

When She Was Good (1967) is the trenchant portrait of Lucy Nelson, a young midwestern woman whose perception of her own suffering turns her into a ferocious force, "enemy-ridden and unforgivingly defiant," as Roth would later describe her

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Overview

This second volume presents four extraordinarily diverse works displaying the range and originality of his fictional art.

When She Was Good (1967) is the trenchant portrait of Lucy Nelson, a young midwestern woman whose perception of her own suffering turns her into a ferocious force, "enemy-ridden and unforgivingly defiant," as Roth would later describe her. A small-town 1940s America of restrictive social pressures and foreclosed opportunities provides the novel's background.

The publication of the hilarious Portnoy's Complaint (1969) was a cultural event that turned Roth into a reluctant celebrity. The confession of a bewildered psychoanalytic patient thrust through life by his unappeasable sexuality yet held back by the iron grip of his unforgettable childhood, Portnoy unleashed Roth's comic virtuosity and opened new avenues for American fiction.

In Our Gang (1971), described by Anthony Burgess as a "brilliant satire in the real Swift tradition," Roth effects a savage takedown of the administration of Richard Nixon (who figures here as Trick E. Dixon). Written before the revelations of the Watergate scandal, Our Gang continues to resonate as a broad and outraged response to the clownish hypocrisy and moral theatrics of the American political scene.

The Kafkaesque excursion The Breast (1972) introduces David Kepesh in the first volume of a trilogy that continues with The Professor of Desire (1977) and The Dying Animal (2001). The Breast prompted Cynthia Ozick to remark, "One knows when one is reading something that will permanently enter the culture."

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Roth joins Library of America's A-list, making him one of the few living writers so honored. The first volume includes Goodbye, Columbus, five short stories, and Letting Go. The second volume combines When She Was Good, Portnoy's Complaint, Our Gang, and The Breast. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781931082808
Publisher:
Library of America
Publication date:
08/18/2005
Series:
Library of America Series
Edition description:
4 BKS IN 1
Pages:
672
Product dimensions:
5.25(w) x 8.35(h) x 1.25(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Philip Roth, acclaimed author of Portnoy's Complaint, The Human Stain and many other works of fiction, is the recipient of numerous awards, including the National Medal of Arts from the White House.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Connecticut
Date of Birth:
March 19, 1933
Place of Birth:
Newark, New Jersey
Education:
B.A. in English, Bucknell University, 1954; M.A. in English, University of Chicago, 1955

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