Philip Roth and the Jews


Examines Philip Roth's use of Jewish ideas and materials in his novels, considering also the responses to Roth's work and his relations with the Jewish community and contemporary Jewish writers.
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Philip Roth and the Jews

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Examines Philip Roth's use of Jewish ideas and materials in his novels, considering also the responses to Roth's work and his relations with the Jewish community and contemporary Jewish writers.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Cooper York Coll., CUNY has written a fascinating study of Philip Roth, placing him as the premier writer of the Jewish experience in America. All the "corruption and vulgarity and treachery of American life" and the attempt to live as a Jew and as a free, unsponsored person is present in Roth's fiction. Cooper discusses Roth's work from his early college writings to his latest, National Book Award-winning work, Sabbath's Theater LJ 7/95; see LJ's Best Books of 1995, p. 46-50. Cooper presents the critical reaction to Rothboth literary and Jewishas an integral part of Roth's biography and evolution as an artist. For Cooper, the eruption of the "bad" and the search for identity in Roth's art are the keys to his important and liberating voice. An insightful study, essential for literature collections.Gene Shaw, NYPL
Cooper (English, York College, City U. of New York) presents a rereading of Roth, countering the impression he believes many readers have of him as a self-hating Jew or an offputting would- be comic. Presenting Roth instead as an ironist and master of absurdity, Cooper calls attention to the novelist's ability to reveal how flawed people experience themselves and elaborates on his development as both a writer and a Jew. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
From the Publisher
Cooper scrupulously researches, locates, and considers some more obscure-but revealing-criticism of Roth's work. He also explores some of Roth's juvenilia and other lesser known stories and contextualizes Roth's work by painstakingly describing the political, social, and literary milieu surrounding each work. He speaks about Roth's biography and spends much time discussing Roth's political views as they have manifested themselves in his writing.— Daniel Walden, Penn State University
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Alan Cooper is Professor of English at York College, City University of New York. He chaired the English Department for 20 years and now serves as the college’s faculty leader.

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Table of Contents



1. The Ironic and the Irate

2. Starting Out

3. Biography versus the Biographical

4. Duty before Rage

5. The Alex Perplex

6. Absurdities: Post-Portnoy Seventies

7. The Most Offensive Piece Roth Ever Wrote

8. Watershed

9. Zuckerman Bound

10. Zuckerroth

11. Operation Shylock

12. Master Baiter: Sabbath's Theater

13. Irony Board


Selected Bibliography


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