American literary giant Philip Roth passes away
His titanic stature on the post-World War II literary scene came from the universality of his message — in his own words: “I don’t write Jewish, I write American.” He long managed to sustain his literary output both in terms of quality as well as quantity, as exemplified by his widely admired political trilogy that included American Pastoral, I Married a Communist (1998) and The Human Stain (2000).
The decorated author won most top literary honours, but the coveted Nobel Literature Prize eluded him. Being snubbed for the Nobel every year had “become a joke” for the author, said his friend French writer Josyane Savigneau on Wednesday. “Every year we talked about it, it became funny,” Savigneau said, adding that great writers such as Marcel Proust and James Joyce had also missed out on the prize.
Philip Milton Roth was born on March 19, 1933 in Newark, New Jersey, the grandson of European Jews who were part of the 19th-century wave of immigration to the United States. In 2012, Roth said that his most recent book, Nemesis, published two years earlier, would be his last, after having reread all his books. “I decided that I was done with fiction,” he said. After he stopped writing Roth spent his free time reading and swimming, and meeting friends.
Published in Dawn, May 24th, 2018
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