Philip Roth and the Jews

Philip Roth and the Jews

by Alan Cooper
     
 

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In a style richly accessible to the general reader, this book presents Roth's secular Jewishness, with its own mysteries and humor, as most representative of the American Jewish experience. Thirty years into his career as a writer, Philip Roth remains known to most readers as a self-hating Jew or a flawed would-be comic. Philip Roth and the Jews shows Roth the ironist… See more details below

Overview

In a style richly accessible to the general reader, this book presents Roth's secular Jewishness, with its own mysteries and humor, as most representative of the American Jewish experience. Thirty years into his career as a writer, Philip Roth remains known to most readers as a self-hating Jew or a flawed would-be comic. Philip Roth and the Jews shows Roth the ironist, the master of absurdity, for whom twentieth-century America and modern Jewish history resonate with each other's signal accomplishments and anxieties. Roth's "egoism" is a persona, an abashed moralist discomfited by the world. Cooper shows that in the "Jewish" works Roth has taken the pulse of America and read the pressures of the world. Modernism, the universal tug for individual sovereignty and against tribal definition, is an issue everywhere. Roth's own odyssey of betrayal, loss, and return-the pattern of the Jewish writer in the last 200 years-is so shaped by his origins that Roth has carried his home and neighborhood into the corners of the earth and thus never left them.

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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
Booknews
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 (booknews.com)
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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780791499641
Publisher:
State University of New York Press
Publication date:
09/30/2009
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
1 MB

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